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How Decorating Can Affect Your Security Deposit

Portsmouth Renter Hanging ArtworkWhether you own or rent your Portsmouth home, we all would like to live in comfort in our living space. For a lot of people, this means adding decorative elements that would personalize a home. However, if you are a renter, decorating may have a detrimental effect on your security deposit. Most leases list down the kind of changes you, the tenant, can do as well as the things you would need permission from your landlord to do.

But if there are things that are not explicit, you may wonder exactly where the line is between what’s allowed and what isn’t. And if you’re not sure, you may be doing something unknowingly that could get less of your security deposit back than you want. Let’s examine some common décor items that would cost you – and how to avoid being charged for repairs.

Interior Paint

This is the number one question renters ask: Can I paint the interior of my rental house? And this typical question actually makes sense to ask! One simple way to personalize a room or the entire home is by changing the paint color. But be certain to check with your landlord first if your lease specifically states whether you can paint your rental house,

A lot of leases state that you should return the home to its original condition. Even if it does not specifically indicate paint in any section of the lease, it’s crucial to understand that this includes the paint color on the walls. Your landlord is able to legally withhold funds from your security deposit to repaint the house if you have remade the wall colors and return it to its original state before you leave.

Wall Damage

Another pretty big reason renters do not get their entire security deposit back is because of holes (or other damage) in the walls. When you change parts of your home, you may not be considering how your landlord will react to the damage left after installing framed artwork, mounted televisions, or other wall-mounted décor items. Even having some nail holes in a wall can cause a security deposit deduction, and the cost of repairs increases depending on the size of the holes that are left behind.

To avoid losing your deposit, try planning your décor while taking into consideration what’s going to happen after you’re done renting. Select nail-free hangers, or just completely avoid placing anything on the walls. Large artwork or televisions can just as well look good on top of an accent table or cabinet and won’t leave wall damage behind.

Floor Damage

Finally, be sure to preserve your floors as you decorate. Heavy furniture and other things can gouge, scrape, and otherwise damage floorings like wood or laminate, and crack or break the tile. If you have massive things you need to keep in your home, have someone help you move them and place protective material, like a blanket or moving pad, underneath so that you will have less floor damage. If you have the tendency to move your furniture around often, consider buying some felt padding for the bottom of your furniture to make rearranging your décor easier and less likely to cause damage.

Regardless if you decorate your rental home, it’s vital to remember that, at some point, you will be moving out. And when that happens, the less you need to do to restore the home to its original condition, the more likely you will get your full security deposit back.


Is moving to a new rental home on your to-do list this year? Real Property Management Seacoast New Hampshire could have the best one for you! We have quality rental homes for every taste and budget, so check out our listings today.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.