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Alterations to Rental Property

October 17, 2019

House Rules 101  — Rental Unit Changes

In the previous property management articles, we discussed some major provisions in lease agreements.

While tenancy between management/owner and tenant is established by executed lease agreements, tenants should also pay attention to other legal documentations such as house rules and addendums.

Below are some common critical provisions in the house rules that tenants must comply with to prevent lease violation which may result in tenancy termination. It might be wise to share this post with your tenants.

Alterations to Rental Apartment or Home

Tenants are not supposed to undertake alteration or remodeling to the unit without prior written consent from management. If tenants complete alterations without managements permission, they are required to restore the unit to the original condition at their own costs.

Decorating the Unit

Tenants may not be allowed to paint the unit without prior written permission. Additionally, owner may restrict the options of drapes, blinds, or window coverings.

Typically, no waterbeds or water-filled furniture are allowed in the unit due to liability reasons. The rental unit owner may also restrict the size of aquariums allowed in the unit or request tenants to acquire additional insurance coverage.

Building Package Deliveries

Some management companies may agree to accept deliveries for tenants. However, management typically does not assume liabilities for any lost or stolen packages left by the carrier at the property if tenants are not present. In other words, if you request delivery of shipment while you are not present to accept delivery, you are responsible to take your own risk.

Rental Unit Keys/Locks/Lock Outs

Tenants may not be allowed to put additional locks or change locks without prior written approval from management. If tenants lose their keys and request a replacement set of keys or request to have additional set of keys for their household members, the property manager or landlord is entitled to charge a reasonable amount for labor and material cost.

If tenants are locked out after business hours, management may charge a service fee. More importantly, lockouts are generally not considered an emergency. Thus, do expect management may delay in responding to lockouts. If the tenant requests a change of locks, management may change tenant’s locks, but tenant will be responsible for the cost of material and labor.  

Litter Disposal

Generally speaking, management requires tenants to place trash completely inside the dumpster. Tenants cannot put bulky items such as furniture, mattresses or unbroken-down boxes in the trash rooms and they need to make other arrangements for disposing of such items. 

Additionally, tenants are responsible for extra pick-up charges due to inappropriate items in the dumpsters. Some cities may implement stricter policies on trash management. For instance, San Francisco Environment Code requires all persons to separate recyclables, compostable, and trash and to participate in recycling and composting programs.

While management provides separate recyclable, compostable, and trash bins, tenants must educate themselves on what items must be placed in which bin.  More importantly, tenants must agree to cooperate with Management’s recycling, composting, and trash disposal programs at all times during the tenancy.

Tenants who do not comply with the trash management policy is a material lease violation which may cause tenancy termination.

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