My tenants are having a baby and want to decorate the spare room. Should I let them?

Congratulations to your tenants! It’s understandable they’d want to decorate for the new arrival.

Families tend to stay longer, if the space is right for them, so it’s good news for you that your tenants are looking to put down some real roots. 

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But on the other hand, if your tenant wants to re-decorate the walls, flooring and doors included – where do you draw the line? 

Some landlords welcome it as it saves them extra time in decorating the property themselves. Yet other landlords may want to rule out decorating in the tenancy agreement completely. 

Before making your decision, let’s dig a little deeper.

The Dos and Don’ts of Decorating

  1. Damage: Communicating with your tenant what is and isn’t acceptable to you is truly important. They could be hammering away and creating large holes in the plasterboard walls, so make it clear in your tenancy agreement what ‘decorating’ means to you. If they want to go as far as installing new curtain rails, changing the flooring or internal doors – be sure to clear up any confusion before it happens. 
  2. Walls: Living in rented spaces may mean your tenant has had to get used to many white-washed walls that can feel a little bland. Most likely they’ll want to add a touch of personality which is totally understandable. It doesn’t hurt to add a splash of color if you’re ok with it, but wallpaper is a tricky issue to deal with. Removing wallpaper calls for a messy job that leaves your wall looking disastrous if not resurfaced and re-painted properly. Let your tenant know that they can use a quality removable wallpaper or self-adhesive wall stickers that are reusable and a popular choice among parents with newborns. It can add that quick and quirky touch to any nursery. 
  3. Decorating: Your tenant can make some subtle changes that won’t cost them a fortune or damage the spare room. Remind them that color, texture, and even lighting can warm up a nursery and add a welcoming atmosphere. A large rug or gallery wall is a great idea to add that personal touch to the spare room. Encourage your tenant not to make too many drastic changes, and again, lay out the rules beforehand so they know what they can or cannot do. 
  4. Safety First: Since your tenants are expecting a little one, they will want to baby-proof their home just like any new parent. But you most likely will not be keen on having new holes screwed into the door frames should they install baby safety gates. Mention to your tenant beforehand that there are safety gates for children that include pressure-fitted pads that have no need for drilling holes during installation. 
  5. Inventory Check-In & Check-out: Of course, you may want to consider having an inventory taken before and after your tenants move-in day. At Mashroom, we offer Inventory Check-In & Check-Out, a smooth and professional experience for both you and your tenant, detailing the condition of the property before they move in and after they move out. 

There’s plenty of ways for your tenant to decorate without risking their security deposit, but ultimately, you have to ‘ok’ it before it happens! 

Whether you think it’s a plus that your tenant wants to spruce up the room a bit with a splash of color or not is up to you. Just make it clear to your tenant how flexible you are when it comes to decorating, and you’ll have a positive experience. 

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