Working on a Rental Without Permission

Like many of you, we're long term renters. We also happen to have a landlord who is, for all intensive purposes, absentee, meaning that we've had many conversations with our neighbors about just how much work we can do without, ahem, permission.

We've pretty much decided to go the whole hog - if we're comfortable paying for it then we go ahead and make the improvements we want to our space. So far everything we've done has been pretty minor - changing out light fixtures and switches, faucets, adding built in shelves to closets, painting walls, etc. But recently we've been thinking about making some more permanent changes - re-tiling our shower and re-landscaping the front yard to name two.

Since we're planning on being here long term (and have already spent several years in the space,) are generally doing projects that improve on shoddy work done under a former manager, and have such a hard time reaching our landlord for necessary repairs that we tend do just do them ourselves, we feel OK about taking on bigger projects, but know that not everyone agrees with us.

So what do you think? Is it OK to make changes to a rental without letting your landlord know? Does it depend on how big the change is? Or are we breaking a major rule in the landlord-tenant code?

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