Should You Start Remodeling a Rental Apartment?


    Renting apartments or parts of the house is widely spread for variety of reasons. Some people cannot afford to currently purchase their own place while others do it when relocating for work or education. The market is full of options, but sometimes the interior of apartments is not in great condition. This article is for people who wonder if they should remodel apartment space while renting.

    For obvious reasons we all want to enhance the looks of where we live and spend most of our time. Remodel On Point wants to break down benefits and complications upgrading rental places as the person who rents it.

    Renovations can be extensive or partial solely to make it slightly appealing. The endless debate of upgrading rented apartment goes down to costs, benefits and losing money you have invested.

    We divided this article into pros and cons of remodeling apartment and explain what situations may work for you specifically.

    When Remodeling a Rental Apartment Makes Sense

    The whole procedure of remodeling anything requires money to be spent and personal time either to plan the work or to do it yourself. Because apartment is not yours there is a risk of spending it all for nothing. After all there are many things that can happen and you can be asked to move out. Here we listed several situations when remodeling a rental apartment can be a good idea.

    Staying in this apartment for years ahead

    If somehow you are ensured that you will stay in current apartment for years ahead it makes sense to do some sort of renovation inside. Normally this does not happen and landlords do not promise to keep renters in their building forever. Government control rent increase for current occupiers. Therefore it is profitable for landlords to have new lessee with increased rent amount.

    On other hand people live in renal spaces for decades and have no issues. For those who are comfortable with that scenario it could be worthwhile performing some sort of renovation throughout the years.

    Not spending tons of money on remodeling

    If we are talking about tiny home upgrades that do not cost much, it makes sense to complete them even if you rent the place. Small changes can go the long way and just changing backsplash tiles or refinishing cabinets completely changes the look.

    Landlords are very hard to convince to remodel apartments. If something is not broken than it is not needed to be replaced. Their process of though is to make money. Therefore renovating the place on your own could be the only way to upgrade it without moving.

    When owner of apartment is family member

    Rules completely change if the building is owned by your family member. First of all family should provide the best apartment they have and compensate for upgrades you do. Do not expect to get free everything from relatives all the time. Overall renters should feel comfortable remodeling apartment while renting from family member and not worry about being kicked out as long as they pay rent.

    We all want to live in better places and it doesn’t take much money sometimes to upgrade the apartment. Having relative as a building owner is always a plus and it lowers risk of losing invested time and money.

    When you have agreement or contract

    To protect yourself from being left on the street after investing money in remodeling of rented apartment you can have an agreement with landlord. And we remind everyone that agreements better be on paper signed by both parties.

    We have heard of stories when renters were contractors and remodeled parts of apartments and did not have to pay several monthly rental fees. Another agreement can be in a way of longer occupancy. Signed a paper, which protects you from being asked to move out for several years, if you spend money or do renovation of apartment unit by yourself.

    Why Avoid Remodeling Rented Apartment

    avoid remodeling rental apartment
    certain things in apartment should not be renovated

    Having second thoughts on spending thousands of dollars for upgrades to place you do not own? Here we listed problems with remodeling rented apartments. Think twice about your situation to decide whether to start reno or simply live in the place as is.

    You may change mind or relocate again

    Staying in rental apartment could be result of temporary work or study. Some companies even pay for the rented place for entire duration. Planning and executing remodeling process takes time. If your stay is short and the plan from beginning is to move within several month it is not worth doing the work inside.

    Obviously paint touch ups can completely change the place without much costs involved and time spent. For anything extensive you won’t simply have time. Remodel On Point team suggest redecorating short term rental apartments versus trying to change finishing materials for your taste.

    Rent is over and invested money lost

    If the place is yours, partial and complete remodeling a rental apartment has return on investment. Some of it is greater than money spent and some is much less. All renovations inside apartment you rent have zero return and all the costs for material and labor will never be given back.

    Imagine spending ten or even twenty times more than monthly rental fees only to find out one day that it was for nothing. There are many reasons for which landlord may ask you to vacate apartment. After all you may just do a free renovation for landlord and leave the place.

    Apartment building can be sold

    Owner of the property with apartment building could potentially have plans to sell it all. When this happens, buyer can do absolutely anything to the structure or land it sits on. It includes complete renovation of the building with completely renewing all tenants with higher rent, demolishing and starting new development or even converting it for commercial use.

    During the sale of the property renters lose almost all their rights and can be asked to vacate the premises within few months. This is one of the reasons why occupants do not wish to remodel apartment while renting it.

    Damaged by others will not be covered

    Situation with damages of the property and insurance claims is very difficult. Normally through companies home renters can insure their personal belongings for damage or theft, but will decline any means of physical attachment to home if property is not yours. Meaning the place is not yours – owner pays for damage.

    Our best example that does happen in real quite often is flood. Neighbors from above could damage remodeled room of rental apartment with flood and not a single insurance company will cover your costs.

    Steven H.
    Steven H.
    General Contractor and Home Builder with over 20 years of experience. Write and Edit educational posts for several Remodeling Blogs. Specialize in trade management and technical construction details.

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