Making improvements to your rented home

Improvements can be big or small. Examples include:

  • new curtains or furniture

  • painting and decorating

  • replacement windows

  • a new kitchen or bathroom

  • building a conservatory

Your landlord is responsible for most repairs in your home.

But they do not usually have to make improvements unless they are needed.

Your landlord might need to make improvements if the council tells them to, or if you ask for certain disability adaptions.

Find out about landlord responsibilities for improvements or disability adaptions.

Get permission before making improvements

Do not make improvements without you landlord's permission or you:

  • could be charged money to change things back

  • might not get your deposit back 

  • may be at risk of eviction

For example, in a private tenancy you often need the landlord's permission if you want to paint the walls. You might have to repaint them back to the original colour before you move out.

Always get any agreement in writing before you go ahead with the work.

Private tenants

Think about how long you're likely to live there. Improvements might not be worth it if you will not benefit from them in the longer term.

Most private renters have an assured shorthold tenancy which can often be ended quite easily using the section 21 eviction process. 

Your landlord may also decide to increase the rent if the property has been improved.

How to negotiate

Speak to your landlord directly about the work you want to do. 

An agent cannot usually agree to improvements without speaking to the landlord.

If you pay rent on time and look after your home, point this out when you speak to them.

Some landlords will agree to the changes you want to make if you agree to put things back the way they were when you leave.

If you have a good relationship with your landlord, you could ask for:

  • a rent reduction for a set time period

  • a longer fixed term tenancy agreement

  • some of your costs to be covered by the landlord

Council or housing association tenants

You need your landlord's written permission for major improvements. For example, if you want to:

  • install a new kitchen  

  • build a conservatory

  • put in laminate flooring

Always check what your tenancy agreement says about improvements. You may need permission for smaller changes too.

You could also ask if your landlord is planning any major improvement or refurbishment work in the near future.

Decorating

You do not usually need your landlord's permission to decorate your home but you'll probably have to pay for the materials.

Some landlords offer financial or practical help with decorating, especially to older or disabled tenants.


Last updated: 20 September 2023

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