How to Approach an Occupied Property During a Renovation

Working with an occupied renovation

The Right Way to Redesign an Occupied Property

Completing a renovation project while tenants are living in the building doesn’t have to be an inconvenience. In this article, we explain:

Choosing to redesign your property can be extremely beneficial. From improved tenant retention and reduced vacancies to increased profitability, there’s much to be gained from working with a knowledgeable commercial interior designer.

While property managers understand that community upkeep is essential, completing renovations while tenants are occupying the building can be a challenge. If not approached properly, property managers run the risk of upsetting and losing tenants.

By planning carefully, communicating clearly, and choosing qualified design partners however, property managers can complete a successful occupied renovation without disrupting their tenants’ daily routine.

Occupied Renovations & The Right to Quiet Enjoyment

Before beginning a renovation, it’s important to understand tenants’ rights during this process. There may be some variations in tenant rights depending on your state renovation regulations; however, landlords are generally obligated to protect a tenant’s privacy and their right to “quiet enjoyment.”

If a tenant feels these covenants have been violated, they can sue for the refund of rent and any damages incurred that exceed rent. For example, if a multifamily community begins renovations without first notifying its residents, they could claim a violation of privacy and the right to quiet enjoyment.

A tenant can’t simply stop paying rent once a property manager decides to begin a renovation project. However, they can request a rent reduction during the project — especially if part of their unit is blocked or amenities have been rendered out of service during the redesign. For instance, if a community fitness center is under construction and no longer safe to use, it’s common for property managers to offer a rent reduction or rent concession until the renovation is complete.

Rent reductions and concessions aren’t legally necessary, but they do go a long way in strengthening the tenant-landlord relationship. By keeping tenants happier during the redesign process, you’ll be less likely to lose them before the project is complete.

How to Renovate a Property During a Lease Term

#1 – Create a Plan

When undergoing a remodel, it’s important to plan ahead. It’s much easier to complete in-unit upgrades without tenants living in them, so try to schedule these renovations around planned vacancies within your building. Completing unit redesigns during planned vacancies is a great way to avoid any perceived violations of the right to quiet enjoyment or privacy.

In some cases, renovating during planned vacancies may not be possible. When this happens, it’s important to create contingency plans for how to keep tenants happy during the project. Consider any rent concessions, reductions, or relocation offers you are willing to negotiate with your tenants ahead of time so you are prepared to meet their needs.

#2 – Communicate with Tenants

Before any renovation work begins, it’s critical that you meet with your tenants and communicate the full extent of the project. While your commercial interior design firm should strive to make the process as seamless and stress-free as possible, there are certain aspects of construction that can’t be avoided. Be honest with your residents and let them know that they may be exposed to occasional noise, unusual odors, and general inconvenience as the redesign takes place.

Throughout the entire redesign, it’s important to keep all lines of communication open between you and your tenants. Always provide at least 24 hours’ notice before entering individual units, and communicate regularly with them about any updates on progress or changes to the project timeline.

#3 – Work in Phases

It might be tempting to power through a renovation, but it’s important to take a strategic approach to the process. Schedule your remodel in phases, using a multi-step plan. Not only will this be more affordable and efficient in the long-run, but it will also help reduce inconveniences and daily disruptions to your tenants.

Prioritizing which projects should come first in the process and coordinating with contractors can be difficult without the right team involved. At SouthPark Interiors, we’ve helped countless property managers execute flawless renovations while tenants remain on-site. We seamlessly integrate with developers, general contractors, and other key stakeholders to deliver timeless, elegant designs that are proven to attract and retain tenants. Start your multifamily redesign by request a consultation with our team today!