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Old 06-10-2009, 06:50 AM
 
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We are currently renting a three-bedroom apartment. For the past seven years, we've owned houses. Before that, we rented, but I had no sense of decorating style, LOL. Now it's a bit of an adjustment, because we can't just decide on a whim to sponge-paint the bathroom or whatever.

What's okay and not okay when renting? It's okay to hang pictures, right? Each room in our apartment has a shelf that runs along one or two walls, so I've been propping pictures up on those, but I would also like to hang some on the wall.

The carpeting in the living room is beige and shows every speck of dirt... not to mention that I HATE carpeting. It always strikes me as so dirty and germy. I guess replacing the flooring is out, though, huh? LOL

How have you decorated your apartment to make it feel more like home while not altering too much?
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Old 06-10-2009, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Bradenton, Florida
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While I'm there, it's my place--even if I don't own it. I'd do things that I was comfortable with doing that didn't radically change the place. I wouldn't tear out the carpet--unless it was visibly stained before I even got there--or reface the cabinets...but I WOULD paint the walls. They have to be white when I leave? I can do that. But while I'm there it will be to my taste. I'll take care of the outside, the inside, any repairs or adjustments I have to make. Anything I do will have to go back to the way it was, but I'll do it.

To be honest, there have been adjustments I've made where the landlord said that it looked even better after they were done. I was living in a trailer park for a while, and they absolutely refused to do anything about the black mold on the walls when we moved in. So we took care of it ourselves, and showed the landlord what a difference it made! We tore out the stained carpets, and put peel and stick tile down. We made IMPROVEMENTS to the property...and started to wonder how many times he was going to move us--until ALL his trailers were improved? I like to leave a place looking better when I leave than it looked when I got there.
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Old 06-10-2009, 07:06 AM
 
Location: Providence, RI
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Read your lease! It will specify what you are allowed to do.

Most landlords will allow you to paint if you get their permission and color approval. The rule of thumb is: if you're really improving the place, most landlords will not object- if you're destroying it or making it harder for them to re-rent (like painting the place bright purple) they will object and your security deposit will be at risk!

If you offered, at your expense, to replace the carpet with wood, they would probably approve that as well. Otherwise, why not throw a smaller bound rug over the carpet to hide it? Any decorating that is easily removed and leaves no trace is fine.

Holes in the wall made by pictures should be spackled and painted over after you move out and clean the apt.
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Old 06-10-2009, 09:03 AM
 
Location: Indianapolis, IN
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I very much agree with Hollytree, it really depends on the landlord. Some wouldn't care, some will charge you tons of money if you make any changes at all.

If they allow you to make a big change, though, I would get that they are allowing you to do that in writing. I had a problem is college where I rented someplace with really nasty walls. They told me it was okay to paint when I complained, but then tried to charge me $1100 to repaint the place after I moved out. They also tried to charge me for pre-existing damage done to the woodwork by a previous painter (they conveniently lost my walkthrough). Not that all landlords are this terrible (and actually they couldn't charge me for the things they tried per state law, so I didn't have to pay anyway), but it is conceivable that if they say it is okay for you to do something, they are thinking if they don't like what you do they will just charge you for it later.

Usually hanging pictures is okay if it is only with small nails. Things like brackets can really tear up a wall and repair jobs never look that great. That is as far as I would assume you could go, but read you lease and talk to your landlord. This will also help you determine how you should "repair" your changes when you move out. For instance, many landlords who regularly paint apartments after each tenant actually don't want you to spackle and paint the holes in the wall after you leave. (I have had several leases where this was actually stated in the lease) If they are going to be doing it anyway, they probably assume their professional will do a better job.
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Old 06-10-2009, 09:08 AM
 
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We don't actually have a lease... the landlord is a little old lady who had no real application (other than "name, birthday, employer." I will talk to her about the carpets, maybe... after I look in to how much it might be to put down some peel and stick linoleum or even laminate flooring. Something cheap, but easier to live with than carpeting. Thanks!
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Old 06-10-2009, 09:24 AM
 
2,085 posts, read 2,967,537 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beanandpumpkin View Post
What's okay and not okay when renting? It's okay to hang pictures, right?
How have you decorated your apartment to make it feel more like home while not altering too much?
I live in an apartment complex. I've painted -- living room, dining room, hall, kitchen. (My apartment has an open concept floor plan.) Also painted my bathroom. No "faux" finishes. Just paint.

