Home Rental Improvements That Won’t Break the Lease

As a home renter, your home beautification and renovation ideas seem limited, and that can be really frustrating. Many renters in Singapore are looking into long-term stay in their chosen properties. In result, making a few simple changes and renovations can be a priority, and why it shouldn’t be? You plan on staying in the space for the next three or more years. While it isn’t your property, it doesn’t mean you cannot make it look and feel like home.
Here are seven tips and tricks for home improvements without breaking the lease.

1. Know Your Limitations
Who would not want a new kitchen or a newly renovated bathroom with new tile flooring? Yes, you can afford it, but it’s a large project that will cause major changes in the property. Are you sure your landlord is okay with it?

To make sure, contact the managing agent. Standard tenancy agreements usually prevent any alterations or renovations in the condo units without the approval of the landlord. Begin the process by consulting the condo manager or the landlord for your renovation options and limitations.

Still in the hunt for a place to rent? If you are already eyeing a space that you think you will have to repaint or renovate, ask the managing agent upfront what the property owner’s policies are when it comes to adding personal touches to the condo for rent. That way, you already have an idea of what is allowed o be altered before you sign the contract.

2. Consider Simple Options
The property management or the properties and facilities management firm available in Singapore may not be in favour of you repainting the walls or polishing the floors, and those are the regulations you need to abide. However, don’t lose get too frustrated. You can always do a few very simple and temporary fixes allowed by most facility management companies.

One example, hiding cracks on walls can be as simple as handing an art work or small potted plants. Use adhesive hooks to hang these decorative, so you won’t have to drill into the walls. You think the doors are too basic? Making it look sophisticated can be as simple as replacing the knob or hanging an ornament or a large welcome sign to overshadow the door itself.

3. Maximize Interior Decorations
Just like the previous tip, maximize using temporary decor to disguise or hide something you want to be hidden.

a. Use Removable Wallpapers
Go for peel-and-stick type of wallpaper to make sure there won’t be adhesive residue when you need to take the off the walls. It will surely hide cracks, holes or chipping paint in one go. Plus, it’s temporary, so you don’t have to worry about breaking the lease.

b. Swap Out Light Fixtures
Getting a new light fixture is one of the easiest ways to renovate rented spaces. It’s a minor alteration, yet creates a major impact to the look of the room. Just make sure to safely store the original light fixture throughout your tenancy, and replace it before moving out.

c. Cover Up Ugly Flooring
Hate that ugly linoleum floors? Need to hide cracked tile flooring? Cover it up with a carpet, feathery rug or removable flooring, which comes in different designs to match your interiors.

d. Replace Removable Furniture
If your bathroom cabinet and mirror are not built into the wall, you can replace it with statement pieces that you like or even just a simple one that isn’t contractor-grade looking. Replacing is as simple as unscrewing the old furniture, storing it and then hanging prettier pieces.

4. Add More Countertop Spaces
Condos and rental apartments always seem to have very limited spaces to cook or hold your kitchen appliances. Many hardware shops and department stores here in Singapore sell rolling kitchen islands, which require no installation at all. If you get one, you can simply roll it out the house when you decide to move out.

5. Use Tile Stickers (Temporarily)
If you know your landlord will flip if he sees the tiles are ripped out during scheduled estate maintenance, you better not alter those permanently. Instead of replacing the tiles, use tile stickers for temporary tile upgrade. Tile stickers come in different sizes and designs, and easily stick to existing floor tiles. One they are on, they look like the real thing.

6. Install Few More Shelves
Installing shelves may require a few screws, but your condo manager or landlord will likely allow this and may even ask you to leave it behind when you move out, since they provide more storage spaces for the future tenants to use. If the managing agent asks you to remove it, just be sure to fix tiny holes so the wall looks clean.

7. Remember That It’s Still Your Landlord’s Property
Most tenants think that the renovation they plan to make will benefit the property management, but this is not always the case. Landlords and property owners are very careful when it comes to estate maintenance and upgrades. Oftentimes, basic furniture and neutral palette is chosen so it does not offend buyers and tenants. It is best to ask about the changes and make sure that your landlord is okay with any alterations to get your deposit back in full.

While most property owners do not care of temporary and minor changes, you should get their permission when planning for permanent renovations, such as the painting and any decorating that requires drilling into walls. Ask for a written approval for such alterations to ensure you won’t be charged or penalize for doing the changes.