Renovation in exchange for lower rent ?

That's right! I thought this was a pretty fantastic read on the NY Times website. (One of my favorites)! Talk about a renovation decision (in a rental) that is worth your while!  

With the economy being so shaky these days, Todd & Marlene Capron decided to renovate a run-down apartment in Prospect heights, Brooklyn all by themselves in exchange for a rent reduction for their landlord. Now that is a deal! Here are pics of the reno, but you can read all about this genius idea here!

I love how they brightened the walls behind the mantle! So, what do you think of renovation in exchange for rent reduction? 











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48 comments

  1. Is the landlord letting them reduce rent by cost of materials as well as time and labor spend in doing this?

    PS: Im curious why a tenant would ever spend the time to do this.

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  2. It's a great idea although obviously you'd have to work out how much capital you're putting up for the job and sign a contract that lets you stay for longer than it'll take you to recoup the losses. All the same, worth talking to landlords about!

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  3. That is actually very common here in Germany.
    You get up to 3 months rent free and renovate. When you put in new floors or a new bathroom (for example) and you move out, the new people pay you a certain amount and they get to keep it....

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  4. Oh God!!! This is exactly what kept me awake last night about a place I saw in Brussels!

    I completely renovated my Brooklyn apartment and put a lot of money into it as well. Did the same as those people. Mostly did it on the cheap and altered every single piece to make it unique and take away the “oh did you get that at IKEA” look. I also built a lot of stuff myself and got a lot of flea market finds. Still….it was A LOT of work and yes also a lot of money. The only difference between their and my situation is that my apartment is rent stabilized. I have had my place for over 10 years and I can say that it was definitely worth the investment and definitely a win/ win situation for both the landlord and I. He has had a good tenant for the past 10 years who treats the place as if were her own and I have a 2BR in NYC which is after all a luxury – even in Brooklyn.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/45980446@N05/sets/72157623093435976/show/

    However I am now looking to do the same in Brussels but it is so different here. I think that first of all there is the issue of conformity here where in general people don’t tend to think out of the box as much as they do in NYC. So when I am suggesting those type of solutions, landlords act very surprised here, they just think it is weird. In general they rather have the place be vacant for a few months and lose money than come up with a middle ground solution where in the end they add value to their place and will have a better tenant – think of the broken window theory. Cause yes even run down places eventually get rented out but to what kind of tenants?

    I saw this gorgeous apartment the other day – great neighborhood!! AMAZING potential – huge ceiling, antique molding everywhere and this cute, cozy little garden BUT it needs a new kitchen and the walls needs some serious, serious fixing up!! If this were my Brooklyn apartment I would have paid for a new kitchen myself but here the law is such that they can kick you out after 3 years AND subletting your place here is quasi impossible…. Which means that if I want to go to NYC for a few months, I cannot even rent it out. So…I don’t really know what the solution is. At this point I have one month left to find a place and I seriously would prefer to find a place that I can fix up…just need to find the landlord who is up for it…


    I am meeting with the landlord of this place tomorrow and already got a 3D plan of a kitchen. This way he has a concrete visual which I hope will make it a bit easier for him to make “the right” decision ;)

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  5. my dear i love your blog
    happy new year
    kisses

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  6. so so so so cute... I love everything about New York, I'm usually in Manhattan all the time for shoots but recently ventured to Brooklyn (First Time) I stayed with a friend and her place was GORGEOUS.. Done up all by herself and her rent... A STEAL... O to dream... Our rent in out two bedroom apartment is a mortgage... It's crazy... if we didn't have a four year old I would totally say hey lets barter in brooklyn!!!! Great Post! Thanks

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  7. I do something somewhat similar but not to this extreme. I've repainted rooms and updated fixtures, added more curb appeal by adding plants and fixing flowerbeds. All we do is turn in th receipts and deduct it from the rent. I could see it working in a place like NY where you are never really going to buy anything, but here in FL it is a lot more accessible to buy.

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  8. That's interesting, I mean it looks great but aren't there tax implications to it for the owner?

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  9. the reno turned out great and i think this is a really smart idea!

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  10. [jaw drop] beautiful apartment, amazing reno. looks like they refinished the floors as well. so jealous of all the fantastic fireplaces! you must admit that they had an awfully good set of bones to work with as apartments go!

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  11. I would certainly do this. So many amazing places need renovation and if a deal can be worked out between a landlord and a renter for time and materials, it's worth it if you like to do that kind of thing.

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  12. Loooove. I wish my landlord would let me do that. I am an interior designer and am trying to get him to install left over carpet from one of my projects in our foyer and he's even cheap about that. and its free!

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  13. absolutely fabulous makeover!

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  14. Love what they did with the place! However, agree with the other comments in that the rent reduction would have to reflect the cost of materials/time put into it. Also, I'd have to forsee renting the apt for at least a few years to justify it.

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  15. This is such a great idea! I have so many friends that have lived in their apartments for a few years, but don't want to waste the cash fixing up a property that isn't theirs. But they're desperate to do so.

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  16. oh my goodness, i hope they got a fat reduction because the result is fantastic! i think the idea is great; i'd like to do a similar deal myself if there's an opportunity.

    hope you had a fantastic holiday jennifer! happy new year!

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  17. The penny rounds in the bath are fab!

    xx,
    Samantha @PrettyLovely

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  18. Interesting idea. The rent reduction would need to make it worth my while to shell out that kind of dough. I'm talking old school rent control figures. They did a great job though!

