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Can You Redecorate Your Rental Home?

18 January 2021 Simon Banks Read time: 2 min
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Simon Banks

There are many benefits to renting should you choose to do it over buying a property. Flexibility, easy access to maintenance and living somewhere that you couldn't necessarily afford to buy are just some of the perks for renters.

Yet, there is one bugbear that keeps rearing its head. An inability to decorate your rental home as you see fit can be frustrating, especially as most rented properties feature neutral decor. Many renters are often left wondering if they can add their own touch – a splash of paint here and there. 

Traditionally, landlords were against any form of decoration in their property, but the renting landscape has changed over the years. Which is why we've put this guide together detailing the do's, don'ts and maybes of decorating your rental home. 

The changing mindset of renters

A growing number of people use the private rental market to find their home, and with more demand comes increased expectations. Once upon a time, people rented a cheap place while they saved up for a deposit to buy somewhere.

Paints and paint brush to decorate a rental property

Nowadays, renting is more of a lifestyle, with the average tenancy lasting a little over four years. Therefore, renters want more flexibility over their living environment. That might include painting the walls a different colour, changing the light fittings or even adding carpets where there was previously a wood floor in place.  

Can you decorate a rented home?

The short answer is maybe. When you first move into a new rented home, it goes without saying that you can add your own furniture – whether it's kitting out the entire home or adding a few bits here and there to compliment the current furnishings. 

What you can't do, however, is assume that you have free reign to redecorate the home and start turning those painted white walls into deep reds. Ultimately, the question of whether or not you can redecorate a rental home is only one the owner of the property can answer.

Speak to your landlord/property manager

The property owner has the final say on whether or not you can redecorate your rental property. Some landlords may be happy for you to change the wall colour; others, not so much. If redecorating is something you're set on doing, it's worth discussing before you make an offer. 

Gauge the landlord's openness to giving you more freedom to redecorate parts of their property. Some may even agree to your suggestions and implement the changes themselves before you move in. And if you already live in the property but have decided you would like to decorate, always make sure you reach out the property manager or landlord first and wait until they give you the green light before commencing with any work. 

What if the landlord won't let you redecorate? 

While it can be annoying for your landlord to push back against redecorating requests, unfortunately, there isn't much you can do about it. Both of you would have signed an AST, which stipulates the fundamentals of the tenancy before moving in. 

Therefore, you can't challenge the landlord if they don't want you to redecorate the home. The landlord is only responsible for fixing repairs in the property, such as broken boilers and other fixtures and fittings. The final decision on whether or not you can redecorate come down to them.

Redecorating with Build-to-Rent 

Build-to-Rent comprises exclusive rental communities where everyone living in the building is a renter. The result is more freedom for residents, including the ability to redecorate your home in some communities. 

Again, it's important to check redecorating privileges with a Build-to-Rent operator before you move in. Otherwise, you might be disappointed to learn that the specific operator you rented with doesn't allow redecorating after you've got the keys. But in general, Build-to-Rent renters often have more flexibility with their living choices. 

Putting your personal touch on a rented home

Having the freedom to redecorate your rental home can help you shape it in your image. Yet, you don't always need to redecorate. Adding things like extra furniture, wall art and plants can also help you put your stamp on things. Plus, it's usually not as messy and can help create an aura around the place, making your rented property feel like home. 

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