Rental Woes

Hi Friends.
Today I have a question for you. (Specifically you Sarah! What do you think?)

When you are a renter and you would like to make updates to your home to make it more enjoyable, and you know that you’re ideas are in good taste and will more likely improve the quality of the home – is it better to ask for permission – or forgiveness!? I’m thinking about my new and tiny kitchen.

This is what I’m working with. (thanks iPhone cam)

Sarah added the image below to her Tiny post, about small kitchens. It gave me a bit of vision for the kitchen in my LA rental. Obviously, I cannot replace tile or reconfigure the appliances (as much as Kate would love to be able to). But, I believe I can replace hardware and paint the ceiling. Also, there is a lot of wall space over the sink that needs to be treated with some special attention. Should I be thinking metallic?? What kind of light fixture needs to hang over my sink? I can get those real tall cabinet pulls from Ikea for a price that I like, and I know a boy that might be down for painting the cabs a nice GLOSSY clean white….

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  • I would ask permission, and then the landlord might even give you a small credit towards rent.

  • whenever there is a security deposit attached to something, asking permission is advisable. If you’re willing to lose your security to make the changes, then ask for forgiveness…

  • I stayed in one apartment where the landlord actually encouraged me to paint (if I wanted)…I only lived there for a year and I knew the whole time it would be short term so I didn’t put the effort in, but if you do discuss it with your landlord, they may not only give you their blessing but reimburse you for some of your improvements! I’d say it’s worth a shot asking for permission, especially like Niki said if you want your security deposit back.

  • I am a property manager. The owner of the building I manage doesn’t care much what tenants do, as long as they return the unit to move-in condition & paint color when they move-out.

  • Paint now. Beg forgiveness later. I can remember a certain situation in which I was in the middle of painting my kitchen cabinets in my first tiny one bedroom, and my landlady showed up and I panicked and wouldn’t let her in. I’m pretty sure she could smell the paint coming from like 4 feet away…but she never said a word and the next tenant took the apartment because of what I did to help that awful kitchen!! (and my drawer pulls were dirt cheap from home depot and still nice!)

  • Don’t do anything you can’t undo. That being said, there’s a LOT that you can undo! In my past as a renter, I’ve painted, replaced hardware and lighting, covered cabinet doors with starched fabric (rather than paint; the fabric can be removed easily), laid down hardwood floors over linoleum…All of those things can be reversed and the unit can be restored to its original state. And I know it might not be advisable, but I’ve never asked for permission because I’ve always known I could undo things. If you do decide to leave everything as is when you leave, just be prepared for potential charges from the landlord. :)

  • Ask first! Promise to paint it back flat white before moving out and allow them to approve the repaint. The hardware they would appreciate, a metallic tile backsplash is fairly progressive and subjective. Thoughtful light fixtures and some open shelving should be a hit too. Also refer your landlord to the blog! A tenant recently asked me if she could paint white wainscotting off-white and beige walls taupe.

  • Permission First (and be specific)! I once asked my landlord if I could paint my rental bedroom, he agreed. So I painted the entire room including the wooden cabinets that were PLYWOOD. He was really upset I painted his “good wooden” cabinets.

  • Laura-I actually didn’t tell her no because I’m not as attached to that property as I am to others and she showed me the paint samples. She also didn’t care much for the mossy green bedroom which she painted beige. The request was a bit ridiculous but I let it pass.

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