NSW Alterations by tenants

Alterations by tenants

A tenant must first seek approval from the landlord (or managing agent) if they want to make a minor change to the premises such as installing child safety locks on windows or installing pay television.

The request should be put in writing so it is recorded, and it should provide as much information as possible about what is being proposed, who would carry out the work and what their qualifications are.

Landlords need to be reasonable in response to such requests. The law gives some guidance as to the types of reasons where it would be reasonable to say no.

These include work which:
• involves structural changes (eg. knocking out a wall)
• is not reasonably capable of being rectified, repaired or removed
• is not consistent with the nature of the property (eg. installing modern fixtures on a heritage property)
• is prohibited under a law (such as a strata by-law)
• involves painting.

This is not an exhaustive list. There may be other reasonable reasons to decline the tenant’s request. If a tenant thinks their landlord is being unreasonable they can apply to the Tribunal for permission to make the change.

It is up to the landlord to decide whether the premises can be painted (inside or out) and the Tribunal cannot give permission if the landlord refuses.

Before any changes are made, agreement should also be reached as to who will pay the costs and what will happen to any added fixture at the end of the tenancy.

More information on this topic is available from the Fair Trading website:

• Go to the Alteration requests from your tenant page if you are a landlord or agent
• Go to the Asking to make an alteration page if you are a tenant.

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