real estate

Please lease me: 7 tips for renters

Discuss any changes to the dwelling
Discuss any changes to the dwelling

Although it's tempting to think of your apartment as your own home, you don't have the right to make changes without permission. But you're not totally out of luck if you wish to paint the walls, upgrade fixtures, or make other small improvements.

"For cosmetic fixes (like new paint) just ask, the worst they will say is no," says Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats in New York City. "If you are a solid applicant, or a current tenant in good standing, they may likely oblige (because) landlords value good tenants."

Of course, if the landlord says no, then a tenant who decides to make the changes anyway will almost certainly incur a fee. That usually means losing the deposit, and depending on the lease, paying damages in excess of the deposit. Don't make big changes without the landlord's permission.

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