How to make your rental home feel like your own

Tired of feeling like a stranger in your rental home? Although living in a house that doesn’t belong to you may leave you with a long list stating what you can and can’t do to the property, there are many ways in which you can personalise the house and make it at least feel like your own.

Jan Myburgh, General Manager of Harcourts Real Estate South Africa, gives some tips on how to feel at home in a rental house.

Although it is very seldom that tenants find their dream home within a rental property, small changes can make a big difference. Unlike many buyers who purchase their home with the intention of altering the existing property, most tenants do not want to embark on costly renovations to a property that ultimately does not belong to them.

“Before deciding to make any permanent alterations to the rental property it is essential to either check the terms within the lease agreement or to discuss proposed plans with the landlord. If the planned renovations will make the house more valuable in the future, the owner may encourage the remodelling. Should the landlord oppose the renovation plans, tenants need to accept the property for what it is and save their renovation plans for when the time comes to purchase their own property,” states Myburgh.

One way to feel at home in your rental home is to give it a fresh coat of paint. After discussing it with your landlord, put your mark on the house by painting the rooms in your favourite shades. Hanging pictures of loved ones and friends from the walls will instantly make the area feel like home.

“Just remember that in many cases, the landlord will want the tenant to leave the house the same way it was found- therefore the walls may need to be restored to their original colour, with any new holes in walls to be filled in and painted over. If the landlord does not give permission to paint the walls, bright décor such as curtains, cushions and rugs can help to brighten up the space,” adds Myburgh.

When living in a rental house, it is the perfect opportunity to invest in some great pieces of furniture, as these will instantly personalise the space and transform the house into an area in which you are comfortable in. Items in the house that can be easily removed, such as light fittings and door handles, can be replaced with ones more tailored to the tenant’s likings and style. “The tenant must however ensure that these items are refitted when the time comes to leave the property,” says Myburgh.

He continues, “If the alterations being made to the rental home are well planned, tasteful and professionally carried out, when it comes time to vacate the property there will be a minimal amount of repair work required and you will not risk losing your deposit”.

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