Turning a rented property into a home: The Dos and Don’ts
It’s okay to add furniture, but ask the landlord before you paint the whole place pink
When it comes to adding furniture, landlords will often be accommodating, but less so if a tenant wants furniture taken away
Don’t assume you can make significant changes to the decor of of a rental. Standard lease agreements generally include a clause saying that tenants cannot interfere with the structure or decor of a property. However, according to John Leahy, author of Renting in Ireland, most landlords will be accommodating to tenants who want to make small changes, so long as they are consulted in advance.
“Tenants should not not do anything that will materially change the property, or they risk their deposit. However, as tenancies get longer, landlords are more open to tenants who want to add their own touches, but by prior agreement.” He cautions tenants against repainting in dark shades as when it comes to the end of the tenancy, it will take several coats of paint to restore to a landlord’s preferred shade, which is pale and neutral. “I’ve seen pink walls that have been troublesome, and ceilings covered with Frozen stickers, which take time and effort to remove.”
When it comes to adding furniture, Leahy says landlords will often be accommodating, but less so if a tenant wants furniture taken away. “Most landlords don’t have removal and storage arrangements, and will want the furniture to stay.”
Landlords are advised to provide photographs and a detailed inventory outlining the condition of fixtures and furnishings at the beginning of a tenancy. Both parties should sign and date this document and it should be attached to the lease agreement. In the case of a longer tenancy this will help tenants, who are obliged to leave the property in the condition they found it – wear and tear excepted. “Holes in the wall are not wear and tear”, Leahy cautions, but again suggests that a tenant who wants to hang art or shelving should talk it over with the landlord and come to an agreement.