VOLUME ITenant Modifications That Make a Happy HomeAre You a Flexible Enough Landlord To Ensure That Your Tenants Stay Long-term?When tenants feel like a rental is their home, they may stay longer and enjoy the property more. Flexibility in allowing minor home modifications is the key to keeping tenants happy. Although some modifications cannot be considered such as replacing all the flooring or repainting the entire home, allowing minor modifications helps tenants feel like a rental property is indeed “home."Cookie-cutter type properties may not be appealing. Additionally, if a landlord allows dogs, tenants may seek to install a dog door for easy access to the outdoors. A new door that serves a dog is easy to switch out, and the old door can be saved for later use. The door should be stored in a cool, dry place to prevent warping.Other potential modifications include the installation of ceiling fans, the switching out of light fixtures and shower heads, and the addition of dimmer switches to existing lighting. Usually, the tenant's goal is to save on utility costs and create ambience. Repainting of a wall(s) for decorative purposes might also be sought, or possibly a mural in a child’s bedroom. However, the painting of any wall in question should be preapproved. Additionally, a tenant should keep a record of the original paint can with the color code. A sample of any new color should also be provided before proceeding. Landlords should leave a can of paint for a tenant to make minor touch-ups during their tenancy.Some tenants thrive on gardening, ranging from fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. Discussions with the tenant should precede. Plantings might need removal by the tenant before vacancy because of routine maintenance. Reasonable gardening accommodations can be either fixed or undone easily. Shower heads, digital thermostats and dimmer switches can be replaced easily too. Ceiling fans and other less removable additions, depending upon the lease and the agreement between landlord and tenant, sometimes simply get left behind and become the property of the landlord. Why? They're too costly and difficult to remove. Appliances that were purchased by a tenant, under most circumstances, are the tenant’s property and can be removed by the tenant when relocating.Regardless of the change, both landlord and tenant should know upfront which modifications are allowed and which are not. This should all be spelled out in a solid lease agreement to ensure that no misunderstandings occur.