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Tenant Wanting to Renovate: Setting Restrictions


Image source: House Nerd

Landlords are usually expected to provide renovation notice to tenants when the property requires repairs and/or improvements. This is to respect the rights of the tenants and give them time to prepare or make the necessary adjustments to safeguard their privacy during the course of the renovation. But what happens when the tenants themselves signify their intention to renovate the property? How can you set restrictions and avoid future problems arising from such activity?


A tenant renovation notice is used to notify tenants of renovations in common areas of a multi-family housing, to cite an example. Standards forms are usually available for use by landlords and these documents should contain important information pertinent to the renovation, such as the exact nature of activities, location, expected starting date, expected ending date, contact details of contractor or renovator, and precautionary health and safety tips, if any.


However, when a tenant informs you of wanting to renovate the property, this should be the time that you explicitly but respectfully offer reminders of the specific restrictions a tenant is not allowed to do, which you should be able to justify with your signed rental agreement. The most common restrictions would include removing walls, adding fireplaces or any similar recesses or concaves, and expanding closets and taking down doors, shelving or cabinets.


While it may be best not to allow tenants to do major renovations, landlords may consider improvement plans if these will just involve minor changes such as adding a lighting fixture, improving a cabinet’s aesthetic features, or painting a part of the house (but agree on the color of the paint before you give your approval). It would be beneficial if a renovation agreement between the tenant and the landlord is prepared to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts of interest in the future.


There are positive stories of landlords appreciating what their tenants have done to the property, but to achieve a win-win situation, it requires clear and honest communication between the tenant and the landlord. Showing respect for each other’s rights is a surefire way to strengthening the business relationship and gaining the trust of the other party in the process.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.