4 Questions to Answer Before You Decorate a Rental Home

Decorating a rental house is tricky - you want to add your own personal touch to a space, but don't want to overstep your boundaries, lose your deposit or invest too much money into a space that isn't yours. Read on for some questions to ask yourself before you start the decorating process.

1. How long will you be staying in the home?

If this is a one-year lease, short-term rental or sabbatical home, there's little, if any, need to invest a lot of time and money into decorating the house.

However, if you plan to make a rental house your long-term home, you may want to negotiate with the landlord about what improvements are allowed and split the cost.

2. Am I allowed to do this?

Before you rush out to buy paint, new shelving for the closet or tiles for the bathroom, ask yourself, your landlord and your read your lease to see if you're actually allowed to do this.

Most landlords will allow you to paint if you restore the apartment back to its original color, paint it in a neutral color or pay for repainting once you move out. But, again, you should check your lease and ask your landlord before you start the process.

3. Can I do this without altering the home?

There are hundreds of design options that you can choose that allow you to add your own touch without altering the home. For example, area rugs can define a space and add color without having to rip up the floor.

Meanwhile, potted plants add pizzazz to a back porch or front garden without tilling your landlord's soil. Curtains, window treatments and accent pieces are also great for adding color and style without taking on major renovations. Just because you can't knock down a wall doesn't mean your style options end there.

4. Who will pay for it?

Renovations on a rental house are always complex, particularly if you're a long-term tenant. Basically, if there's a problem with the structure or functionality of the house, anything included in the lease or appliances that come with the rental, then the landlord should pay for it.

If on the other hand it's simply cosmetic upgrades that are unnecessary, then the tenant should pay. However, if you've been living with shag carpeting for years and just can't take it anymore, you may want to talk to your landlord about either replacing the carpet for you or splitting the cost.

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