Before securing a rental property it’s good to know what you can and can’t do during your rental period. If you’re hoping to make a lot of changes to the property, in truth, you’re possibly going to be disappointed. Don’t forget you’re occupying someone else’s house so knocking out walls and upgrading bathrooms is usually off the cards.

Renting from a private owner will be different than renting from a large agency as they usually manage properties for large investment companies. But with some great communication, negotiation and permission, you may be able to make some alterations.

What can you do:

The foundation of any query around making changes to a property is to always make contact with your property manager or landlord and outline your ideas and plans. It is good to know the outlines of the contract so you know what comes with the property.

E.g: Does the floor belong to the owner or did you take it over from the previous tenant? In all cases make sure you understand what the conditions are so you are not left with unpleasant surprises when you vacate.

In most cases painting, flooring, blinds, lights and landscaping are a tenants responsibility. Installing, removing and the upkeep. A tenant is free to paint any color they like and install any flooring they like but when they vacate all paintwork will need to be brought back in the original (usually white) state and all flooring should be removed that you installed.

If you are looking to rent a property that already has flooring, lighting, blinds etc you need to check with your landlord if these items are part of your contract or not. If they are not, you might be taken on a responsibility to remove the floor when you vacate.

If you are looking to bring pets in the rental property it is wise to check with your landlord as well. Again, renting from a private owner will be different than a large agency as the private owner might be looking to move back in to the home after you vacate and might be allergic to your furry friend.

There are things of course that you just can’t do in a rental property!

Don’t exceed the maximum number of residents. If your lease agreement specifies the maximum number of occupants for the premises, then this number must be adhered to. Temporary and short term guests do you count towards the occupant number, but you can’t allow someone to reside in the premises on a permanent basis if it will exceed that maximum number.

Don’t sublet rooms to third parties. Most rental agreements state that this is prohibited. This is due to the council and the plans they have for a suburb.

Don’t damage the property. This may seem like common sense, but you cannot intentionally cause damage to the rental property or permit someone else to do so. While things like stained grout, and loose door knobs may be considered normal wear and tear, holes in walls and broken windows are not.

Don’t make unauthorized repairs. If something needs to be repaired in your house, you must contact your property manager or landlord to gain permission for the repairs to be made. Often the landlord or property manager will have a preferred tradesperson for the work and they may also require verification that the repairs have been completed by an authorized person.

Don’t disrupt the peace and quiet of the neighborhood. Everyone wants to be able to enjoy the atmosphere in their own home and not be disturbed by noise and behavior of their neighbors. That noise can include loud music, late parties, revving engines or barking dogs.

And last but not least: Don’t do anything illegal in the property.

It’s important to remember that you are living in a house that is owned by someone else, so requesting permission is really important to keep a happy relationship between you and your landlord.

When you receive the keys a landlord is required to provide you with a detailed entry condition report that states the actual state of the property with all marks and flaws noted. All finishing’s and fittings should be mentioned. In this exact state you will need to hand the property back upon vacate, if no further agreements about upgrading have been made.