Support, Advice and Experience within the Property Market

Home improvements in private rented property

From Robert Ulph on April 14, 2020

For many people, the current lockdown will mean that they are spending more time at home and will, no doubt, be thinking about the improvements they could make. While homes and gardens might benefit from this time, for those renting there are some things to consider before you embark on any changes.

As a tenant, for any changes you make, however small they may seem to you, it is always best to ask the landlord for permission. Most landlords are not against improvements being made and much of this helps to maintain the property, with decoration and small repairs. However, if your thoughts for redecorating, for example, would be painting the entire house black inside, your landlord may not necessarily agree.

So, my advice would be to get any agreement in writing, but before you do to also think about how much any work will cost you as this will be down to you for any non-essential or cosmetic changes. Think too about how long you plan to be at the property when considering the cost of any changes you make.

Any adaptions that may be needed to a home, for example grab rails for mobility or personal safety reasons also need to be considered by your landlord in the same way, so again seek approval before setting out on any work like this.

Equally with any plans you may have for the garden look to get the landlord’s permission and again most landlords are happy with this – it shows the place is being looked after well and enjoyed – but getting this in writing is important. Unfortunately, garden-related issues are cited in around 16% of all Tenancy Deposit Scheme disputes where a deduction of the held deposit is made and these disagreements are often because of the subjective nature of how a garden is kept.

In one case, that ARLA Propertymark cite, a tenant installed a pergola and at the end of the tenancy, the landlord claimed £950 to remove it, stating it was blocking natural light to the property. The tenant claimed it added character, but an award was made for the cost of the pergola’s removal as there was no evidence that the tenant had asked permission from the landlord and the tenancy agreement stated that the garden was to be returned in the same condition as at the start.

For landlords, if you manage your property yourself, any improvements are certainly something to take into account so that you don’t end up in dispute and potentially with unexpected costs.

As a tenant, enjoy making changes to your home but please seek approval on what you plan to do.

At Pennington, our team can fully manage and advise on these matters, so there is always somebody on hand. I am also always available for advice on the local property market as well as any of these issues, so as always please do not hesitate to contact me.