Renters across Victoria are set to welcome rental reforms that will be introduced by March 29, 2021, after initial delays due to coronavirus.
Among the 132 regulations introduced, renters will now be able to make minor changes to a property without seeking their landlord’s permission. The changes mean Victorian renters will now be able to install picture hooks and shelves, install LED light globes and water-efficient shower heads and replace curtains (provided the originals are kept).
Further, landlords will not be able to unreasonably refuse consent for modifications such as painting the premises, installing a veggie or herb garden, or setting up a security system. Renters wanting to make a modification to the premises can make a request in writing to their landlord at any time.
But, before you take to the walls with a hammer and drill, remember you must reverse any modifications made before the end of the rental agreement or pay the rental provider for the cost of reversing them, unless both parties come to a different agreement.
While NSW and the ACT have introduced similar rental reforms and other states are reviewing their regulations, the laws vary from state to state. As always, it pays to do a thorough check of your rental agreement and maintain an open and civil relationship with your landlord.
Here are some simple, smart and stylish ways to make your rental property feel like a forever home.
Get creative with paint
This one is a game-changer when it comes to personalising your space and now Victorian renters will have the freedom to do so.
“It’s nice to be able to refresh walls because paint is definitely one of the lowest cost/biggest bang for bank ways to totally change a space,” Gina Ciancio, of Style Curator, says.
You don’t have to go all out painting all the walls, but try getting creative to inject some personality. It could be a colourful shape or pattern above your bedhead, a feature wall in the second bedroom turned home office or updating tired, old wardrobes.
Embrace removable wallpaper and decals
Removable wallpaper and decals are a quick, stylish and so on-trend way to refresh your rental. Try updating your kitchen splashback, bedrooms, home office or study nooks — you can even tackle dated bedroom wardrobes and kitchen cabinets. There are so many patterns, textures and designs available — from earthy neutrals, to a tropical palm or trendy terrazzo
“In an entry, half-height wallpaper or full-length removable wallpaper can look really pretty. And kids’ bedrooms are always a fun place to use decals,” Ciancio says.
But it will pay to do a test patch before applying any removable stickers or wallpaper. Paint can peel and chip if an undercoat hasn’t been applied to your walls properly, and you don’t want that when it comes time to move — and neither does your landlord.
Remove cabinet doors
You’ll only need a drill and a steady hand for this one. Remove the doors from overhead cupboards in the kitchen to create some open shelving, but if the idea of having your $2 Kmart plates and chipped coffee mugs on display is a little off-putting, Ciancio suggests removing just one or two of the cupboard doors to add some interest.
“It allows you to have some open shelving where you could display a stack of cookbooks, a nice indoor plant, or other decorative elements.
“In a lot of rentals, generally everything is closed, so it’s a way of putting a modern spin on a space without doing anything too crazy,” she says.
But remember, don’t just toss the old doors away — you’re going to need to pop them back on when you leave your rental. Store them somewhere safe where they’re not likely to get damaged.
And, don’t forget to clearly label where each door and screw has come from.
“Sometimes lower cupboards and overhead cupboards can have different depth screws and it’ll be like a puzzle trying to put it all back together if you don’t [label them],” Ciancio says.
Update cupboard and drawer handles
If removing cupboard doors is a bit too bold, consider a smaller, simpler update.
Updating handles on the kitchen, bathroom and laundry cupboards and drawers is a quick and effective way to modernise your home, and there’s plenty of stylish options to choose from.
Opt for brushed brass, matte gold, timber, leather or even woven handles to update your space. Your best bet is to source handles that are similar in size to the ones you’re replacing to minimise drilling any extra holes in the cupboards.
Try temporary outdoor decking and tiles
“Often in rentals the outdoor spaces are not given much love — it’s usually just a basic concrete slab — it’s not an inspiring outdoor space, and in Australia, because we spend so much time outdoors, you really want to create a cool extension of the home, like an outdoor living room or dining room,” Ciancio says.
Ikea has a range of outdoor flooring options, including decking and tiles, that simply click together without the need of any tools, offering a simple way to enhance your outdoor space — just pack it up when it’s time to move on.
“With beautiful flooring sets as the base, then you can, with furniture and accessories, make a really inviting outdoor area,” Ciancio says.
Hang new curtains
“New window treatments can totally transform a space, especially if you have dark, heavy or quite old fabric,” Ciancio says, adding that updating your curtains is just as important as painting your walls in terms of the way it can transform a room.
“It has such a big impact on the light which affects our mood and how we feel in the space,” she says.
Ciancio suggests opting for a recessed block-out roller blind paired with a sheer curtain for a contemporary look.
“It’s going to help you sleep better and make the room look amazing.”
Update light fittings and switch covers
You’ve likely not thought about them before, but once you make the switch, you’ll be glad you did.
“Often it’s the smallest details. Switch covers are such a small detail but really old ones can look really out of date whereas new ones will bring a modern feel to a space,” Ciancio says.
Updating old globes to LED will probably improve functionality in your space and improve energy efficiency, too.
“Lighting is always such an overlooked part of interior design but it has one of the biggest impacts on how we feel in a space.”