questionshas anyone ever had to make their own repairs on…

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I'm a landlord and I specifically have a clause in the lease that prohibits the tenants from making any improvements unless they get my permission in writing.

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@cengland0: Nearly all leases include this. Even if you install a ceiling fan, many landlords will charge you to remove it if you leave it.

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In my college days, I also lived in cheaper rentals but never fixed anything unless I got a break in the rent. Don't make it too nice or he might raise the rent on you.

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@firebirdude: My tenants have already asked to make several improvement and I approved them because it only adds additional value to my house.

I already have ceiling fans all throughout the house -- nice ones too. However, if I didn't and they wanted to replace a standard light fixture with a ceiling fan, I would allow that. Why decline it if it adds value for me too?

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@cengland0: Oh, I'm not planning on doing anything without permission. I've just made note of some things that NEED attention (the kitchen floor is tattered to the point of being a trip hazard) and if the landlord isn't willing to pay for slightly higher end flooring, I'm willing to help out with that. Either doing the work myself or supplying higher quality tiles than the icky linoleum he currently has and letting him get them installed.

Never intended to do anything behind his back, I just like nice things and haven't been able to find any other house for rent that's in much better condition than this one for anywhere near the price. I could wait it out and find a rental that doesn't need repairs, but I figured I'd pay more in rent for that than I would in a trip to the flooring store for this one.

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@purplefeather: get permission in writing (keep a copy in your records for later issues) with specifics. meaning if you want to replace the linoleum with tile specify that you have permission to use cobalt blue ceramic tile with colored grout in exchange for reduced rent for the cost of the supplies, plus $2/hour labor. you also could volunteer the labor to get a say in color choices. expect to do some negotiations on labor, product approved for use. also don't think you can get all the money on rent all at once: the landlord probably needs the source of income and can't afford to take it all immediately-divided it over a few months is common.

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I'd be concerned about renting from a landlord that is so uncaring that they would put a house on the rental market when it is in such awful shape.

I'm a landlord (not a situation I wanted) and I made sure my place was immaculate before going on the market. If the floor is as bad as you say, what is the rest of the house like? And how is he going to respond when you have a plumbing issue on a Saturday? Or the A/C goes out in August (or heat in January) and it is going to cost $2,000 to fix?

Unless there are no other options at all, I would not rent from this clown.

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@wilfbrim: Good points. I'm not sold on this one yet, I've got my eyes open for better places, but like I said, not a lot of options in this town. I'm trying to stay in the same school district for my daughter until we move out of state next summer.

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My last two landlords have allowed me to make improvements with approval, and actually discounted my rent for doing so.

Anything that makes the house look/function better or improve value, should be more than ok with a landlord.

The risk you run is going the cheap route because it's not your house. I know you want to spruce up the place, and don't want to spend a lot, but be sure you don't skimp on the materials and attention to detail. If you do it, do it right.

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You can obligate the landlord to make repairs as a condition before you move in. Especially if it's anywhere close to making the home "unlivable."

With respect to doing repairs yourself, it depends on the lease. If the lease is silent (doesnt mention anything), you should get the landlord's permission. Alternatively, you can insert that into the lease, and give yourself the right to make repairs without needing permission.

Definitely try to get the landlord to do it as a condition for you moving in.

You do have a number of options really. But the first thing to do is talk it out with the person who put the house on the market. If it's in that bad of condition, there's probably not too many people interested. You should be able to get something done.

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I finished the walls in the garage of the last rental I lived in. They were juts sheetrock with taped joints, I actually sprayed orangepeel texture and primed / painted the walls, and put down rustoleum epoxy garage floor coating. I like having a neat & clean garage. Asked permission first, but didn't bother asking for discount on the rent since it wasn't needed, I just liked it.

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I feel like if you're going to put your own money, time, and effort into updating/upgrading a rental you should inquire about a land contract. As some others have said if there are hazards present then those need to be addressed before you sign the lease. But if you just want to paint, re-do the floor, etc. and if the landlord's not willing to cut you a deal on the lease, maybe look to purchase the home instead?