In the bathroom, I installed a hand-towel holder on the wall near the sink. (Bought a fixture that "matched" the other towel holder and TP holder that were already installed.) I've bought and installed a ceiling fan.

I hung draperies (with rod) in my bedroom, and in the living room, I installed a valance that runs the length of the picture window. The units came equipped with mini-blinds, and we're not allowed to remove those.

I have a galley kitchen, and I installed a long mirror -- one of those cheap "hang on the door" floor-length mirrors -- on the door that leads into the laundry room from the kitchen.

I've planted flowers in the flowerbed out front. (I also regularly wash my windows from the outside, wash the outside of my front door to get off the dust and pollen, and wash the vinyl siding on either side of my door. Plus I clean my emergency light a couple times a year...wash out the dead insects that manage to get up in there, you know?) And if the lawn maintenance people don't keep up with it, I'll trim my own bushes...the ones in front of my unit, I mean.

I would LOVE to replace my carpet with a new carpet. The units were about 2-3 years old when I moved in, and I've lived there now for 4 years. So...the carpets are now 6-7 years old. They don't seem "dirty" so much as just matted down in the high-traffic areas. You know how apartment carpets aren't great quality anyway. The manager says that she'll maybe consider it around December of this year. (My current lease doesn't expire until October 2010, and I'll probably stay for another couple years after that.)

When I painted, I knew very well that I would have to repaint when I finally moved out. I'm fine with that. I did that in my last space, too. My complex is okay with painting, but they say we cannot do any kind of construction that would alter the architecture of the unit or change the fixtures that are "permanently" installed. (Can't replace the vinyl cabinets with wood cabinets, for instance.). Nor can we, for instance, replace the carpets with hardwood. (Unless we were willing to replace them back to carpet, I guess, when we moved out.) I believe there's also a prohibition against installing wallpaper. Again, I think that wallpaper might be okay as long as you were willing to remove it when your lease was up, and you can't damage the walls in the process.

Since it's a complex, we just have to maintain the uniformity of the space.
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Old 06-10-2009, 02:37 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
5,569 posts, read 10,898,943 times
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If you don't have a lease, talk to your landlord and get any authorizations in writing.

We don't allow tenants to paint without paying additional deposit first, unless they are a professional painter. Too many tenants do a terrible job and we end up having to fix it. If they do a decent job, we refund the additional deposit. Wallpapering has never been requested, but I think it would be a no (or again a yes with additional deposit), because it is too much work to get back to painted. Would require removal, sanding all over, retexturing and then painting.

We do allow people to hang all the photos they want with regular nails, and ask that they do NOT fill them in upon leaving. Tenants always make a mess of a really easy fix. Holes should be filled with spackle on the tip of a finger and a rag to wipe any extra off, NOT a metal spackler that makes a big shiny spot on the wall. We do NOT allow heavy curtainrods that put holes in woodwork. That is an expensive and time consuming fix.

If a tenant wanted to have new flooring installed at their expense, we would consider it, depending on what they were wanting to put in. As long as it wouldn't be an extra expense for us to have to replace it down the road, we would most likely allow it. If they were wanting to tear out expensive wood flooring to put down carpet, that would probably be a no.

We do allow people to plant whatever flowers they want in whatever planting areas they want. That is easy enough to change.

We'd like to let tenants be like TKramer and make the space their own, trusting they will return it to the condition they received it in, but the truth is, most people either can't, or just don't. 99% of the time, changes or "improvements" = cost to fix. Thus, to protect our investment, we have to set rules.
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Old 06-10-2009, 10:52 PM
 
Location: somewhere
3,667 posts, read 5,310,237 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lacerta View Post
If you don't have a lease, talk to your landlord and get any authorizations in writing.

We don't allow tenants to paint without paying additional deposit first, unless they are a professional painter. Too many tenants do a terrible job and we end up having to fix it. If they do a decent job, we refund the additional deposit. Wallpapering has never been requested, but I think it would be a no (or again a yes with additional deposit), because it is too much work to get back to painted. Would require removal, sanding all over, retexturing and then painting.

We do allow people to hang all the photos they want with regular nails, and ask that they do NOT fill them in upon leaving. Tenants always make a mess of a really easy fix. Holes should be filled with spackle on the tip of a finger and a rag to wipe any extra off, NOT a metal spackler that makes a big shiny spot on the wall. We do NOT allow heavy curtainrods that put holes in woodwork. That is an expensive and time consuming fix.

