Question: Allowing tenant to upgrade your home?

11 Replies

Hello everyone,

I have a tenant who has been asking to make upgrades to my rental property for some time. The most recent upgrade question I've gotten is due to their dog ripping out brand new carpet in the upstairs. They let me know and are asking if they can replace the carpeting or upgrade the upstairs to laminate. They are asking permission for laminate because they like the look better and feel it would prevent the issue from coming up again. The tenant is pretty handy and wants to do the laminate work himself.

Has anyone ever encountered this before? If so any precautions I should take? Any pitfalls I may encounter? Would it be best to have something in writing? 

Thank you everyone,


My first response would be no. Do you have any guarantee they would do quality work? More importantly, what if they claim an ownership interest due to doing the work or providing materials? If they want it done, consider asking them to renegotiate the lease. You then provide materials and labor.

Always have it in writing!!! What can he show you of previous work? What type of laminate? What happens should the dog ruin it again? They will have to pay to have repaired AGAIN!!! Maybe the dog should go?

If and when you agree make sure you pick the laminate/flooring also state that when they move they leave the flooring and should it be ruined again before they leave they must pay to have it fixed by a PROFESSIONAL.

Good Luck

@John Thedford why would she pay for materials. The tenant is responsible they ruined the new carpet that was there. Tenant would have to pay no matter who replaces.

I did have something written into my lease prior to renting to them stating tenant must not do any repairs without the owners written consent. They did ask me prior to moving in if they could do minor things to the house to make it feel like home. 

My thought was to get something in writing and that they must pay for material and work since they caused the damage to what was already brand new professionally done work before moving in

@Mike Barry

This is the reason for {quarterly, semi-annual} inspections.  When we find damages such as this, we schedule repair and invoice the tenant once the work is complete;  rather than waiting to the end-of-lease and try to take the costs from the security deposit.

We do not allow tenants to affect repairs or modifications to our properties.  If we are undertaking a major amount of work, we have allowed tenants to be "job site labour" to help keep {their} costs down.

I suppose I didn't give enough detail or explain properly. Allow me to revise this...

This is not the end of their lease actual just the opposite we just resigned. The tenants notified me this on their own of the damage and they are accepting full responsibility. 

They posed the question to me if I would be open to installing laminate in place of carpet as they would prefer it. They are offering to do the work since they know the cost of material/labor on laminate exceeds the cost of carpet. They also feel it would hold up better with their dog. My main concern as has been brought up is quality work. 

My original thought was the same as @Laurie Johnson which was to get this in writing.

I know this could create a risk I wonder if anyone has had a similar situation and if so how it turned out?

Thanks again everyone for your input!

@Mike Barry

While quality of work is a paramount concern, there are other reasons you do not permit tenants to affect repairs and modifications to your property.  Examples include:

1) Liability - is your a tenant a license professional with liability/E&O insurance and workman compensation coverage? What happens if the tenant, or his buddy, is injured while working on your property?

2) Equitable Interest - If you allow tenants to affect repairs and improvements on the property the can establish an equitable interest in the property.  Amount other things, it means you may no longer be able to simply evict them if necessary.

Thanks @Roy N. these are excellent points. These are some major issues that can present themselves as you mentioned. Do you feel having something in writing would protect these issues?

Originally posted by @Mike Barry :

Thanks @Roy N. these are excellent points. These are some major issues that can present themselves as you mentioned. Do you feel having something in writing would protect these issues?

Yes, our lease says the tenant is not to affect any repairs or modifications to the premises.  We simply never make an exception - if something needs repaired, our folks do it.  If the need for the repair arises from a tenant action or neglect {i.e. is beyond reasonable wear and tear), we invoice the tenant for the costs.

Don't try to save a buck and let the tenants do the work.

I agree with others. I would never allow it.  Some reasons already mentioned and then..

1. a tenant now thinks they own it.

2. a tenant will think they can do whatever to it and when they leave "it was my floor" forgetting they damaged your carpet.

3. now your friends!   I won't even go to places to eat once I find my tenant works there out of fear...not that they did anything, but they will "gift" you something they don't own and then also expect the favor back in just doesn't work out.

All great points thanks again. I think I will take all your advice.

It isn't for me to save a buck though in actuality it is me trying to save my tenants a buck by allowing them to do the work vs them paying a professional 

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