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Can I attach a fixture or make alterations to my rental? How do I know what’s allowed and what’s not?

We spoke to the former Business Development Manager at LJ Hooker Gosford, Madeleine Smith, about fixtures and alterations in rental properties.

Make changes, but only with consent

Madeleine said you can generally attach a fixture or make alterations to your home, but you must get permission first.

“Your landlord cannot unreasonably refuse to let you make small alterations, such as putting up picture hooks,” she said.

“They may permit you to add one hook in the middle of a wall, but not six hooks. If you’re unsure, ask your property manager/landlord.”

Remember, if you make a change without consent, you may be in breach of the terms of your lease agreement.

If you breach your agreement, your landlord is within their right to apply to the state/territory tribunal for an order that you comply with your agreement and restore the rental to its original condition.

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What is classed as a reasonable refusal?

In most states, you’ll find that your landlord cannot unreasonably refuse to give you consent to add a fixture or make a relatively minor change.

Let’s look at an example in New South Wales.

Current tenancy legislation says tenants can install fixtures or make alterations, additions or renovations if they have the landlord’s written consent or if the tenancy agreement permits it.

If your request for a fixture or alterations, addition or renovation is of a ‘minor nature,’ your landlord must not unreasonably withhold consent.

You must pay for the fixture you install or for any alteration, renovation or addition to the property you make, unless your landlord agrees otherwise.

Where would it be unreasonable for a landlord to say no in NSW?

  • Securing furniture to a non-tiled wall for safety reasons
  • Fitting a childproof latch to an outdoor gate of a single dwelling
  • Inserting flyscreens on windows
  • Installing or replacing an internal window covering, e.g. curtains and removable blinds
  • Installing cleats or cord guides to secure blinds or curtain cords
  • Installing child safety gates inside the property
  • Installing window safety devices for child safety
  • Installing hand-held or lever-style taps to assist elderly or disabled occupants
  • Installing or replacing hooks, nails or screws for hanging paintings, picture frames and other similar items.
  • Installing a phone line or internet connection
  • Planting vegetables, flowers, herbs or shrubs *shrubs that don’t grow more than two metres) in the garden, if existing vegetation or plants don’t need to be removed
  • Installing a wireless removable outdoor security camera
  • Applying shatter-resistant film to windows or glass doors
  • Making medications that don’t penetrate a surface or permanently modify a surface, fixture or structure of the property

Even if the fixture, alteration, addition or renovation is included in the above list, tenants must still get the landlord’s written permission.

Madeleine Smith
Madeleine Smith
Former Business Development Manager at LJ Hooker Gosford | [email protected]

Madeleine Smith was the Business Development Manager for LJ Hooker Gosford, Lisarow, and East Gosford on the Central Coast of New South Wales between 2015 and 2018. She won the LJ Hooker Top Business Development Property Investment Manager NSW/ACT 2017-18 and 2016-2017 awards. During her time at LJ Hooker Gosford, Madeleine also worked as the Senior Property Manager, maintaining a portfolio of 300+ properties, and as a Property Manager.