Generally speaking, landlords and property managers are responsible for making repairs and improvements to their properties as needed. Every now and then, however, you may come across a particularly ambitious renter who wants to make some improvements of their own. In this case, you may be understandably hesitant to let inexperienced renters make changes to your property. But with careful planning and consideration, you and your tenant may be able to reach a mutually-beneficial agreement that improves your property for the future.
Discuss the Details
Start by establishing a clear idea of the scope of the project. If it involves demo work, it’s probably best left to the professionals. Minor renovations such as painting and staining, on the other hand, can often be satisfactorily completed by tenants. But if you ever find that tenants have begun a home improvement project without first gaining your express permission, you should ask them to stop immediately. Transparency is the name of the game here.
Stay Away From Utilities
In addition to avoiding demo work, tenants should also be discouraged from doing any renovations to the plumbing, electrical or HVAC systems in your property. Some major renovations may even require a building permit, and therefore should not be left in the hands of a tenant. Unless your renter happens to be a qualified general contractor, these renovations should be handled by professionals.
Under the right circumstances, a tenant making minor renovations can actually be good for both renter and landlord. In many cases, landlord will provide tenants with the materials they need (paint, for example), and then the tenant will do the work themselves. The tenant doesn’t have to pay for the materials, and the landlord doesn’t have to pay for labor. Just be sure to hammer out the details in advance.