646 666 9601 [email protected]



When it comes to making changes to their homes, renters have choices. Find out how to work with your landlord to make changes to a rental home.

What you will find out:

What can I change about a house that I rent?
What happens if a renter makes changes to a rental unit without permission?
Can a renter get money back for changes they make to a rented property?
Can a renter hire a professional on their own to fix up their rental?
Who pays to make changes to a rental unit?
When does an owner have to pay for the workers hired by a tenant?

It is not always worth it to wait for renting changes, especially if you do not talk to your landlord about them. It is possible that landlords will not let you pay for changes or do things the way you want. Tenants sometimes think about hiring a professional to make changes on their own instead of waiting. This article tells renters how to find out if they can make improvements to their renting, how to talk to their owner about the changes, and who should pay for and do the work.

What can I change about a house that I rent?

You might want to change a lot of things in your residential rental, such as the color of the paint, the furniture, the light fixtures, or even the bathroom or kitchen. You can do anything. Your rental deal might tell you what you can and can not change. And if the agreement does not say anything about it, it might be a good idea to ask your owner first before making any changes.

Changes or improvements (often called furnishings) that you can not take with you when your lease is up and you move out are likely to be big enough to need approval ahead of time. When telling your host about a change you want to make, it helps to give as much information as possible. For example, you can say what you would change, what resources you would use, who would do the work and pay for it, and so on.

Also, your owner will probably want to have some say over changes that will last. If you find secret problems, it might be a good idea to let the owner know as you go. And when you hire a worker, make sure the plan is approved by the owner, including who will pay the bill.

After getting permission from their owners, renters often make the following changes to rented properties:

Putting in new locks on the doors.
Putting in new floors.
Wall painting.
Putting in new lighting and window coverings.
Putting in a flower bed, yard, gardening, or a fence.
Changing out things.
Putting a defense system in place.

A landlord will probably need a qualified or approved worker to do a lot of these things. But renters usually do things like cleaning and planting on their own.

What happens if a renter makes changes to a rental unit without permission?

No matter how much an owner likes or hates a change to a rental property, if a renter makes a change, they may be breaking their Lease Agreement. This may or may not be a reason to kick someone out. It rests on the Lease Agreement, the rules of the state and town, and the landlord’s attitude. If the owner does not like the change, it is possible that the renter will have to pay for putting the property back to how it was before.

Again, renters usually can not make big changes to the places they rent unless the owner gives them written permission to do so. Still, if you make changes to the property, with or without the owner’s permission, those changes usually belong to the landlord when you leave.

You should think carefully before putting anything important on the wall or floor without first talking to the host about your plans. Depending on what they say, you may have to promise to put the property back the way it was when you moved in, pay for the work you did, or leave what you mounted behind.

When you and your owner have an argument, judges tend to look at a few things, such as:

How the thing is connected to the property and if it can be taken off without causing damage.
If it changed how the rental property looked or how it was used.
If the owner said it was okay.
If you and your employer made any deals or talked about anything.

Can a renter get money back for changes they make to a rented property?

If you ask them ahead of time, you have the best chance of getting them to pay for changes. If you do not tell your employer about changes, you may have to pay them money when you leave.

If you paint the walls dark colors or cut holes to put in a wall-mounted air conditioner that you plan to take down when the lease is up, your owner probably will not be happy about it. You will probably have to change the paint back to its original color and fix the holes in the walls where the air conditioner was, or the owner may charge you for putting the place back to how it was when you moved in.

When it comes to changes, anything that not many people would like could hurt the rental value and make your owner unhappy. After you have shown that you pay rent on time and are a good renter, ask about making changes. Most landlords want to stay on good terms with their renters, so they usually let them make changes that do not cost them much. Some renters may even pay back some of the cost of changes when they need fixes or maintenance.

For instance, if an item breaks and needs to be replaced, the owner may give the renter a payment so that they can choose their own replacement, as long as the landlord agrees. This lets the renter pay more for a choice they like better. The owner gets to put in a nicer appliance, and the tenant gets to use the appliance of their choice for a lower price while they are still a renter. The catch for the renter is that once the device is set up, it goes to the owner.

Tenants can sometimes get fair payment for changes they make to leased property, even if they did not get permission first. This can be hard to figure out from a legal standpoint, so a renter may want to talk to a lawyer about their case.

Can a renter hire a professional on their own to fix up their rental?

Landlords usually make and pay for the fixes that are needed to make a rental place liveable. This includes fixing broken air conditioning or heating systems, leaking taps and roofs, broken water heaters, dryers, and just about anything else. If your owner is not fixing things that need to be fixed, you should write him or her a letter.

But owners are usually not responsible for making changes. If you want to make changes to your rental, it is best to talk to your landlord ahead of time. They might agree to pay for your changes, or they might just give you the go-ahead to make them.

Also, the owner may agree with the worker you choose, or they may want to choose their own. Talk with your owner and write down what you decide. It is the best way to do things.

Who pays to make changes to a rental unit?

Most deals say that you need to get permission from the owner before making changes to a rental property. Most of the time, owners and renters agree on who will pay for what during this process. When renters are ready to pay for at least a part of an improvement, landlords are usually more open to making the change.

If your owner pays for improvements to your rental, your rent may or may not go up in the future. Tenants will often pay for changes so that they can use them while they are living there. This is often a good idea for renters who plan to live in their home for a long time.

If you do not want to pay for an expensive improvement that you will not use, you could ask your owner to lower your rent for a while or until the cost of the improvement is paid for. For example, if you spend $2,000 to fix up your flat, you could ask for a $100 rent break every month for 20 months. But if this is not talked about and written down ahead of time, renters may not be as open to these kinds of plans after the work is done.

When does an owner have to pay for the workers hired by a tenant?

If the contractor, subcontractor, or source was hired by the landlord, the owner has to pay them. If the renter hired the contractor, subcontractor, or source, it is likely that the tenant, not the owner, is responsible for paying the bill. When there is a renter improvement budget and the landlord decides to pay for changes or lower future rent, the landlord may have some responsibilities, based on how involved they are.

Usually, a landlord can not be held responsible if they did not sign a contract. When working for someone who does not own the land, many workers may ask for payment up front because they may not have as many rights.

Legal Help CTA