Today we’re looking at which categories of bidets can be installed in apartments, in general. If you’re looking for specific models, check out the article on the best bidets for apartments.
You can install a bidet in an apartment if it’s the kind that attaches to an existing toilet (e.g., seats, attachments, and most handheld bidets). Permission will be needed if installation of the bidet calls for drilling holes in furniture (sink cabinetry) for routing hoses.
Getting the okay to modify any aspect of a rental property can be tricky. I once wanted to install a pull-up bar in the doorway that used two tiny screws, but the owner of the apartment didn’t want me drilling into the doorframe, however small the screws were.
But, what about bidets? There are several types, some requiring little to no modification of the current bathroom setup.
In case you’re new to the subject, here are the different types of bidets.
Non-electric seats are permitted but less than ideal because they require the installation of an electric seat without offering anything you can’t get in a bidet attachment.
These two you can’t install.
It basically comes down to whether the device can be used without making permanent modifications to the property. I.e. any changes need to be reversible to allow the restroom to return to its original setup.
Property owners are understandably choosy about what modifications take place. Small changes add up over time, so if one were to let every tenant make a small change, the place would eventually become unrecognizable.
In this article, we’ll be looking at the categories of bidets that can be installed via quick, reversible modifications.
What we’ll do here is go over the types of bidets typically considered apartment-friendly and how to ensure they can be installed without causing permanent changes. We’ll also cover travel bidets here, which while not installed, are compatible with any rental property.
We’ll also touch on types of bidets that can’t be installed in apartments and other rental properties without permission from the landlord.
Electric seats make up one of the most popular bidet categories because they strike a nice balance between ease of use/installation and providing enough features like drying and temperature control.
My #1 pick for a bidet seat is the TOTO C100.
Anyway, with bidet seats, you’re just swapping out the existing seat-lid combo for a new one. Some are non-electric and function like bidet attachments and others are high-tech and come with a cleaning nozzle or “wand” among other components and features (a dryer for your butt, self-cleaning nozzles, etc.).
The spray nozzle is located inside and under the seat, where it extends and retracts to get the job done.
While most bidet seats can be installed and removed without making any permanent modifications to the original commode, there are caveats.
Follow these tips to make sure your bidet is rental property compliant.
Make Sure to Get the Correct Fit
If you get the correct fit, the mounting bracket used to install the new seat will make use of pre-existing bolt holes—the two holes used to secure the lid to the back of the toilet rim.
I wanted to bring this up for the sake of completeness because a bad fit could result in holes that don’t align.
Some folks (read: yours truly) have been known to make things fit when they don’t align initially, especially those who are too lazy to return the item for a new one having the correct size. But, if you’re in a rental property like an apartment, such improvisation is off-limits.
This probably won’t be a problem, at least in the US where the distance between bolt holes is standardized to about 5.5 in or ~14 cm. Also, mounting brackets are adjustable to accommodate different bolt hole widths.
But issues can arise with certain toilet designs–namely, not all bidets fit one-piece toilets, skirted toilets, or tankless toilets. For more info on these toilet designs, make sure to check out the linked articles.
Also, given that bidets are used and produced around the world, each country and region with its own specifications, I’d imagine features like bolt hole distance and the presence of adjustable brackets could vary depending on where the toilet is manufactured.
Preserve the Components for Future Reattachment
Or as we tell kids, you want to make sure and put things back where you found them.
If you purchase a bidet seat, eventually you’re going to want to remove the seat, when relocating or what have you.
- Seat-lid combo. When installing the seat/lid make sure to store the original in a place where it’s unlikely to be damaged. Maybe wrap it in towels and store it in a closet.
- The water supply hose. The water supply hose doesn’t pose a problem because it’s not altered permanently. Rather, it’s only rerouted—when you install the seat, you’ll be instructed to attach one end to a valve that feeds both the bidet and base of the tank—whereas before it was just feeding directly into the tank. Anyway, make sure that the hose remains in good condition before, during, and after the bidet seat is installed and in use.
