Your rental house does not have to be dull. It can reflect your personality and make you happy despite being a rental. You do not have to contend with plain beige walls and common tiles. You can do a few things to change things up. This is especially important if you plan on renting the house for a long time. You will need to make the house a home. You will need to make it comfortable and habitable according to your personal; standards. However, this being a rental you cannot just up and do whatever you want to the extent you want. You have to be very intentional about doing the most within the boundaries provided by the property owner. Below is guidance on how to go about making additions to a rental.

1. Research

As usual, before you do anything you must do your research. Make a list of how much you want done to the house. Which areas would you like to change? Also think about what you can change. You may to get the revamp of your dreams especially if you are too radical about it. Do you want to change the house colors? Do you want to change the cabinet handles or showerhead?

You must find out how much it will cost to make these additions. Before you make any more progress on the project, you should find out how much it will cost in detail down to the labor. You should find out how much disruption the project will cause to you and the building. Also, how long will it take to complete everything? This way when you inform the landlord or create a budget, you will know your stuff. The research will also help you decide what exactly to do or if to do it at all.

2. Prepare to Foot the Bill

You know how much it is now but then who is going to pay for it? Surely you do not expect the landlord to foot the bill for your comfort? There is a chance that he/she may but you should be prepared that they will let you go ahead but expect you to pay for everything. You may see it as an improvement on their property but they will see it as a disruption and extra expense. With the information accumulated, you should create a budget. You should also consult on the best contractors to handle the project. Some landlords will help in this regard but you should be prepared either way. You should also develop a timeline for the project.

3. Prepare to Undo

The house is a rental. At some point, you will move. As you prepare to make all these changes to the house then you should keep in mind that you may have to change things back to their original settings. If the landlord allows you to make changes but are not wild about them then they will demand that everything goes back to the original look. This will also be the case if the changes/additions you make are too radical. This restoration may cost money so make plans for that too.

4. Nothing Permanent

Whatever plans you make, try to stay away from the permanent stuff. Anything permanent like say taking down a wall to make the house open plan is very far outside of your mandate. However, if you talk to the landlord about it and they seem open to it then you may consider it. If the landlord allows this then you should at least share the cost as it is an improvement to their property. Remember though that this is not your house. You will move eventually and you will not take the changes with you. You could get evicted anytime too, so think about that. You should not do something that would be expensive or impossible to reverse.

5. Small Things Count

In some cases, you do not have to make big radical changes to make the house feel like home. Some nice curtains and wallpaper could be all you need to do to make the house a home. This option might also prove more affordable than those big radical changes. Consider taking smaller steps towards achieving your dream. There are many materials online that could help you with such a move. Nairobi is also great at offering affordable options for home décor. With a little research and dive on social media, you can find these options.

6. Consult

You have the information. You are financially prepared. You should then consult with your landlord or caretaker. Perhaps it may be more prudent to talk to the caretaker first. Find out if the landlord would be open to such changes. Get the scoop on how open minded the landlord is and maybe how liberal you can be. If it is positive news, then you can proceed and talk to the landlord. Let them know exactly what you want to have done, why and how much it should cost as well as how long it will take. If the landlord sees it as an improvement on the property then they may agree to foot the bill.

7. No

You should be prepared for a no if the landlord sees this as opening a can of worms. Other tenants might decide to follow suit and suggest their own additions. The landlord might see this as a chore they would rather avoid. In this case, have a side list of very small things that count. They would be inconsequential to the landlord but would make a change to your house. Curtains, carpets and wallpaper will do wonders for a plain room.

To increase the chances of a yes, suggest changes that potential tenants in the future would also find useful. Create value with your suggestions. An example would be creating an extra bedroom on the balcony.

While décor and comfort are great, what really makes a house a home is the love and warmth therein. Everything else is merely material.