You’ve found your perfect rental home but what would make it even more perfect is a little garden in the backyard or a room painted your favorite color. Are you allowed to make modifications or not?

Your lease may or may not address what you’re allowed to do. Most likely, if it doesn’t address your situation specifically, you’ll want to check with your landlord or property manager. A few of the common requests and what landlords consider before approving are listed here.

Painting:

Whether or not you’re allowed to paint may depend on several factors. What color is the room currently and how long ago or recently was it last painted? What color do you want to paint it? If the room has been recently painted a neutral color, then the landlord may be less likely to agree to you painting the room a less neutral color. On the other hand, if the paint is older and a non-neutral color to start, then the landlord may welcome a fresh coat of neutral paint. 

Garden/Lawn:

Can you plant a garden or a few flowers or trees in the yard? It depends. If the property is in a community governed by a homeowner’s association, then there may be rules about what is allowed. If not, the landlord may not want to continue with any additional upkeep required to maintain your garden when you move.

Appliances:

As part of your lease, the landlord is providing the appliances, but you have your own refrigerator or washer and dryer that you want to use instead. Can you replace the landlord’s appliances with your own? There are a few issues here. If the landlord allows you to use your appliances, where will the landlord’s go? They need to be stored somewhere since the next tenant may not have their own appliances and need to use them. Is there somewhere at the property that’s good for storing appliances? Garages usually do not work since the weather fluctuates and there are bugs and dirt that can get in them. If the landlord does allow you to use your appliances, you may be required to have them professionally installed since there can be damage to the property from improper installation. For example, a water line from the fridge might leak damaging the kitchen floor or gas can leak if a dryer is not connected properly.

What are you going to do when you move? Are you going to leave it, return it back to the previous condition, or make some other modifications or repairs? How long have you been a tenant and how much time is left on the lease? Landlords are typically more agreeable to making modifications or allowing tenants to if they’re tenants who are staying long-term.

These are questions the landlord may have and may factor in on whether or not he or she will accept or deny your request to modify the rental property. The more details you have about what you’d like to do and how the work will be done will help the landlord feel more comfortable about the modifications.