Rental property interiors are traditionally comprised of neutral colour schemes, hard wearing flooring and a minimalist design. Simplicity is key with these homes as they are designed to have broad appeal.

However, in certain cases tenants like to undertake some decorating of their own. Generally this happens if they intend to live there for a number of years and want to personalise the property to fit their needs and tastes. But how far are landlords expected to allow them to make alterations?

When tenants request to make aesthetic modifications, landlords agree about 75 per cent of the time. However, in these circumstances the agreement is always written into the contract to ensure that is completely transparent and both the landlord and tenant know what is expected of them. A common request, for example, is to change the paintwork. This is usually approved, but if you’re going to pick a bold colour don’t be surprised if you’re asked to put it right when you leave.

In the past we organised some decorative changes to be made to a property for a long-term corporate tenant. It was agreed that the landlord would arrange the works as long as the tenants put it back at the end of the tenancy. As the design was bespoke to that property, the replacement paint had to be ordered before the work took place to ensure a seamless reversal.

Both landlords and tenants should also remember that not everyone’s tastes are the same. If you’re a landlord, try not to take it personally if tenants would like to modify elements of your property. If the adjustments are minor and can be reversed then the changes are normally worth the long-term rental gain. Equally, as a tenant try not to assume that what you consider to be an improvement the landlord also will.

If, as a tenant, you’re thinking bigger and want to make structural changes to the house, then chances are it may not be the right property for you. It is highly unlikely that a landlord would agree to major works so it may be best to look elsewhere.

The best advice for landlords and tenants is to have any changes written into a contract so both parties know exactly where they stand, but tenants don’t be surprised if you can’t change everything you would like to.

By Gayle Ratcliffe, head of lettings at Savills Petworth

The following rental properties in Sussex are currently available through Savills:

Orchard House, West Hoathly, East Grinstead - £3,500 per month

An exceptional newly built house comprising five bedrooms, an open plan kitchen/dining room, a further reception room and large garden. The property sits in an exceptional position and has views across to the South Downs ‘V’ which is made up of 3,000 trees which were planted in 1887 to mark the celebration of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee.

Contact – Savills Petworth, 01798 345980

Bignor Park House, Pulborough - £1,495 per month

The West Wing apartment is part of the main Bignor Park House which was built in 1826 situated in the midst of the Bignor Park Estate. The property is situated on the third floor and benefits from large, elegant windows with lovely views. The apartment consists of three bedrooms, a large kitchen/dining room and a further sitting room. The property also comes with a fully enclosed garden with grass and a patio area.

Contact – Savills Petworth, 01798 345980

Pheasant Cottages, West Dean, Chichester - £1,195 per month

A lovely two bedroom cottage in an idyllic rural position the West Dean Estate. The property also benefits from a large garden to the rear of the property and delightful countryside views.

Contact – Savills Petworth, 01798 345980

Hope Farm, The Haven, Billinghurst - £3,550 per month

A five bedroom country house occupying a wonderful rural setting. The accommodation is bright and spacious and is in great condition throughout. Of particularly note is the bay window/seating area in the breakfast room. The location is ideal for country living whilst remaining close to good schools and a number of established towns.

Contact – Savills Guildford, 01483 796830