What modifications or renovations can you make to a property while you are renting?

01 September 2023 | Posted in Content Hub

Having a home of your own is much more than just living there, for some it is a dream come true. This achievement provides a sense of security and comfort while to many, having a home means having a comfort zone to enjoy after a stressful or hard day or a place to feel safe. It is a place to build memories and spend quality time with family, friends, and yourself. To have your own home is very desirable. Even if some cannot afford to purchase a residential property, renting the property is always a good solution. An observation from CBRE Cambodia reports in the first quarter of 2023 shows that rental properties continue to increase owing to the population of young adults and foreigners who prefer saving costs by renting properties. Yet, a complication to making rental properties homey is that tenants do not have full authority to make modifications to the rental property as they please. If you want to know what modifications or renovations you can make to a property while renting, we encourage you to continue reading to find out!    

What modifications or renovations can you make to a property while you are renting?

      In most rental contracts, you will notice that one clause or term of condition will state a provision that tenants are not authorized to make modifications to the rental property freely. This condition is legally a right to the owner as they are the actual owner of the property, thus making unconsented modifications will result in a breach of contract. 

During or after the rental term ends, tenants can lose their safety deposits, or even get sued by the landlord for claims of damaging their property. 


What should tenants do before making renovations?

      This, however, does not mean that tenants cannot make any renovations to the place to make it feel like a home. It is advised that tenants ask their landlords for permission first before they make any renovations. When making modifications to the rental property, whether big or small, you should inform the landlord beforehand and persuade them by either proposing that it will be an improvement to the property or that you will restore it to its original state after the rental terms. It is highly encouraged to get written consent from the landlord for big changes to avoid issues afterward. 


What kind of modifications to rental property can tenants make? 

      It is understandable why tenants want to make renovations to their rental properties, so they can make the place more like their home. Although tenants should inform the landlords before making adjustments to the place, there are some modifications that do not require the landlord’s consent. Either way, tenants should remain cautious so here are some listed modifications to guide tenants: 


Modifications Without Requiring Landlord’s Consent:

      Here are some common modifications tenants can make to their rental property without having to ask for the landlord’s permission beforehand: 

  • Having temporary wallpaper to customize the space of your liking   
  • Removable adhesive wall hooks, frame hangers, wall mounts, and other decorative items that are easy to remove afterward, etc
  • Using temporary window films, adhesive tiles, or flooring tiles to decorate the space and for safety measures 
  • Changes to light fixtures or using LED lights to lighten up the space according to your taste 
  • Switch curtains, showerheads or other hardware around the house, but make sure to keep the original 
  • A wireless doorbell is also a modification you make for your safety that does not need to inform the landlord  


Modifications Requiring Landlord’s Consent 

     For heavy or large-scale modifications to the rental property, tenants would definitely inform the landlord and ask for their consent before making those changes. Here are lists of some modifications you should ask the landlord beforehand: 

  • Big renovations that can damage or permanently change the surfaces or property structure
  • Any modifications that will result in further modifications to common areas or other nearby properties  
  • Permanent changes of the flooring, carpets, toilet or removing a door or wall
  • Painting the house without discussing it with the landlord 
  • Installment of hardwired security systems or cameras
  • Tampering or deactivation of the property’s safety devices such as smoke alarms, electrical safety switches 


What can tenants do to make renting residential properties feel like home?

         Living at a rental residence does not essentially mean you cannot make the place feel like home. With the goal to help lessen expenses and create a lovely home of your own, here are some ideas that tenants could try out to make the place more like home:


  • Decorating with minimalist style: For those who prefer to have a minimal, clean, and soothing lifestyle, you might want to consider having a neutral color theme to the wallpaper, furniture, mattresses, etc. You can also add some memorable pictures hanging on the walls, and have some compatible pieces of furniture
  • Decorating for a lively and natural home: house plants are very trendy and pleasing to have when at home. For anyone with indoor plants, you can also add some leafy decorations to different areas of your house such as in the living rooms, balconies, or even in the shower, etc. Rugs and soft cushions are also a great match for those who like to read at home as well
  • Decorating for a classic and modern living space: tenants may want to stick to a classic modern vibe while renting the property. For a classic look, tenants may want to decorate the place with sizable furniture and make use of the space without overcrowding. Some color themes suggested are white, grey, beige, light green or blue, and a few other natural shades. 
  • Additional decoration tips: If you prefer to spend less time and budget on decorating, you might want to consider just rearranging some of the furniture, adding a few loose decorative furniture, changing the lights, and making some easy DIYs that are personal or meaningful to you.  


How to ensure that you’ll get your safety deposit back after the rental term ends?

         In general, the landlord requires the tenant to make a safety deposit for the rental properties and will return it afterward if there is no breach of contract. Nonetheless, it is still important that tenants, especially those who make modifications to the property, keep in mind a few things during their stay to ensure they will get back the safety deposit. These are some important factors tenants should follow:  

  • Tenants should make sure to read the contract before signing and remember important clauses of the contract 
  • Modifications should not damage the property or its structure
  • Any change of hardware, furniture, or temporary fixes should be returned to the original state or kept safely 
  • Large-scale modifications to the property are allowed by the landlord with written consent
  • Make sure to make rental payments on time or inform the landlord beforehand if making a late payment by a few days 
  • Take caution that the residential property and other included amenities are properly used and cared 
  • Any issues such as leakage clogged drains, issues with the air conditioner, hot & cold water, etc. are informed to the landlord immediately to avoid problems when moving out 
  • Keep the place nice and tidy when moving out or you might have some deduction from the safety deposit for cleaning services

      Renting a residential property is a great financial solution for young adults and anyone who prefers a temporary stay. Renting instead of buying a residential property offers more flexibility, convenience, and ease of financial burdens. Although it can be inconvenient in terms of having limited authority in making modifications to the place, tenants can still find it possible to create a lovely home. If you are interested in finding great rental residential property offers, feel free to contact CBRE real agents for more detailed information.

Download Report