A Landlord’s Guide to Updating Rental Apartments

  • Posted by Content Builder
  • 04.23.18
  • 3:28 pm

Owners of rental properties always need to be looking for prospective high-quality renters who will not only pay their rent on time but will also take pride in their apartment. But it’s not always feasible, or even worthwhile, to update every time there is a new tenant. That’s why many rental property owners want to know what updates will attract new tenants and which updates will make their rental properties the most attractive to potential renters. There are several common updates that will please tenants, making them want to sign the lease.


A fresh coat of paint is one of those easy and relatively affordable fixes that can keep an apartment looking like a nice place to live. This is especially true if there are any kinds of scuffs or chips. Sometimes a property owner might be able to simply wash grime off the walls, but other times paint will be needed to make the apartment look its best. Walls that have noticeable scuffs and dings tell a prospective renter that the apartment is not taken care of, and they also might question whether or not they want to look at the dings every day.


Linoleum, vinyl, and carpet are three types of flooring that can be replaced relatively inexpensively. They can also make an apartment appear much more fresh, updated, and clean. All three are more expensive than paint, so landlords will only want to replace when it’s really necessary, but if the flooring is starting to look stained, scuffed, or otherwise dingy, all three are wise investments.

Another time to replace old flooring is when it’s outdated. Think about avocado green laminate flooring or even some of the flooring from the ’90s. Also, carpet that looks dirty or has stains is a big turn off to people because many think it’s unsanitary. Again, when the flooring is old or worn, this tells prospective renters that the apartment is not taken care of, and they’ll be less likely to want to live there.

Light Fixtures

Outdated ceiling fans and light fixtures are not always the first thing to replace because they usually don’t receive the wear that walls and flooring do. But you should replace lighting that is reminiscent of past decades. Lighting plays a huge role in the overall aesthetic appeal of an apartment, so it can’t be underestimated. Apartment complex owners should also consider adding lighting to areas that are dim. Adequate lighting will make apartments feel larger and more cheerful.


How often you replace baseboards, cabinets, and other woodwork will vary depending on who you are marketing the rental apartment to and your price point. Baseboards can last for decades, needing only minor fixes between tenants because they’re not a piece of an apartment that goes through trends. Kitchen and bathroom cabinets, on the other hand, can look dated after a couple of decades. Cabinets tend to be more expensive, so if they are starting to look dated, it’s wise to refinish them if it is possible. If they are have been damaged, a landlord might need to look into replacing them.


There is no exact formula for when materials in a rental property should be replaced. To a certain extent, it can depend on the area that the property is located in, the price point that you are listing the property at, and the type of materials that you are replacing. For instance, if you are marketing a property at the lower end of the price spectrum for your area, it might make more sense to allow minor scratches and dings in woodwork to stay.

But if you are listing to attract a higher-end clientele, you might choose to replace slightly worn woodwork as well as go above and beyond in other ways (look around here to see what we mean). To make the best decisions on what needs to updated, and how often it should be replaced, take some time to understand your area and your target prospective renters.