How to Convince Your Landlord to Renovate
Landlords provide a place for people to live, which puts them in an awkward situation when those tenants want or need upgrades. You might feel uncomfortable approaching your property manager with your concerns, but you’re well within your rights to start the conversation.
This guide explains how to convince your landlord to renovate by forming a strong argument.
Some landlords get a terrible reputation for being cheap, but they’re not all like that. If you present a researched request, they could listen and understand your point of view. Use these tips to take the stress out of discussing renovations.
1. Detail Community Struggles
Many property managers own multiple apartment communities or rental homes, so your issue could affect others as well. Your landlord will likely become more concerned about problems that might cause numerous renters to move out, like constant in-unit pests.
Point out how fumigating each unit would help their entire tenant roster so it’s clear that what you’re asking for would fix a necessary problem and not only satisfy a whim.
2. Mention Your Future
Landlords make a more significant profit off of long-term renters because they pay more each month than new tenants. You could mention that you’ll move out if the renovations don’t improve your unit or rental home. They’ll lose the revenue from your rent and possibly lose more if other renters move because of the same issue.
This strategy won’t hold the same weight if you’re asking for a leisure renovation, like adding a pool. It’s mainly useful for necessary renovations like replacing the windows to prevent continuous condensation and mold growth.
3. Arrive With Financial Facts
Every time your landlord spends money, they want a good return on investment (ROI). They won’t redo the landscaping or update their website if there isn’t proof that they’ll make their investment back and more. You may live on their property, but it’s still a business for them.
Research your renovation to find out what it will cost and if it has a high estimated ROI. Read about projected estimates based on studies from previous renovations and collect the proof. Meeting with prepared financial facts regarding profitability makes a more convincing case.
You could also find out which projects make the most significant ROI in your city. Local data is more applicable and convincing, especially if it proves that the project will give your landlord an edge over their competitors.
Putting in a pool won’t pay off as well in a snowy, cold climate as it would in a southern city. Location could be the most important detail missing in your renovation argument.
4. Volunteer Your Time
You can also reduce the renovation’s cost by volunteering your time, especially if the work only occurs inside your unit.
The property maintenance team could drop off all the supplies you need for projects like painting the walls or installing a new faucet. This decision depends on your skill set and if you can fit the work into your schedule.
If you choose this route, your landlord may draft legal documents that prevent them from becoming liable for any project injuries. Ask a lawyer to review the documents so you aren’t stuck with any major medical bills and the financial responsibility all on your shoulders.
5. Get Them a Discount
Contractors might negotiate rates with clients, but they’ll give you more of a discount if you’re already friends. Think about anyone you know who might have the skills to complete the renovation.
They could offer a significant discount on trades like plumbing or electric work. Your landlord could approve the project if they know they’ll save money.
6. Research Local Laws
You may not even have to reach out to friends if you look into your local laws. You could have legal protection as a renter that you’re not aware of.
Some might affect what landlords are responsible for fixing, while others could give you the right to easily enforce specific parts of your lease in court.
Many leases include sections called the “implied warranty of habitability,” which holds your landlord accountable for specific repairs and makes them legally responsible without their tenants pushing for the renovations.
If your lease includes this section, but you feel that your landlord ignores you, get their attention with proven tricks like using official letters or contacting an attorney. Reminding them of their legal duties might convince your landlord to renovate without months of arguing or a court date.
7. Screenshot Negative Reviews
Positive online reviews are the lifeblood of any business. Property managers also need positive word of mouth to attract and retain tenants. Negative reviews stand out on numerous websites and turn people away before they ever schedule a tour.
Comb through current reviews if you live in a rental community. Screenshot any that have to do with your desired renovations. Other neighbors might also complain about the trash compactor breaking down frequently or the many potholes in the parking lot.
Utilizing reviews is another way to show that your landlord’s renovation investment will pay off in improved tenant satisfaction and even generate better reviews.
8. Start a Negative Press Campaign
You might feel like you’re at your wit’s end if you’ve already petitioned your landlord for renovations and they’ve declined or ignored you. Any upgrades that would improve your health, like getting mold out of your building, concern your wellness. You could start a negative press campaign to put your landlord in the spotlight.
Reach out to local news companies and suggest they cover your story as a public health issue. A negative story could get the town involved and create enough public pressure to make your landlord cave.
They won’t want a bad reputation that keeps them from expanding to new rental properties and earning more revenue off new tenants.
9. Get Multiple Bids
Renovations often require reaching out to businesses and contractors to get bids or estimates. Your property manager might avoid an upgrade because they don’t have the time or energy to look into multiple offers. Make the process easier for them by getting multiple bids and presenting them when you request the renovation.
