Should landlords pay for tenant DIY?

by Jennifer Paterson on 02 Apr 2015
It’s common practice for landlords to let their tenants take on DIY projects in a rented property, but seasoned landlords say that quality of work can be a real concern that could end up costing investors more in the end.

“Poor quality work from a tenant could tarnish the landlord-tenant relationship,” said Marcel Greaux, an investor and agent/partner at Foundry Mortgage Capital.

“For example, I would avoid supplying the paint for a tenant to paint a unit. How can you control quality?”

A survey published by tenant insurance provider Endsleigh last week found that 54 per cent of tenants received help from their landlord for a do-it-yourself project.

These types of projects could range from a simple coat of paint or a new bathroom faucet, through to a complete kitchen makeover.

Shannon P. Murree, an investor and sales representative at Re/Max Chay Realty, said that permission, and subsequent help, from a landlord for a DIY project is a great incentive for tenants, but that there’s a fine line when it comes to ensuring the quality of the work.

She added: “I would suggest landlords err on the side of caution and hire a professional to do that.”

Allowing tenants to take on a DIY project themselves proves that they take pride in your rental property and shows a desire for their rental unit to be their home.

“I would much rather have tenants who take initiative with improvements in their home than have tenants who are indifferent or uncaring about their unit,” said Gillian Irving, an investor and founder of InvestInStudentRentals.com.

“The trouble is that landlords and tenants can have wildly differing expectations about the quality of work which can cause problems. As a landlord I have had experiences both with the good and the bad in the tenant DIY world.”

Irving warns investors to proceed with caution when it comes to allowing tenants to undertake DIY work. “If you do decide to allow it, ensure that they are actually qualified to do the work or make sure they choose an approved trades-person,” she added.

“Be sure that expectations around quality are clearly laid out in advance, so that if the job falls short, your tenants know they will be on the hook for any remediation required.”
 

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