26th November 2012
As buying continues to be out of reach for many people across the UK, landlords and management companies are now receiving DIY and home improvement requests from tenants who want to turn rental properties into long-term homes.
Nearly a quarter (22 per cent) of UK renters have approached their landlord or management company about making changes to their property, rising to 43 per cent for those living in detached homes. Those living in studio flats are the next most likely to ask about changes (30 per cent) followed by those in terraced houses (25 per cent).
When it comes to paying for changes, nearly one in ten landlords (eight per cent) are happy to foot the bill, while 14 per cent would rather their tenants pay. The most common changes that renters make to rental properties are:
1. Redecorating to their tastes
2. Changing the garden
3. Structurally changing the property
Kevin Mathew, Head of Housing for Gumtree said: “With the economy as it is, many UK adults are facing the reality of being long-term renters. However, as the research shows, many people still want their rental property to feel like it’s their own home and are increasingly keen to make improvements to the property to achieve that.”
“This is good news for landlords – renters who treat your house as their own are more likely to take good care of it and add touches that will potentially even add value to the property. Plus, if you have happy tenants who have added personal flair to the house, they’ll likely stay in the property for longer, meaning less time spent on advertising and searching for new tenants.”
Gumtree Media’s top tips for agreeing changes to your property with your tenants
- Be transparent from the start. This is the key to a good tenant/landlord relationship. Speak to prospective tenants about any changes they would envisage making to the property, should they move in, as early as possible.
- Be clear on the smaller things. Some tenants may not approach landlords for permission for seemingly small changes such as painting walls or putting pictures up. So rather than wrangling over the deposit when they move out, be clear about what they can and can’t do to avoid disagreements further down the line.
- If your tenants signal they want to make changes, agree these before the tenancy agreements are signed if possible. Once you have both agreed what you are happy with, enshrine this in the tenancy agreement. You then have peace of mind that changes you aren’t happy with won’t be made.
- Be accommodating – but stick to your guns. It can often be a sticking point as to whether the landlord or tenant should pay for changes. As the landlord you’re not under any obligation to make any changes that aren’t legally required – but do be open to contributing to changes that could add value to the property in future.
*Research carried out by Vision Critical – September 20 2012
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