Estimates could help you swing a larger renovation, like roof repair. Contact well-reviewed contractors and get at least three bids so your landlord can compare a few offers. You’ll also feel out the best deal with additional research. Pitch to contractors you like to get them to reduce their rate or throw in extra freebies.
The work will pay off when your bid summary impresses your landlord and convinces them to get in on whatever great deal you snag for them.
Negotiate what you can, and they might work with contractors to get an even better bid after stepping in.
10. Suggest Legal Action
No one wants to pay a lawyer’s hourly rate or spend time in court. Mentioning your interest in taking your request to court could be all you need to convince your landlord to renovate. Write about how they aren’t complying with your renter’s rights or go against your lease agreement by ignoring you.
It’s crucial to suggest legal action in writing. If you do schedule a court date, you’ll need evidence that you warned them of your intentions and know your rights. Proof of their neglect helps your case, so save a copy of every letter, email and interaction before taking everything before a judge.
11. Compare the Project Size
No one enjoys getting an expensive bill, especially when it’s for a cosmetic renovation. You may live in a rental house and want your kitchen redone.
However, that type of renovation is not necessary for your health or for replacing any broken appliances. It’s just something that would make you happier.
Your landlord will likely reject this idea because it’s unnecessary, so remind them of the project’s size. You’re not asking them to install a community pool or replace the home’s siding for better curb appeal. When your renovation becomes a smaller project, it’s easier to consider.
Renters can also connect their desired renovations back to their ROI. Frame the project as an investment into the property’s future. You likely won’t live there forever. Investing in the property and making it more visually appealing will draw in more tenants who will pay more for a house that looks nice.
Landlords can increase the monthly rent and increase their revenue because they invested in the renovation earlier.
12. Commit to a Longer Lease
Switching tenants requires tons of paperwork, expensive background checks and additional fees. New renters may also pay a more affordable rent, which sets your landlord’s revenue back. If they pay for your requested renovation, you could commit to a longer lease.
Longer leases lock in your rates so the property manager can count on continued profits that currently fit their budget.
If you sign the lease first, they might feel more comfortable with an expensive commitment like replacing your HVAC system. You get an improved home environment, and they don’t have to worry about losing revenue within your lease’s agreed time frame.
13. Pay Part of the Cost
When you can’t find a good deal, don’t know any contractors and don’t want to sign a longer lease, you can consider paying part of the renovation cost.
Research how much it would cost to replace the drywall, install new pipes or whatever your rental unit needs. Compare it with your budget and figure out how much you can contribute before pitching your idea.
Pay half of the total cost to your landlord upfront so they handle all the bills. You might pay the contractor directly for specific fees or services and leave the final bill to your property manager.
This idea works best for renters who have always paid their rent on time and have a good credit score. If your landlord already knows they can trust you to pay your part of the bill, they’ll likely trust the idea and agree to the renovation.
14. Review Comparable Properties
Even if you have a great relationship with your landlord, they’re still in the rental business to make money. They have to remain competitive with nearby properties, so hone in on that essential aspect of their job.
Show your landlord that their property will become more competitive and it’s where surrounding landlords are already going. They have to remain competitive to get any future business.
Save online photos of nearby properties that have the same amenities, appliances or renovations that you’re requesting.
Show them how they’ll lose tenants to the more popular living arrangements and point out if they’re more affordable than the rent you currently pay. Paying for renovations will keep your property up to date and improve your landlord’s business long-term.
15. Find Product Reviews
Some renovations might focus solely on replacing outdated appliances or other products. If they still work, your landlord could wave things off because it’s not a pressing concern. That’s when product reviews and news stories can help
You might want to replace a metal radiator with a smart thermostat or an HVAC unit. Recent product reviews or a news article may prove that the radiator is unsafe. Companies may have recalled some in years past because they caused electrical fires.
If the same thing happens in your unit, it will threaten the entire property and the landlord’s reputation. Plus, they could get tangled up in insurance that won’t pay for potential damages and their tenants would get hurt and sue.
It’s in everyone’s best interest to replace older models and products. Any landlord should want to make your unit safer by agreeing to a renovation if they realize you or other tenants are at risk.
How to Convince Your Landlord to Renovate: Plan Your Argument
Now that you know how to convince your landlord to renovate, use these tips to plan your argument. Gather proof of your concerns and research surrounding competitors.
There are plenty of ways to persuade any property manager to improve your living conditions. You just have to do your research and present a well-argued case to make your point clear.