Thinking of making some home improvements to your rental in 2024? With so many YouTube DIY and interior design videos out there, getting stuck into a project seems easier than ever before. However, put down the paintbrush for a second. Before going any further, there are a few vital considerations to think about – keep reading for everything you need to know to ensure your project doesn’t land you in hot (or cold) water.
Before even considering undertaking home improvements on your rental, there are two key things to determine. Firstly, is the home improvement actually the responsibility of your landlord to fund and arrange? For example, if your windows are leaking, your front door doesn’t lock properly, or your property is suffering from dampness, these are all things that are up to your landlord to put right at their own expense – unless, of course, you are responsible for the damage as a result of direct action or omission. In other words, if the windows are leaking because you caused damage to the frame, the cost of the repair is likely to be on you.
Secondly, for home improvements such as changing the paint scheme, installing new kitchen cupboards, or tearing up the carpets to replace them with floorboards, you’ll need to get permission from your landlord. Be aware, though: even if your landlord agrees to your home improvement request, they may stipulate that you’ll need to put the property back to its original state at the end of your tenancy. This is most likely to be the case if, say, you’re asking to repaint the walls in a particularly bold color or put up some strikingly patterned wallpaper.
If you decide or need to get the home improvements on your rental undertaken by a professional, it’s important to ensure you have personal liability renters insurance. This is to make sure you’re covered in the event that this professional suffers an accident or injury while they’re in your home. This element is usually incorporated in a general renters insurance policy, but it’s worth checking if this is the case.
The personal liability element is just one reason that having renters insurance is so important. A policy is also a vital way to protect your personal possessions in the event of damage or theft – plus, it may be able to cover your costs should you need to move out of your home for a temporary time period.
So, you’ve got the landlord’s permission to carry out your desired home improvements – great! Next, it’s time to work out whether it’s possible to undertake these yourself or call in the services of a professional. This will totally depend on the nature of the home improvements you want to be undertaken.
Some decorating you may wish to tackle on your own while fitting a new bathroom suite will require bringing a professional on board to ensure the plumbing is undertaken correctly. Your landlord may even only agree to certain improvements on the proviso that the work is carried out by an experienced professional contractor. In general, any project that involves plumbing or electrical wiring should always be undertaken by a professional – as well as potentially causing damage to the property if things go wrong; they entail serious risks to your health and safety, too.
It’s also important to consider the fact that even though carrying out some home improvements yourself will save you on the cost of hiring a professional, you may still need to purchase expensive tools and equipment to get the work completed to a high standard.
Making a few improvements to your rental property can uplevel your home and make it feel more your own. Whether it’s applying a new shade of paint in the living room or creating a set of built-in shelves in a hall alcove, home improvements can take near-endless forms. Before starting on a project, first of all, consider whether it’s actually the landlord’s responsibility. For example, if the living room needs painting because dampness has stained the walls since you began your tenancy, this could be the landlord’s responsibility to put it right. For purely aesthetic or design improvements, you’ll still need the landlord’s permission to carry them out.
And when it comes to whether or not to hire a professional to carry out the work? If it involves electrics or plumbing, bringing a professional on board is vital. For other types of work, this will depend on your skill level and the time you have available. If in doubt? Get in a contractor. And don’t forget to be sure you have personal liability renters insurance.