5 Landlord-Approved Ways to Upgrade Your Rental Apartment

Despite the housing market remaining strong, many Estonians still opt to rent their apartments. While many rentals are either new or newly-renovated, there are also a lot that could do with a healthy dose of TLC. As a renter, you are, however, often very limited to what extent you can renovate your dwelling. Many landlords will not approve major renovations that include new paint jobs or a kitchen remodel, even if it is at your own expense. Thankfully there are a number of ways, such as the following, that you can transform your apartment to a certain extent without upsetting your landlord.

Upgrade the lighting

Doing small upgrades to the lighting in your rental can boost the overall ambiance tremendously. Most rental apartments in Estonia boast ceiling-mounted light fixtures that can easily be replaced without having to do any sort of rewiring. Once you have found new fixtures that you like, simply unscrew the old ones and replace with the new. If you don’t want to change the entire fixture, opt for new light globes that will enable you to change the temperature and brightness in the room easily and affordably. Always shut off the electricity supply to the lights you are busy with to prevent yourself from being shocked and keep the old fittings in case you need to put them back upon your next move.

Change the outlet and light switch covers

Some rentals sport old, dated outlet and switch covers that can give even the most modern of rooms an antiquated appearance. Switch plates are easy to replace and will not set you back more than a couple of Euros. Apart from replacing the covers, you can also give them a makeover with a simple coat of paint or a piece of contact paper which will allow you to get very creative with both color and design. Once again, keep the old covers as you will probably want to replace them if you ever move out of your apartment.

Change the faucets

Swapping your faucets out for shiny new ones is a lot easier than it may sound. As long as the new faucet fittings match those of the old one, you have complete freedom as far as your choices are concerned. Once you have your new faucets, turn off your water supply, take off the old fittings and replace with the new. You may be surprised at what a big difference such a small change can make to both your bathroom and kitchen. Also, remember to keep the old faucets in a safe place so that you can put them back before you move or in case the landlord wants them.

Refresh the grout

A common problem with older apartments, in particular, is that they never quite look and feel clean. The grout in the bathroom is one area that typically fails to look fresh regardless of how much you try to scrub it clean. Thankfully there are a number of products on the market that can make your dull grout bright white once again. You can also make your own very effective grout cleaner by mixing together 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide, and 1 teaspoon of dish soap. Simply apply the cleaning mixture onto grout, and wait for approximately 10 minutes before giving it a scrub and rinsing it.

Replace the toilet seat

Nothing screams old and dilapidated like a stained and worn-out toilet seat. A new toilet seat is easy to replace, doesn’t cost much, and will instantly make your bathroom appear a lot less weather-beaten. In some cases, the entire toilet may need to be replaced in which case it is best to discuss your intentions with your landlord first and even try to convince him to do the upgrade at his expense instead of yours.

Making small changes to the interior of your rental can undoubtedly make your stay a lot more enjoyable. As long as you don’t go overboard with the upgrades, your landlord will probably be only too happy to let you spruce your accommodations up a bit.

Tallinn short term rental

The questions you should ask your (short term rental) property manager

1.Does your property manager offer the full-service property management?

This is an important question because there are a lot of services to consider:

  • Key delivery to the client which can have several options; meet and greet, self-check-in option, transfer from the airport and key delivery
  • Cleaning service (inside or outside company, checklist and quality control)
  • Property inspection and maintenance
  • Advertising and which channels your manager is using to promote your property
  • How many employees there are and is there 24/7 emergency support for the clients?
  • Is there any working system set up to discover high noise levels or water damage or smoke and fire hazards?
  • How are towels and linen washed and who has to provide them? Can the linen and towels be rented?
  • What languages do they speak and are those the same languages used by the biggest client groups you would expect in the area?
  • Does your property manager offer any unique services that might differentiate your property from the rest?


2. Property management fee and the terms of the payment?

Ask how many properties the company manages and how many properties they manage so you can make a rough estimate if they have a sustainable business.

Tallinn vacation rental

Tallinn vacation rental

3. Look into the company history: where are they registered for how long have they operated do they pay their taxes, read client reviews


4. Terms of the contract and the most important cancellation costs?

Because short term apartment rental clients tend to book their holidays well in advance beware of property managers who offer too soft cancellation terms with very short notices for your property management contract.This might mean that they can not take advance bookings and you will be loosing out on many potential clients.


5. What happens if there are damages to the property and up until which amount are your managers responsible in case the damages are bigger than the deposit provided by the client ?


Best Apartments is a professional property management company which currently manages multitude of short term rental properties in Estonia.

Luxury Tallinn short term rental

8 Tools Everyone In The Property Management Industry Should Be Using

If you are a property manager and if you manage multiple short term rentals you need to be very organized as the main challenges come with day to day operations and you will need the following tools and systems to be effective:


  1. Property management software and or a booking system to keep track of your bookings and messaging with your clients and property owners. Functionalities to consider:
  • automatic messaging to clients which are triggered by special conditions as check-in date, payment of the booking etc.
  • unified inbox where you have all the communication with the client so whoever is on shift would have all the information and wouldn’t need to dig through different e-mail boxes or booking apps.
  • property management module where you keep track of different property related repair and maintenance issues


  1. Channel manager. Software to synchronize the pricing and availability between the different sales channels as booking.com, Airbnb, TripAdvisor etc.


  1. Software to keep track and distribute tasks to your cleaning and maintenance crews. This software has to be easy to use on mobile devices and includes scheduling and task checklists


  1. Software to control the entry to the properties if you use electronic locks or special key terminals. Functionalities to consider: cleaning crew codes, codes for clients which are valid only during the booking period, keeping track of who and when has had access to your properties. Additional functionality for key terminals might be payment terminal, recording camera devices, QR code, and document scanning.
  1. Good e-mail provider so you and your colleagues can have quick and efficient communication with clients and owners as e-mails are still the backbone of the communication.


  1. Telephone communication provider. Might be a mobile communication provider but also could be IP based phone communication provider with different options to consider: conversation recording, phone number saving and pulling client data based on the incoming phone number, internet-based phone communication.


  1. Home automation and smart home features. Sensors (temperature, CO2, smoke, fire), heating/cooling,  temperature control and electricity usage. This will save you a lot of money in the long term and you can make sure no energy is wasted (aircon is on while there are no clients ?)
Tallinn vacation rental

Apartment rental with a smart home solution

  1. Password manager. An essential tool to keep your passwords complicated enough, different and safely stored.


There are many vendors nowadays and many of the functionalities get intertwined but as of today, it is not possible to get all the functionalities from a single vendor. And here are the general questions you should ask your providers:

  • Do you provide a reliable API with the software? This is important as it would give you an option to further integrate your systems and automate your processes.
  • How reliable is their product support?
  • What happens if one of the services does not work and what are the chances of that happening?

Best Apartments is a professional and innovative property management company based in Tallinn which manages multiple properties in Estonia.