You can't realistically expect someone to move into a new space and have it perfectly suit them from day one. Every person has different needs and styles that need to be accommodated when they move. Sometimes these are small changes, like hanging a picture or two, or maybe adding a bookcase. Other times, however, there are major alterations that need to be made. These can include adding a stair lift or changing out a bathroom tub or toilet to make it more accessible to someone with additional medical requirements. No matter the scope of these changes, you should always talk to your landlord.

While most landlords don’t have a problem with you putting up pictures or hanging new curtains, some don’t like holes in their walls. It is important to make sure you ask before you do anything that may bother your landlord. For example, if you put up shelves on the wall your landlord may get angry, but simply putting a nail in the wall to hang a painting is okay. If you want to change out a light fixture, you should ask the landlord if they are okay with you leaving the new one when you move or if you should keep the original to put it back. Every landlord is different, so never assume that the preferences are the same from one to another.

Some landlords are okay with you painting the walls as long as you return them to their original color while others don’t want to deal with covering other colors when you leave. Although you may paint a lovely mural on the wall, it might make it more difficult to rent to the next tenant if they don’t have the same taste in art as you. Even if you don’t think you’ll “get caught”, you should remember that it isn’t your home, and does still need to be treated with respect. If you wouldn’t want someone to do it to you, then definitely think twice before you do it to your landlord.

Any change that you may want to make to an apartment should always go through the property owner. Although you don’t really need to ask permission every time you hang a new picture, it is a good idea to ask what is and is not okay when you move in. As long as you have communication, you should be in the clear!