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  19. "Rent reduction in exchange for lower rent ?"
    Something about that title just doesn't make sense.

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  20. Hello, here in Argentina it is widely used to renew or make arrangements in exchange for the reduction in income, well actually in Argentina is doing anything to pay little income, or whatever jaja.
    Greetings.

    Lucy.

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  21. Great idea if you rent...but now is the perfect time to buy! :)

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  22. happy xmas
    i love your blog
    kisses

    http://elblogdebarbaracrespo.blogspot.com/

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  23. omg what a big difference love the idea's.....kisses PINCDIVA HAPPY HOLIDAYS

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  24. Seems like a good idea. A win win for all including the building. Although I can't help but be disappointed that they appeared to have painted that awesome brick wall and removed that beautiful old mantel. Painting the brick, maybe to brighten the space, but never remove an original mantel! Kithchen looks super cool though. Thanks for sharing! Love your blog! Happy New Year

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  25. that's looking amazing! such a great discovery, thanks so much for sharing! hope you had a lovely holiday!

    xo katherine aka. urban flea :)
    http://www.urbanfleadesign.net

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  26. seems a little intense.

    I have a great GIVEAWAY on my blog, so stop by if you'd like to win!

    leni.typepad.com

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  27. I loved what they did, and it sounded like a dreamy landlord-tenant relationship on both sides, which is rare!

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  28. Wow the apartment looks amazing! I think the exchange is a great idea, as long as the rent reduction is sizeable enough to make up for the cost of the renovation.

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  29. Our landlord let us paint our rental house and it turned out great. When we moved in the house was a mess and had a funny smell. All of the walls were mint green and had dirty stains on them. When I saw the house I saw potential since the landlord agreed to pay for paint and supplies.

    As one reply asked, why would a tenant spend the time to do this? Well, we moved in because of the awesome location and low rent. Sure it needed some work but for the great deal we got it was so worth it.
    And there ended up being an added bonus for our hard work ... it feels like HOME! By picking out own wall colors it really helped us to bond to the house. We invested in the house and it has returned the favor.
    This is a great way to feel to invested in a home and fulfills that want until I can afford a house of my own, since most houses are in the $1 million range in D.C.
    http://washingtondcfashion.blogspot.com/

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  30. woah and wow! that brick is so so much better/fresher painted white. what a transformation!

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  31. We have a some rental homes in Brisbane, Qld Australia and our newest tennants are from the former Yugoslavia ... before they moved in they asked if the could repaint the deck - we said yes, we bought the materials and they did the work ... no rent reduction ... but they were happy with this as apparently in Europe with longer term rentals it is very common - it was win win I think - cheers le

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  32. This makes perfect sense to me .. would love to do this to my old art deco rented apartment where I've lived for 10 years. The mentality in Australia though is if you do any kind of renovation then your rent goes UP, because you're now living in a better place. Hello?? Have I missed something here?? Totally insane, nonsensical attitude, if you ask me.

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  33. ELFYA:
    WOw, rent stabilized and have had it for 10 years....that is awesome! Not alot of that these days in NY. Lucky you! I love what you did to the place it looks very serene and modern....!
    Good luck with the landlord, hope he goes for it! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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  34. CHAMPAGNE TASTE:
    Yes, NYC rents are astronomical...and you should consider yourself lucky you have a 2 bedroom :)
    Brooklyn is great, I recall the first time I visited, I didnt know what to expect. I was blown away as well when i saw a friend's place & how much cheaper it was!! Soo true!

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  35. MM PAULITA:
    Great idea to turn in receipts to have it deducted from rent, good for you! :)))

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  36. MIRANDA:
    I am totally for renovating if the apartment is in a great location and the rent is more affordable. People do this for convenience and because they may want to live there for a few years. Location is everything, so if you have to renovate a few things and the landlord is up to a barter, I say go for it any day!

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  37. BRIGITTE,
    I know what you mean....why bother fixing if it ain't YOURS. Then this would be an ideal option for them to present to their landlord. I figure if they renovate and ever move out the landlord will be able to rent the unit alot faster and maybe even for more rent! It's a win, win.

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  38. BARBARA CRESPO!
    Hi pretty lady! Happy Holidays to you too and happy new year! OXOX!

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  39. Fab makeover, but after all that work I think i'd want to be the owner not just the tenant!

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  40. wow! what a tremendous change! i actually renovated my own place when I bought it, but since it costs too much, I will wait before changing a few more things. However, if I was renting, I would spend so much money time and effort in it. Luv ur blog btw:). xoxo

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  41. Absolutely stunning. And inspiring.

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  42. Wow gorgeous renovation! Those tenants should consider doing it professionally....

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  43. Great article! NY Times is my favorite too :)

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  44. Lovely photos. Its a great deal. I`we done the same in Norway. I`m a student, so I needed a cheap apartment, they were a grown up couple that didn`t have time to renovate. So I did the job, and got lower rent for a year. :O)

    Happy new year..

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  45. What a fantastic idea! I would definitely be up for renovating for a reduced rent. The before and after shots look amazing too! I really love the kitchen - totally incredible what you can do with such small spaces. Happy Holidays!

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  46. Nice blog.

    Happy Holidays.

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  47. Very impressive redo. I wonder if they ended up ahead .

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