What your landlord wants you to know about making their home feel like yours
A complaint often heard from tenants is that they decided to move on because the property just did not “feel like home” and the landlord was not open to them making small changes to get that warm and homely feel.
The thing is, it’s not the actual updating the landlord is terrified of, it’s the after-effect.
David Steynberg, accidental landlord and director of HomeTimes, explains: “I don’t really mind when a good, responsible long-term tenant does little updates around the apartment to make it feel like home; I just don’t want a scenario where I’m left having to repaint over a midnight-blue accent wall gone wrong in order to make my apartment rentable again.”
These are the things Steynberg says your landlord wants you to understand before you make DIY plans in his home this weekend.
Hang your pictures
Go ahead, hang your art and family pictures, but know that you need to take responsibility for covering up the holes when you leave.
“Some people think that using double-sided tape is a hassle-free solution because no work is required when you take it down. In most cases it’s just not true as the paint almost always comes off. A good tenant should recognise that little issues like that must be fixed before you hand back the key,” adds Steynberg.
A rule of thumb should be that the wall should be in the condition it was when you moved in. Granted, landlords are responsible for reasonable wear and tear, but having to repaint every two years could be argued as not being reasonable.
Paint or create your focus wall
Steynberg says that painting a wall is a big, and expensive task that needs careful consideration and commitment, but that it’s not an aspect that he’d be unreasonable about.
“It’s much easier to fill up a couple of holes than having to repaint a wall. My tenant would have to take responsibility for returning the wall to its original state before I grant permission, so for the tenant it’s a double outlay. Unless it’s a valuable update that modernises my apartment and makes it easier to rent once the current tenant leaves, that’s where reasonable communication comes in,” he explains.
It seems that this is one of those cases where open communication with your landlord or agent wins the day. Raise the changes you want to make and reasons why your upgrades will up the value of the property. If reasonable your landlord should agree without the condition of you having to repaint before you leave. Alternatively, recognise that the wall needs to be white again before you leave and go ahead and make it feel like home anyway.
The garden is low maintenance for a reason
“My rental property is on the other side of the province. If it’s vacant, or occupied by a tenant who was not blessed with green fingers it’s important that the garden still looks good,” says Steynberg. “It’s easy to hire someone to look after the grass, not so much when it’s a temperamental rose garden or intricate veggie patch.”
If you’ve moved into a new property with a relatively unestablished garden it’s best to check with your landlord before you bring any major changes. Your landlord may just not have the inclination to take responsibility for a high-maintenance garden. In this case potted plants or a small herb garden is your friend.
In an increasingly competitive rental market, good landlords understand the value of attracting and keeping quality tenants. Your landlord should be willing to discuss, negotiate and accommodate to help you feel truly at home while you pay for the right to call their property just that.