Being able to personalise our physical space is identified as a significant contributor to psychological wellbeing. With long-term renting the housing reality for many people, it is an important reform that people who rent their home be allowed to undertake reasonable minor modifications. The ability of tenants to make minor modifications to their rental property allows renters to personalise their living space but is also a measure those with specific needs, for example people with mobility issues, require to ensure their home is accessible, safe, private and secure.
Minor modifications are defined as alterations that can be reversed, do not permanently alter the rental property and do not require building approvals.
All tenants want to be able to personalise their space, like putting pictures up in children’s rooms. Others have compelling life circumstances that require changes to be made to their rental property. These include:
- tenants who require accessibility modifications to their property, whether due to age, injury, illness or other circumstances
- people with disabilities
- families with young children who require safety devices or child proof locks to be installed
- people experiencing domestic and family violence.
At Make Renting Fair we support changes to the law, to allow renters to undertake a defined range of minor modifications as a matter of course.
A second category of minor modifications would require the tenant to obtain the permission of the owner, where permission cannot be unreasonably withheld, and where permission would be deemed granted if the owner does not respond within seven days. These minor modifications would include:
- modifications to personalise or improve the amenity of the property
- energy and water efficiency modifications
- non-essential communications services, such as satellite television dishes.