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@magiclela: Purchasing isn't an option at the moment. I'm going to relocate with my job in a year, so I'd only be putting it back on the market in a few months. Funny thing is, there are tons of houses to purchase in this town, just not many to rent, which is why I'm stuck in the position of having to settle for a less than awesome place.

I've talked to the landlord a bit and he said that he is making repairs to the house before anyone moves in. Some rewiring, new insulation, and replacing a few windows and both the front and back doors. He also said that he did plan to replace the kitchen floor, but hadn't decided on what he'd be using. From the sound of it it'll be a couple weeks before I'd be able to move in anyway, and perhaps I'll find something else in that time.

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You can work it out with the landloard most likely. My last landlord was awesome. When we went through the house the first time, I made note of what repairs were needed and what I would like changed. We had a meeting to determine what we were going to do. The inside paint, while not a color I liked was okay, I offered to pay and paint while he offered to allow us choice of color. The previous lessors had dogs that had ruined the yard, he offered to pay for landscapers, but I drew up plans I wanted and he okayed and paid for all including my labor. We had a hurricane that blew the fence and some siding down. We replaced the fence (he paid for materials) and he paid to have all the siding replaced and painted a color we all agreed on. When our lease was up the first year, he gave us a 10% discount on our rent for helping him update his house. We lived there for 3 years until we bought our house. We still do occasional work on both of his rentals, though he pays for mat'l and labor now.

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To mostly reiterate what everyone else has said, if you do repairs make sure you get it in writing specifically what you're improving and have them sign it so you have proof of their approval so they won't try to charge you when you move out. Also, make sure they won't raise the rent while you're there due to increased property value. Not knowing your landlord, he/she might be a jerk, and you don't want to get screwed over. Protect yourself first and get EVERYTHING in writing.

That being said, it sounds like it would be an awesome deal to do small upgrades and it would keep you busy. I enjoy little house remodel projects, mainly so we can say "hey, look what we did!"

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@cengland0: When a tenant makes such improvements do you reflect it in the rent payments?

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@jsimsace: No, I do not adjust the rent payment -- ever. This is due to tax issues. So, if they spend money of their own to fix something that is broken, they still pay the full rent. They can then give me the receipts for whatever repair or enhancement they made and I will pay them back in a separate transaction.

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@cengland0: OK, I guess I worded it wrongly...I guesss I just wanted to know if you stiffed them or compensated them. I can see your reasoning with no problem.

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We had carpeting in the bathroom and the walls were cracked and uneven. My roommate ripped out the carpet and laid down linoleum tiles. I sanded the crap outta the wall and venetian plastered it. We also painted the tub and sink with epoxy paint.

We didn't charge the landlord... it's a rent controlled building and the landlord doesn't renovate the units. He just keeps it functional and raises the rent $10-$15 a year.

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Just my luck. My tenants called me last night to notify me that the air conditioner has stopped working. That's going to be an expensive repair. It's probably one of the worst things to repair due to the cost involved. Suppose the only other more expensive repair would be a leaky roof, or the refrigerator, or the water heater. Okay, there could be a lot of expensive things that could go wrong.

I actually hate being a landlord and was thrown into this due to the poor housing market and needing to recoup some losses but I'm still taking a huge loss every month. This sucks. Anyone want to buy a house? I'll sell it for 100,000 above market value if you're interested (smile).

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Purplefeather, we're in a similar situation (our timeframe means buying doesn't make sense). It's actually been pretty nice living in a crappy rental, since we don't have to worry about ruining the (already-completely-shot) carpet, or putting tacks in the (filled-with-holes) walls. Fortunately we have a very sweet landlord who lets us do what we want. We live with what we can, and if things get too bad we make a plan to fix up some element of the place. We do always check with her first, although I haven't been completely diligent about documenting everything.