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Paint and Pictures: A Tenants Guide to Acceptable Alterations To Your New Home

Moving day! After searching for a new home you finally found the one you wanted. The packing is done and you’ve moved all your belongings to your new home. Finally, you’ve arrived. You’re now partially unpacked, thinking of where furniture can go, and have pictures to hang.


And now the questions arises: what exactly can you “do” to your apartment? You’ve noticed that your furniture and fittings don’t exactly go with the paint colour, the large wall hangings and curtain rods you have will require some sturdy wall reinforcement, and you have no place to hang your outside plants. But does the landlord expect everything you “do” to be “undone”? Will everything have to be painted back the original colour? What about holes in the wall? And who is responsible for the costs?


It is generally the landlord’s expectation that a property be left vacant at the end of the lease in the same condition it was provided to you in on move in day. However, many landlords are open minded to alterations to keep their new tenant happy and to maintain or improve the dwelling.


Like most things in the tenant/landlord relationship it comes down to communication. A fresh coat of paint goes a long way and the landlord or manager will likely be open to it; but neon green may prove challenging to paint over and make it difficult to rent after you leave. It is recommended you provide your colour choice for approval. Many people like to have wall hangings in their home. Small holes can be filled by a tenant before moving out, and spackle is inexpensive and easy to fill the holes with nothing more than your index finger. A larger hanging that requires significant anchoring is something you’ll want to ask about, and the landlord or manager will often be able to provide guidance on stud location or a recommended anchor type. Drilling a hook for outdoor hanging plants through siding or soffit may unintentionally provide access for water intrusion and longterm water damage. Talking to the landlord or manager about the location and method of installing the hook or working together to find a creative solution that doesn’t damage the building, can make sure both are happy.


As far as cost, a lease is typically signed to turn over the home to the new tenant the condition it was in when first viewed and the lease signed. So the best time to discuss these things is during the viewing/lease signing process. After the lease is signed, the brunt of the cost for these types of alterations tend to fall on the tenant. However, many landlords are willing to cost share or pay for work; especially items that they were consulted on. For significant renovations requested by the tenant and approved by the landlord, an addition to the damage deposit may be requested. In these instances, be sure that the additional money is reflected and signed off on for the lease.


For all your property management needs, including rental management and tenant questions, contact Anchor Property Management!


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