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Would you let tenants make home improvements?

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

New research shows PRS tenants are increasingly keen to personalise their rental homes – with controversial claims that landlords should let them do just that.

The growing trend is reflected in a recent study which found that 73% of tenants have carried out DIY jobs at their own expense.

According to the research, which included a survey of more than 2,000 renters, 23% of participants said they have spent over £500 on home improvements in their rental home.

Now the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) says that landlords should let renters carry out home improvements – something that would bring many landlords out in a cold sweat.

It claims landlords who allow tenants to make home improvements – within reason – could benefit in the long-term.

Patricia Barber, AIIC Chair said: “It’s clear that tenants are increasingly willing to spend their own money on improving their rental property and this is certainly something landlords should think about.

“We’re seeing more long-term tenants and they’re clearly committed to living in a higher standard of property. Landlords who cautiously allow tenants to put their own stamp on a property could benefit from a lower turnover of tenants and an improved and well-maintained property at the end of the contract.”

And while landlords have been advised to be ‘open-minded’ by the AIIC, Barber said a good inventory is vital to prevent issues further down the line.

She said: “If rental properties are noticeably changing over the course of a tenancy, it’s vitally important that there is an inventory which comprehensively details the condition and contents of the property at the start of the tenancy.

“This way any fair deposit deductions can be made by the landlord and the chances of a deposit dispute are minimised.”

The RLA runs an online course on deposits and inventories. To find out more click here.

Have you allowed tenants to carry out work on your property? Or would you refuse to entertain the idea? Comment on our forum.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.


  • Ive been renting 3 properties out two of them larger family homes with 3 or more children from the moment they agree to rent ive let them choose carpets and colour of paint on walls.i think if its a home it should be how the tenant would want a home to be like within reason. That way ive found they treat it like there home with love and respect.the tenants have then done jobs they have payed for one tenant decided they would like a new bathroom not because the old wasn’t nice they just wanted different they paid for someone to supply and fit it. Same house has had a yorkstone patio fitted at there expense. Again patio that was there was fine. Do for me its worked out great over the last several years

  • No my Tenancy Agreement does not allow Tenant improvements excluding EPC legal upgrades. Tenants undertaking works are not professionals nor do they have any interest in the property under the terms of my insurance (they are only renting the property), it is the Landlords responsibility to maintain the Property not the Tenants. Prior to the start of the Tenancy both parties agree on the clauses, that would cover this issue subject to the value of the Landlords property. Patricia Barber is not party to this agreement nor is this her area of expertise I would advise her to be independent and remain within her area of expertise and avoid granting rights to Tenants that may not be there. Would the reader let Tenants do DIY to your house, while they are at it how about fixing the plumbing or electrics, I think not it is the job of the professional who have a van full of tools. If Tenants want to personalise the property
    they can under the Terms of the lease, not AIIC.

  • I wouldn’t be against it, but I’d need to discuss their plans and assess the potential effects. Top of the list would be thinking about what future issues it might create. For example, a previous tenant asked about repainting and I set conditions which they just ignored – it took ages getting the property back up to my standards, replacing the hideous colour, and cleaning or replacing the electrical fittings that they’d painted to the walls.
    If they wanted to replace the bathroom, then I’d probably agree on a cost share basis. As long as it’s done right, then it’s in my interests if the tenant wants to pay for part of what will be an expense sooner or later.

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