Whoever is looking for a place to live thinks about leaving the house as you like, to have more comfort and well-being. So far so good: small adjustments are made. What can cause some kind of problem is when it becomes necessary to do some major work, such as the renovation of the rented apartment. Who pays the bill, the lessor or the lessee?
This is a point that raises many doubts and problems between tenants and landlords are not uncommon. Each side of the issue has its responsibilities, some defined in a contract, others provided for in the Tenancy Law, which governs the residential property rental market in Brazil.
The discussion seeks to find out who should pay for certain types of reforms, and both landlord and tenant need to be well armed so they don’t have to make drastic decisions, such as breaking the contract. It is also important to know some topics of legislation.
Check out a full text about who pays for the renovation of the rented apartment.
What does the Tenancy Act say about rented apartment renovation?
The text makes it very clear what the responsibilities of each part of the rental agreement are. It is on this basis that you must negotiate the reforms you intend to make.
It is the responsibility of the lessor to pay taxes and deliver the property in good condition. The property tax is an obligation of the owner, but it can become the responsibility of the resident if this is provided for in the contract.
The lessor is also responsible for paying for structural reforms, which we will explain in the following item.
The lessee is responsible for paying the energy and water bills, in addition to the condominium. Necessary reforms due to damage caused by misuse or caused by the resident are also within its competence.
What are structural reforms?
In practice, they are essential works for the use of the property and for corrections of problems caused by third parties or wear and tear. These expenses are borne by the owner.
This category includes works in the electrical and hydraulic parts of the property, in the sewer, roof and walls. For example, if the neighbor on the floor below you notices a leak and it is caused by the plumbing of your apartment, it is the owner who bears the cost of the renovation.
The law states that the owner must return the property in good condition, so make sure everything is working properly when renting the property. Turn on the faucets and shower, turn on the switches, check every structural item in the apartment. It’s worth talking to neighbors about any problems.
As a security guard, take photos and videos of the apartment to have proof of any problems. Check your observations with the inspection made by the real estate agency before handing over the keys.
What are improvements and improvements?
This is where the biggest discussion opens up, as each situation is a specific case, which must be negotiated point by point. Even if it is not necessary, the owner can see a certain work as an improvement to the property, which can be valued with it. In this way, he authorizes the rent discount or pays the payment separately.
An example: if you want to change the dishes in the bathroom, which are already worn out by time and use, and the owner sees an investment in this renovation, he can authorize the change as long as you pay for the work.
The owner can also assess that a renovation is not necessary and that he considers the tenant’s desire to improve, in which case he will have to bear the costs. But, before contracting the service, the tenant must ask the owner’s authorization to carry out the renovation. A tip: always ask for written confirmation and attach it to the contract.
There are cases in which the owner does not authorize a certain reform, even if supported by the resident. For example, if you want to change the bathroom floor and the owner refuses the work, even if you pay. This is a type of reform that does not allow for a return to the original. So, the resident must give up doing the work.
In cases where it is possible to restore the previous situation, negotiation is easier, even when the owner does not see real improvement for the property. Examples include drilling holes in the wall to install shelves, shelves and other items, installing air conditioning and protection grids, changing decorative fixtures or painting the property in a different color.
In any of these cases, the tenant pays the bill, who must restore the property and leave it as described in the entrance inspection when the contract ends. In case of not leaving the property in the same way at the time of departure, the lessee may have to pay fines provided for in the contract.
How to act with items of decoration and personal improvement?
This situation fits into the last one described in the previous item. These are expenses that the owner does not pay, but authorizes to be made, as long as you restore the original on departure.
In most cases, they are items of decoration and personal benefits, which do not interfere with the structure of the property or cause changes of great impact. Parts such as light fixtures, switches, lamps, knobs, doorknobs, locks, protection grids, all of this can be done without any major problems, always paid for by the tenant.
When there are changes, keep the originals to reinstall on exit. This way, you enjoy objects and items that please you during the period you live in the property. When you leave, they are yours.
Same thing goes with showers. Exchange and save the originals. Before, see if the electrical network supports the power and amperage of your model.
Also on the electrical issue, if for any reason you need to change the voltage of the outlet points or only some inputs from 110 volts to 220 or vice versa, inform the owner before making the change. An electrician should check for technical conditions as well. When returning the property, you must return to the original configuration. All these costs are borne by the tenant.
How to define the expenses of those who live in condominiums?
The renovations, in this case, are the responsibility of the lessor, as they indicate improvements to the property. Renovations in the set, such as paintings on the facades, structural works on the electrical and hydraulic networks and on the pavements are some of the items that fit into this situation.
What can be agreed between owner and resident is the form of payment. The tenant can pay, if the cost is included in the condominium, and deduct the amount from the rent. These negotiations are punctual and need to be documented.
Renovation of the rented apartment is a well-defined issue by law, but even so, it leaves room for specific negotiations. The important thing is to be prepared for the conversation, so that you don’t take losses or wear yourself out unnecessarily.