Should You Let Your Littleton Tenants Make Home Improvements?

Landlord Essentials

If you’ve been in the property management business for any length of time, odds are you’ve come across this question before. It’s not uncommon for tenants to request to make home improvements or even offer to complete repairs or upgrades in exchange for rent credits. The request can be as simple as painting a single room to more complicated projects such as replacing all of the flooring. So what’s the best way to respond to these requests? Should you let your Littleton tenants make home improvements to your rental property?

The Pros And Cons of Letting Tenants Make Home Improvements

Long story short, it depends on you as the landlord. Maybe your tenant is a professional contractor. Maybe they paint homes for a living. Trading home improvements for one or two months’ rent can sound very appealing when considering how much these types of upgrades can cost. But beware of the promise of “free upgrades” by your tenants. You could be getting more than you bargained for.

In our experience, you’re probably better off saying no to letting your tenants make home improvements. What happens if the tenant doesn’t complete the repair after you’ve granted the credit? Worse still, what happens if they do it wrong? The cost to repair the damage after you permitted them to do the work typically falls on the homeowner’s shoulders, not the tenants’. This means you’re essentially paying for the same work twice: once in lost rent from the granted credit and twice for the pros to redo what should have been done the first time.

If You Do Say Yes…

While the risk of your tenant doing a bad job does exist, they may do a great job. If you are considering granting their request, make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Consider whether or not the request really will improve the home. Will it affect attracting future renters? Will it add value to your property? Ask your tenant for a detailed plan of the work they plan to do, including references if they do work in the field. Set a timeline for what needs to be done when and be sure to get everything down in writing, including the consequences should things not go according to plan.


Every home needs improvements at one time or another. The biggest takeaway is to understand exactly what the requested improvement adds to your home and how it will affect you should things go wrong.

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