You might be busting to make some changes to your property, but you’re renting and wondering what your options are in Australia. The answer, unfortunately, is ‘not much’.

Young woman hanging a piece of geometric art on her wall
Photo: iStock/lolostock

Tenants commonly request for the installation of air conditioning, additional window locks and security screens, carpet replacement, painting or landscaping.

The summary for NSW just about covers the rules in all states (and comes across fairly reasonable from a common-sense point of view):

You agree not to add or remove any fixtures or do any renovations, alterations or additions to the premises without the landlord’s written consent (unless permitted under the tenancy agreement)

But even if you are willing to pay for everything yourself, remember that you cannot make any alterations without the owner’s permission.

So what can you do?

  1. Contact your landlord or property manager and discuss your ideas. Make sure you have good reasons for your request.
  2. The owner does not have to agree to every request you make. However, they may look more favourably at requests that have future benefits and add value to your property. For example: Painting, recarpeting or landscaping may improve the appeal and worth of the house to some degree.
  3. If they do agree, make sure you get the details in writing, noting what changes are to be made, who is to pay, what portion each person will pay, and what will happen when you leave.
  4. At the end of your tenancy, what will generally happen is that any changes made to the property by you as the tenant will remain.
  5. You can remove fixtures you have affixed, with the owner’s consent, unless the removal of the fixture would cause irreparable damage.

Remember: ALWAYS talk to your landlord or property manager before making any changes to the property.

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