What Changes Should You Let Your Tenants Make?

by | BiggerPockets.com

Earlier this week I was reading a funny post on this site where someone was joking about installing a urinal in one of their properties. Obviously, that’s a terrible idea because women will hate (men will love it) and we know who makes the housing decisions in this country. (Or pretty much all the decisions).

And that’s why when it comes to your rental properties you want to make them “boring” and make them appeal to the broadest population as possible. For example, when you put in carpet just put in neutral beige carpet and not bright red or bright green carpet. The same thing goes with when you’re painting your house – don’t use any exotic colors.

This is what I personally do with all of my rental properties:

However, I sell the majority of my houses on a lease option and one of my “selling points” to tenants is that I want them to treat this house like their own and they are free to make cosmetic upgrades as long as they check with me.

One time, I had a young couple move into a property of mine in Baltimore, MD and shortly after they moved in they replaced all the carpeting throughout the house. The only condition I gave them was that I had to approve the color to make sure nothing crazy went in.

Another time I had a tenant/buyer repaint an entire property of mine the first week she moved in. Again, I gave her the same speech that she had to use a neutral color and couldn’t do anything wild or crazy.

But… sometimes people don’t listen.

I was just inspecting a property of mine and the tenant had painted one of the room’s dark red. And I mean, very dark red. When this happens I inform the tenant about the policy of asking me first and explain to them that they will have to repaint the room to a neutral color if for some reason they don’t end up buying the property.

So far, I haven’t had any major problems with people. But that’s because I try to handle any problems up front. I firmly let all tenant/buyers know they must get everything approved by me and I even tell them that any unauthorized changes can result in a loss of the security deposit and the right to buy the house.

I recommend you take care of these problems upfront too, because 99% of tenant problems and hassles can be eliminated from the start if your tenant/buyers know the rules and what’s expected of them.

Photo: Jolante

About Author

Jason R. Hanson is the founder of National Real Estate Investor Month and the author of “How to Build a Real Estate Empire”. Jason specializes in purchasing properties “subject-to” and has purchased millions of dollars worth of property using none of his own cash or credit.

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