If a tenant wanted to have new flooring installed at their expense, we would consider it, depending on what they were wanting to put in. As long as it wouldn't be an extra expense for us to have to replace it down the road, we would most likely allow it. If they were wanting to tear out expensive wood flooring to put down carpet, that would probably be a no.

We do allow people to plant whatever flowers they want in whatever planting areas they want. That is easy enough to change.

We'd like to let tenants be like TKramer and make the space their own, trusting they will return it to the condition they received it in, but the truth is, most people either can't, or just don't. 99% of the time, changes or "improvements" = cost to fix. Thus, to protect our investment, we have to set rules.

I think I want to move where you have rental properties, you sound like a good landlord.
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Old 06-10-2009, 11:15 PM
 
Location: Savage, MN
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I have managed 800 units in the past. If your landlord does not allow you to hang pictures, you have other problems! Just try not to put up 4 super heavy duty wall anchors.

The biggest thing to me is rentals are typically neutral in color and not at standards of what you may keep your house. Adding rugs and some window treatments can add some of your flair to your temporary home.
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Old 06-13-2009, 10:57 PM
 
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Hey Bean!
I'm so with you on this... I'm "artsy" and love to paint walls, but haven't actually done that for years because we've been renting. With our current lease, we actually can paint the walls but then we have to pay to have them repainted when we move out. I think it's something like $25 per room or something... I'd rather not have to do that, though (I'm cheap!), so we're living with white!

Here's a trick I've learned - painter's tape! In the kids room, almost everything is up on their walls with painter's tape. Posters, certificates, awards, hanging mobiles, etc. It comes off the wall without damaging the paint. It is most commonly found in a blue color, but if you go to Micheal's or a craft store you can often find it in many other colors as well. I found white, which works out great.

In our living room and dining room, we have paintings and pictures up with those 3M picture hanging strips. Picture Hangers

They work really great. I also use the 3M hooks in the kitchen for hanging things, and in the hallway for hanging keys by the door... and also in the kids rooms, too. My son collects Bionicles, so we used two 3M hooks and tied a string across the room and his Bionicles hang from the string. We do this to hang their drawings and paintings with clothespins, too.

For covering floors... I've become really creative. One idea I really like that I've done has also saved us a bunch of money. I wanted a large area type rug to cover the carpet in our living room area. Not only did I want to protect the carpet from spills and things, but I didn't like the color of the carpet. But large area rugs are $$$ and also hard to keep clean. Also, one stain and the whole thing is toast. So, I went to IKEA and bought about 50 smaller rugs that were on sale for .59 cents each. I arranged the rugs so that they look like a large area rug. It's so great! It fits my artsy sort of style, and is also very easy to keep clean. The rugs are cotton and I'm able to toss them into the washer and hang them out to dry in the sun.

Another thing I like to do is to have houseplants. I used to totally kill my poor houseplants, but I learned that I was just watering them too much. Now I leave them practically dry all the time (I feel like I'm killing them) and I mist them with water about once a week and they are wonderful. Most of my houseplants I've set inside pretty baskets, which adds a nice earthy touch to our place. I also decorate with willow branches and dried lavender and flower wreaths (hung with 3M hooks!) and boughs of eucalyptus over doorways... This all adds color to the place without painting the walls or putting holes in the wall. And it smells good.

I like hanging mirrors especially in smaller, darker, areas of the apartment because they seem to catch and spread light around and brighten up those places. I do hang those the traditional way with screws and such. I prefer using screws rather than nails to hang heavier things... somehow they seem sturdier.

I've also been looking into these wall words type things lately. I haven't bought any yet (because I'm cheap...remember...) but it looks like you can stick them to the walls and then they come off without damaging the walls. You can do quotes or poems or inspirational words... things like that. That looks really fun. I found some that weren't too $$ at World Market recently. Almost bought them... but then I felt it was a silly purchase. Maybe if they go on sale...

I also do hang curtains. Read your lease because some places don't allow you to. Our current place does, thank goodness. I hang dark curtains in summer to help keep things cooler, and white curtains in winter to help let as much light in as possible. I just don't like miniblinds at all. I hate cleaning them and I don't like them aesthetically, either. We also have cats and they wreck havoc upon them as well. That's one of the first things we do when we move into a place - remove the miniblinds and up go our curtains! We bought some sweet wood curtain rods at IKEA for super cheap that we really love.
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