Making improvements to your rented home

Find out what to do if you want to make improvements to your home.

What counts as an improvement

Improvements can be large 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 don't usually have to make improvements unless it's related to a health and safety risk or a disability.

Find out when your landlord is responsible for improvements

Find out if you can make improvements

Some landlords won't consider making improvements unless they have to.

But they might agree to you carrying out the work and may help fund it.

Don't make improvements without permission or you:

  • could be charged money to change things back
  • might not get your deposit back 
  • may be at risk of eviction

Private tenants

Before you contact your landlord, think about how long you're likely to be living there.

Improvements might not be worth it if you won't 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 can't usually agree to improvements without speaking to the landlord.

If you pay rent on time and look after your home, point this out in negotiations.

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

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

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.

It's also worth asking if your landlord is planning to do any improvement work themselves in the near future.

Decorating

You don't 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 05 Aug 2019 | © Shelter

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