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Tenant decoration: how far do you go?

From the Resene decorating blog

Keeping good tenants is the holy grail of being a successful property investor and landlord. Tenants who respect and look after a property, pay their rent on time and keep the lines of communication open make being a good landlord easy and stress-free.

So how do you keep good tenants? By keeping them happy. One way to do that is to allow your tenants to create a sense of home in the rental property; to create a space that reflects their personality and their family experiences. Allowing them some leeway to paint and decorate to their own taste is one way to do this – and it’s relatively easy to reverse if need be.

A dining area with warm-coloured neutral walls

Providing warm-coloured neutral walls, like these in Resene Half Spanish White, gives tenants he flexibility to add their favourite colours like on-trend terracottas and dusky pinks shown here in a Resene Sunbaked chair, peg stool and planter, and other peg stools in Resene Despacito and Resene Shabby Chic. Styling by Kate Alexander; image by Bryce Carleton.

Most standard tenancy agreements will feature a clause stating that tenants cannot do renovations, alternations or additions without written consent. There’s also a common sense financial aspect. You don’t want them making big interior design changes that are too personalised if they’re likely to blow through within a few months, leaving you with bright orange walls to re-paint.

Keep the lines of communication open

The solution is good, open communication and understanding between you and your tenants. If they want to make changes to the interior decoration make sure you are both clear about exactly what you’re happy for them to do, and how much input you want into the final colour choices if it comes down to painting and wallpapering.

You will also need to clarity over who pays for the materials and the labour. Many landlords are happy to pay for paint if a handy tenant wants to repaint the walls themselves. It may be tricky to ascertain the skill level of your tenant but, luckily, painting is a skill easily learnt, and there are plenty of good tips on the Resene website, to make the job easier.

A timeless pale grey-blue bedroom

Pale grey-blues are another timeless colour to use on the walls of your rental property. This is Resene Half Duck Egg Blue.

Make sure both parties are also completely clear on what happens when the tenants do leave. Do you expect them to return it to the previous colours? Make sure everything is in writing as part of the tenancy agreement.

This is true even when it comes to simple things like hanging pictures, or these days, TVs, on the walls. Are you happy with a couple of pieces of art using removable adhesive hooks, or are you fine with a large shelving unit and TV bracket? Again, be clear. And make sure you and your tenants know who is responsible for filling any holes or doing any remedial work at the end of the tenancy.

Choose your colours

One way to meet your tenants in the middle when it comes to personalised decoration is to ensure that the interior of your property is painted in well-maintained modern neutral colours. This allows your tenants to add a layer of personalised decoration over the top in the form of rugs, cushions, furniture, curtains and ornaments that are easily removable.

These days a neutral interior is about more than covering walls in a layer of budget beige. Think about modern neutrals such as the ever-popular Resene Half Tea, which changes in tone depending on the light, and the colours around it, making it extremely versatile and suitable for any type of room. Add ceilings and trim in a crisp white such as Resene Alabaster for a fresh, smart finish.

Lighter, creamy neutrals are also great in rooms that are short on natural light. Shades such as Resene Parchment will make spaces seem lighter, while ensuring they feel warm and inviting. Try it layered with ceilings and trim in Resene Quarter Parchment for a cohesive finish that works very well as a blank canvas for tenants’ belongings.

Wallpaper is another fast way to make over a space and most modern papers are easily strippable so you won’t end up with patchy walls covered in glue remnants if the wallpaper needs to come off at the end of the tenancy. The Resene Wallpaper Collection has a huge range of colours and designs and is regularly updated.

Decorating with shades of grey and off-white

Shades of grey and off-white are versatile colours and can be used in combination to define different areas in a smaller apartment. Here, the wall on the left is Resene Half Grey Chateau and the one of the right is Resene Sea Fog, with a room divider between in Resene Steam Roller. The floorboards are finished in Resene Colorwood Greywash. Styling by Amber Armitage; image by Wendy Fenwick.

Bolder choices

If you’re going to allow your tenants to go bolder and re-paint some walls you could suggest, at least initially, letting them choose just one or two feature walls in key rooms. This is obviously much easier to replace, if need be, than a full technicolour makeover.

Keep in mind that not all re-painting is a bad idea for you as the owner. Done well, a new colour scheme might add value to your property. Make sure you have sign-off of final colour choices and guide your tenants toward classic, timeless colour combinations. Try the dusky blue of Resene Safehaven with a creamy neutral of Resene Spanish White or go for the always classic monochromatic combination of black and white with Resene Porter and Resene Poured Milk white. Soft grey blues like Resene Duck Egg Blue and warm greys such as Resene Truffle are versatile and widely popular.

Fixtures and fittings

Another way to allow tenants to add their own flair is letting them replace curtains and light-fittings. Ensure they know the rules about what you want to stay or be returned to the property when they depart, and consider storing replaced items yourself to avoid disputes over damage.

Let tenants have a say with soft furnishings

Let tenants have a say when it comes to some of the soft furnishings. This is Resene Curtain Collection Chia fabric.

Keeping a clean and tidy outdoor space

A clean and tidy outdoor living area will appeal to tenants. They can add their own touches with painted outdoor furniture, like this dining table in Resene Casper and the benchseat is in Resene Smokescreen. The deck is finished in Resene Woodsman Riverstone stain which keeps it looking smarter for longer rather than letting decking weather. Styling by Amber Armitage.

Upgrade the outdoors

Allowing tenants to add personal touches to the outdoors area or balcony of your rental property is a great way to encourage them to feel at home and to foster pride in the property, especially when the warmer weather hits.

Suggest painted pots filled with leafy plants, useful and fragrant herbs, or bright flowers. You could also allow them to dig over an agreed area for a vege garden.

Much as with the interior, you as landlord can do your part, by making sure outdoor decking and fences are properly stained and well-maintained to provide that blank canvas.

Resene Poured Milk

Resene Despacito

Resene Shabby Chic

Resene Safehaven

Resene Porter

Resene Sunbaked

November 23, 2018

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