Decorating a Rental Apartment
Those who live in a rental apartment are usually quite limited in the amount of decorating they are able to do. This can have the impact of making a rental apartment not quite feel like a real home. In many cases the rental apartment is painted a bright white and residents often feel as though this color is somewhat impersonal but are not able to repaint the walls to a more appealing color. This is just one example of the decorating restrictions which may be placed on an individual renting an apartment. There may be other restrictions and reading the contract carefully will help the tenant to determine what is allowed and what is not allowed.
Review the Contract Carefully
Tenants who are living in an apartment should review their contract documents carefully before they begin decorating their unit. This is important because there may be some common decorating items such as painting or installation of shelving which may not be allowed by the contract documents. Decorating in any manner which is strictly prohibited may result in harsh penalties. These penalties might involve the assessment of fees at the conclusion of the rental period or possibly even eviction.
Most standard decorating items such as hanging pictures are usually acceptable but some particularly strict policies may either prohibit this completely or place restrictions on the type of nails which may be used or the methods of patching the holes. Tenants who have questions regarding whether or not specific decorating actions are permissible or prohibited should contact their leasing agent or unit owner before taking action. This will help to ensure the tenants is not penalized in the future for their actions.
Additionally, if they tell the tenant it is acceptable to perform an action prohibited by the rental agreement, the tenant should always ask for a signed, written document stating the exception to the contract. This additional step is to protect both parties when the tenant lease expires.
Consider Whether or Not Modifications are Reversible
When tenants in an apartment living situation are making decorating decisions, one of the most important factors to consider is whether or not a modification to the apartment is reversible. In most cases, the action is likely to be permissible as long as it is easily reversible. However, the case of painting the apartment is a common exception to this rule. Although painting can easily be reversed, most apartment complexes due not allow residents to pain the apartment in which they reside. This is because although painting is often reversible, the process of returning the wall to the original color is not always easy.
Irreversible modifications such as removing walls or adding permanent fixtures to the apartment are typically not considered acceptable when decorating a rental apartment. Although even major modifications are typically not completely irreversible, most leasing agents would consider modifications which require the assistance of a general contract to be permanent in nature. Conversely, small modifications such as nail holes to hang pictures are considered reversible because they can easily be corrected.
Consider the Security Deposit
Most tenants pay a security deposit before they take possession of the apartment. This security deposit is collected to protect against damages which may be caused by the tenants during the course of the rental agreement. The leasing agent or owner may expect to need to do some minor cleaning or a few small repairs after the tenant vacates the premises. However, a deposit large enough to cover the cost of more significant repairs is often collected to provide the leasing agent or owner with some protection in case the tenants damages the apartment and leaves it in need of considerable repair.
Remember, if the tenant is unsure of whether or not an action is permissible, they should seek clarification from the leasing agent or apartment owner.