Throughout your time in the apartment, you may wish to complete various renovations to improve the quality of your living situation. Potential renovations include:

  • Replacing cabinetry
  • Upgrading appliances
  • Painting walls
  • Replacing flooring
  • Changing lighting fixtures, switchers, or dimmers
  • Switching outdoors and their hardware

While a plethora of online resources exists to help tenants physically complete renovations, there are not as many guides for negotiating the renovation with a landlord. Many landlords may be reluctant to let their tenants complete renovations, but you can use the following tips to try and appeal to their owners:

How to Ask Your Landlord to Renovate Your Apartment

It is essential to ask your landlord or management company for approval on a potential renovation before moving forward with the renovation itself. The following tips may help increase the likelihood of getting a “yes” from your property owner.

Double-check your lease

Before reaching out to your landlord or management company, re-read your lease. Some leases may include clauses that prohibit any form of alteration or renovation. If this is the case, you’re out of luck and will have to wait until your next apartment to attempt a renovation.

Highlight the benefit of the renovation

Ideally, a renovation improves the quality and value of the apartment. Many landlords and management companies may only address issues as they arise and upgrade parts of the unit as needed, therefore bringing them up to a standard instead of drastically increasing the overall value.

A tenant who can highlight the aesthetic or monetary value of their renovation and directly explain how it will help the owner rent the apartment in the future may receive approval. Landlords may not always see the direct benefit of new flooring or a different lighting fixture until the actual price difference appears in front of them.

Negotiate for a longer lease

Landlords spend money any time their current tenants move out and therefore aim to retain their tenants and keep them on the lease for longer. If you want to complete a renovation, you can appeal to the owner by offering to extend your lease and guarantee that the owner does not have to pay the cost of switching tenants for a certain amount of time.

Involve the landlord in the process

If you want to improve the quality of a function or item in the apartment but do not care too much about the specific color, finish, etc., you can hand that decision off to the landlord and let them decide. This maneuver gives the owner more control over the process and may make them more receptive to the renovation.

Next steps

Once you receive approval from the landlord to proceed with the renovation, make sure to acquire a physical, written copy of their approval. Then, you should store this approval with your other housing documents. If the landlord attempts to withhold your security deposit or claims you broke the lease due to the renovation, you can directly display the proof and argue your case.

What happens if the landlord does not agree

If your landlord does not agree to let you complete a renovation, you should not proceed with the process. Completing an unapproved renovation puts you at risk of losing your security deposit.

You can always aim for apartment-friendly renovations that you can easily remove when it comes time to leave the unit.