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Should renters be allowed to renovate? Millennials think so.

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Woman painting her rental unit's walls green

Young renters are leading a trend of DIY renovations, transforming their rental properties into personalized sanctuaries even if it means losing their deposits.

Inspired by social media, they are building shelves and archways, painting walls, laying new floors, and adding unique touches to their spaces, all while declaring: "I'm not getting my deposit back, and I'm totally okay with that.”

Why do renters renovate?

It's a movement fueled by a desire for personalization in a housing market where ownership seems out of reach for many. Priced out of homeownership herself, Franchesca Ramsey, who started the rental-renovation rallying cry, states, “Instead of living in a white-walled prison, I'm just going to paint where I live now and make the best of it.”

That seems to have resonated with renters. One template letter for renters seeking permission from their landlords to renovate has been downloaded over 3,000 times.

While some may question the wisdom of personalizing a property they don’t own, for many young renters, the math speaks for itself. With the median down payment on a house at $51,250 and mortgage rates at 8%, the idea of investing even $20,000 into a rental renovation becomes more attractive.

Should you let tenants make improvements?

But not all landlords and property managers are open to the idea, citing concerns like property damage and liability. DIY renovations can also make it tough to remarket the property. Housing providers reserve the right to prohibit renovations and conduct regular inspections to ensure property integrity.

There is a middle ground, however: allowing tenants to undertake limited projects such as painting accent walls or installing removable elements like peel-and-stick wallpaper and decorative door knobs can help them feel at home and reduce turnover while preserving property value.

Whatever agreement you, your landlords and tenants reach, PayProp keeps your tenants' security deposits in a secure ring-fenced trust account until a decision is made on its allocation.

More tenant behavior headlines

Surveys reveal how much renters lie – PayProp

Rising rental fraud comes at a cost for property managers – Multifamily Dive

Half of American renters pay more than 30% of income on housing – PBS

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