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Tenancy Agreements:

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What Can A Tenant Change In My Property?

Almost every contract I have come across has a statement contained within it that states that absolutely no alterations may be made to either the interior or the exterior of the property without first obtaining the landlords consent in writing. Furthermore there is usually a clause that states that the property must be made as it was at the beginning of the property.

Many landlords pay out considerable sums of money ensuring their property is in good decorative order and has furniture that is suitable for professional people. Therefore they are reluctant to allow the tenant to go about changing the décor etc.

A lot depends on how long the tenant is planning on being in the property or indeed how long the tenant has been in the property. If the tenant has been there longer than a year and is happy to stay as long as they can paint the lounge room a different colour (at their own expense) then it is probably worth considering allowing them to make the change without fussing too much about putting it back to its’ original colour at the end of the tenancy.

Every rented property should be decorated every 5 years or so. Bear this in mind when the tenant asks for something to be changed.

Picture hooks and nails in the wall are a common argument. If the tenant wishes to put a portrait on the wall after they have moved in and does so without your consent then they are probably in violation of their lease and have caused damage to the wall – they should make this good at the end of the tenancy and if they fail to do so I reckon you have good grounds to deduct money (a fair amount and an agreed amount) from the deposit.

Remember that as a landlord you are responsible for ensuring that the property is in a habitable state throughout the tenancy barring negligence on behalf of the tenant.

Some tenants will negotiate on certain changes before they move into the property, certainly the best way. Take these changes into account and ask yourself if they are going to improve the property – they may be worth considering, especially if the tenant is prepared to pay for them out of their own pocket.

All in all, the tenant is responsible for making sure that the property is left in the same condition as when the found it. This includes the décor – but ensure that your contract says so.

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