One of the first things that most people do when moving into a new home is have their phone, cable, and Internet installed. This is the case whether people own the home or rent it. However, for renters there is an extra layer of complication, since sometimes installation can mean drilling through walls – including exterior ones – and landlords may limit what tenants do to alter a property.
Now, of course you can’t say to your tenants, “You can’t have phone or cable,” but you can ask yourself some questions in order to determine how far you’re willing to let tenants go.
- Are there sufficient phone jacks in the house? This is one major reason that further installation may be required when your tenant moves into your unit. Perhaps, you only have phone jacks installed in a couple of prime locations within the house (the kitchen or master bedroom, for example). Your tenant may need a phone in an additional bedroom they intend to use as an office, or for a teenager. If there are insufficient phone jacks, you may want to allow your tenant to have them professionally installed. If your home already has a dozen phone jacks, and they simply want more, you might prefer to point them toward wireless jacks or portable phones.
- Will the drilling requirements be excessive? If the tenant wants a new phone jack or cable jack on the opposite end of the house from the source, that could involve running long wires through walls or baseboards. An installer from the telecom company will do the basics, but they’re not always focused on making the wires look pretty. If you’re facing such an installation, you need to be willing to hire someone else to secure the cords or do it yourself. Otherwise, you may want to tell the tenant that certain rooms are off-limits.
- Will you allow drilling on the outside of your home? Sometimes this is necessary to install an additional jack in the home. Let’s be honest, if the tenant’s request to have it there is reasonable, you probably want to allow it. If they want to drill on the outside of the house for a satellite dish, on the other hand, you may want to say no. Landlords often prohibit the use of a satellite dish because it does need to be drilled more extensively into the exterior brick of a home, and it can also be an eyesore.
- Will you have jacks installed yourself? Rather than taking the risk that your tenant will request installation that you do not want in your rental home, either be there when the installers come, or moderate the process before the tenant moves in. If your home truly is short on jacks in areas of the home where people want cable or phone, have them put in yourself. This can also be a desirable rental feature!
It isn’t uncommon for landlords to become uptight about drilling and alterations to their homes. However, consider installations like these differently than allowing tenants to drill large holes in your interior walls for the sake of home décor. After all, this is for function, and you will find that many tenants do have the same needs. Just be clear to stipulate any restrictions on the lease itself, otherwise you may find that the tenant that looked perfect when conducting online screening appears a little less so if you’re telling them no when legally you’ve said yes.