Home Improvements You Can Do Without Your Landlord’s Permission

Technically, tenants are not allowed to do any improvements to a rental property without the permission of the landlord. Going overboard can get you into some serious trouble, and that’s not a line you want to cross with a person who can evict you from your home. If your lease expressly forbids you from modifying the home in any way, don’t risk it. If it doesn’t, there may be a few things you can do while your landlord is on vacation without any fear of repercussion.


Painting the Walls 

A drastic change in color is risky. A landlord will be sure to notice, and you’ll likely be required to put things back the way they were. There are a few exceptions where painting may actually be a good thing. If the walls are starting to peel or look dingy, but you don’t want to wait on your landlord to hire someone to repaint them and deal with the inconvenience of painters in your home, you can repaint them the same color that they were before. They’ll look fresh and new, and you technically haven’t changed anything.

Replacing Small Broken Things

Doorstops, switch plates, and outlet covers get old. They turn yellow, and they sometimes crack. White switch plates and outlet covers are standard, cheap, and easy to install. A doorstop with a bent spring becomes useless, and a new one can be installed using the hole that was already drilled there. Since there’s only one right way to do these things and they’re both as simple as can be, it’s unlikely your landlord will even notice. If they do, they’ll probably thank you.

Getting a Security System

Home security systems make your rental safer. You want to protect your family, your personal possessions, and the home you’re renting. As long as you’re footing the monthly bill, your landlord is unlikely to take issue with the installation of a home security system. It’s protecting their property from vandals at no expense to them.

Closet Storage Systems

Your landlord may take issue with you installing custom shelving that’s difficult to take down, but closet storage systems aren’t what they used to be. Customizable sets of wire racks are easy to set up. Some only require a few small screws, and others sit on the floor without requiring any real assistance. If your landlord doesn’t mind when you hang pictures on the wall, a few screws in the closet probably won’t be a big deal. You can even take these custom storage systems with you if you decide to move.

Replacing Broken Things with Identical Things

Broken doorknob? Rusting faucet? You aren’t allowed to make any changes, but you can keep things the same. If something small breaks and you can find the exact make and model of the malfunctioning fixture, switch it out. Unless your lease specifically prohibits you from doing any work in the home on your own, you technically aren’t upgrading or making any changes. You’re keeping things the same, but making them better.

Upgrading Filters

Air filters and water filters need to be replaced somewhat often. If your landlord always swaps them out with the cheapest compatible filter, purchase and install better filters on your own. Allergen reducing air filters and heavy duty water filters may be a necessity in your home. Your landlord won’t object if you’re saving them money.

If you want to make a big change, it’s worth getting your landlord’s permission – particularly if it’s something he or she will definitely notice upon entering your rental. Many landlords won’t mind you spending your own time and money to make their property better. You might find an almost perfect property on Gumtree owned by a landlord that will encourage your creativity. You’ll never know unless you ask.


Amelia Dermott is an active blogger who is interested in home decor tips and ideas as well as self-improvement hacks. She likes to combine her interests with her great passion for writing.

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