How to Renovate a Tenanted Rental Property

The point of being a landlord is getting the maximum rent out of your rental property. This often means buying a rental property that needs some love and putting a bit of sweat (and money) into it, to get those returns. But, what if you property needs work and there are tenants already there? Do you wait until they move out to do the work or do you work around them?

It would make sense to wait until they move out, but there are reasons against this – what if they are long-term tenants and they aren’t planning on moving anytime soon?
What if the work is going to take sometime and you don’t want the down time between tenants?

So lets just say that you have committed to working around them, what do you do?

You need to give your tenants notice
Ideally you would work together with your tenants to come up with a plan on what the renovations are going to be (and how they will benefit your tenant) along with how you are going to manage the work.

Getting the bathroom painted is one thing and isn’t too much of an inconvenience for the tenant. But if you are ripping out the bathroom and the kitchen, then that is a much bigger issue and your tenants will feel a bit antsy about it. They will love the end result (hopefully), it’s living in the chaos in the meantime, that will be an issue.

In Victoria you need to give 60 days notice if you need your tenants to vacate the premises for the duration of the work. If you do this, then they will not be paying you rent during this time, but you are also not obligated to help pay for accommodation or food. It would go a long way however, if you helped find alternative arrangements. Make sure you put it all in writing though.

Over or under $5000
This is the magic number to determine if you need to use a ‘major domestic building contract’, if it’s under this figure, then you don’t need to,  but it is still wise to:
  • get a written contract (wise for ALL building activities)
  • compare quotes
  • check your Tradie’s reference
  • check to see what sort of extra insurance (if any) you may need.

Over the $5000 threshold you would be wise to check out the Building Commission’s website to make sure that everything is as it should be.

Have you undertaken a large renovation to your rental property while you had tenants? How did it go?

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