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Can a tenant pay to make improvements to a rented home?

Tenant

Can a tenant pay to make improvements to a rented home?

Whether they want to paint the walls or install a whole new kitchen, there are circumstances when tenants may wish to make improvements to their rented home. What does the law have to say about this?

What are classed as “improvements”?

Anything from decorating or replacing furniture to putting in new triple-glazed windows, a bathroom or even building an extension may count as a home improvement.

When might the landlord be responsible?

While a landlord is responsible for home repairs, this doesn’t usually stretch to home improvements – although there are exceptions. If a health risk or underlying problem exists, then they may have to pay for improvements to address these. They may also be obliged to make “reasonable adjustments” if required by a tenant who is disabled. “Reasonable” in this context tends to mean affordable and practical.

How to make improvements to a rented home

If the improvements are simply a matter of tenant choice, then in the interests of both parties it’s crucial to seek written permission from the landlord before proceeding. This is because not doing so could lead to a demand for payment to return the property to how it was before. Tenants may also even risk eviction – or at least not getting back their deposit.

Landlords are more likely to agree to any improvement requests from good tenants who pay their rent on time and cause no problems. It may even be worthwhile for the landlord to consider contributing to the cost, if the improvements would increase the property’s value and ensure the tenants stay in the long term.

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