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Renovating your property as a landlord can be tricky, so how can you plan a successful, stress free renovation and keep your tenants on side too?

Renovating your property as a landlord can be tricky, so how can you plan a successful, stress free renovation and keep your tenants on side too? 

First and foremost you need to keep your tenants happy and work within their rights. Take a look at our tips below. 

Give enough notice

If you decide to renovate while you have tenants living in your property, you cannot spring these renovations on your tenants at the last minute. 

It is important to provide written notice so that you have a paper trail of everything you have said to the tenant. You can find the relevant paperwork on your state’s website for rental properties. The more notice you can give, the better chance you’ll have at being on good terms with your tenant.

Temporary accommodation

When a tenant moves out temporarily in order for you to complete renovations, they can stop paying rent when they vacate. However, they are responsible for paying for temporary accommodation as well as their usual expenses (such as food and pet accommodation).

Even though you do not have to find or pay for temporary accommodation for your tenant, it would be wise to try and arrange a suitable replacement for them. This can help secure your relationship with your tenant and they may be more likely to come back to your rental property if you look after them. However, if they were left on their own to find other accommodation, they may find another rental they like and could possibly decide to move out at the end of the lease. 

Renovations done by tenants

Your tenants may have renovated or added to your investment property while living there with or without you knowing. If this has occurred, they must return the property to state it was when they moved in, unless you both agree that the changes can stay. 

Alternatively, the tenant can pay you a ‘reasonable amount’ for you to return the property to its original state. However, if you both agree that the alternations can remain, then the tenant does not have to pay. But it is important to get all decisions in writing to protect both you and the tenant. 

Repairs or renovations?

Both of these terms mean two very different things. Repairs are mostly carried out in order to keep the property in a liveable state, whereas renovations occur to improve the property. 

Unless a tenant has caused the damage themselves, you are responsible for fixing any maintenance issues that come up and it is important to do so in a timely matter. If it is an emergency repair, it must be seen to immediately and non-urgent repairs must be seen to within 14 days of the tenant making the request. 

Renovations often take longer and are more involved than the usual maintenance repairs and therefore have a bigger impact on the tenant. So, before you decide to go ahead, think about whether it is worth going through the renovations while you have a tenant or whether you should wait until the property is vacant down the track. 

Not only will you lose rental income due to the tenants temporarily moving out, but you could risk losing the tenants altogether if they find a more suitable property while they have temporarily moved out. 

Also, before you go ahead with the renovations, check with your state Consumer Affairs to ensure you are adhering to the correct tenant rights as some rules differ around Australia.