Bidet Attachments (Seatless Bidets You Attach to an Existing Toilet)
Like with the above variety, bidet attachments are fixed to an existing toilet. But, unlike bidet seats, they don’t replace the seat. Rather, they are installed just beneath the current toilet seat.
If you’re a bit wary of replacing any components of the apartment’s original toilet, even temporarily, this may be the option for you, because, with this variety, the apartment’s commode will remain intact.
This kind is ideal if you want the convenience of bidet seats (no manual spraying) but for whatever reason don’t feel like swapping out the entire seat-lid combo.
This type offers some of the features of the bidet seat, but without the seat. I.e. there’s less altering of the original toilet involved here. Some models are more sophisticated than others, but overall this category of bidet comes equipped with fewer bells and whistles compared to electric seats
Installation will require you to remove the seat-lid combo, but only long enough to add the attachment to the bolt holes, at which point the seat/lid is reattached.
As mentioned above, make sure the fit is correct.
Finally, make sure not to break anything when installing and eventually removing the attachment, and the toilet will be right back to normal whenever you’re ready to remove the bidet for any reason.
Handheld Bidet Sprayers (“Bum Guns”)
As you can see, we’re moving from the most to least sophisticated apartment-friendly bidets.
While models vary, handheld sprayers usually offer very few features, with the most basic being a handheld nozzle that shoots cold water.
It’s minimally invasive and is attached simply by connecting the nozzle hose to a T-valve that feeds the tank and sprayer. Hence, sprayers can be installed in any apartment because it simply re-routs the water without changing any of the toilet’s original components.
This variety is nearly identical to the sprayer located next to most kitchen sinks. For this reason, you may have made similar upgrades to your apartment in the past given that swapping out faucets has long been known to be an acceptable modification in rental properties (reference).
These take many different forms and constitute the most convenient category of all when it comes to bidet use in rental properties.
Not only are they legal to use in apartments, but they require the least hassle. While there are drawbacks (fewer features), implementation of this variety involves zero tampering with the apartment’s original commode.
One great thing about travel bidets is that they’re not only suitable for use in long term apartment rental situations, but are great for transient stays in hotels and properties on Airbnb.
These look like the handheld spray wand variety outlined above. The only difference is that one end is added to a container of water (a bucket, etc.), so there’s no connecting to the apartment’s main water supply.
Some models like the MyPortaWash Model-T portable rechargeable bidet come with their own collapsible water container that can be filled anywhere on the go.
It also contains a water filter to make sure that the water that you’re aiming at your nether regions is as sanitary as drinking water.
Portable Non-Electric Bidets
This kind is fairly new on the scene. At first glance, this variety appears to be the most primitive of the bidet lineup.
It’s non-electric and has very few moving parts. But for those who like convenience, mobility, and ease of use, this kind might be a good option.
There are several different models put out by companies like Tushy and Eco Fresh, and most resemble a flexible bottle of drinking water with a spray nozzle on one end.
Portable Battery Powered Bidets
Another brand called TOTO puts out the best travel bidet that’s more elaborate offering battery-powered spraying and pressure control functions.
This is probably the best option for those looking for the least invasive bidet for use in rental properties like apartments and Airbnb.
But, in general, unless you’re always on the go, a bidet seat or attachment is probably the best option.
Bidets You Can’t Legally Install in Apartments (Without Permission)
Stand Alone Bidets
This kind looks like a separate toilet or sink altogether. I.e. installation would be equivalent to installing an entirely new toilet—an extra toilet, that is—in an apartment or rental property that you don’t own.
Unless the owner happens to want to install one and will allow you to do it because you’re a plumber with years of experience, you have a 0% chance of getting the go-ahead to install one of these.
I’ve always been kind of wary of this variety because it looks like a toilet without a seat or lid. Probably because on more than one occasion I’ve managed to stumble into my bathroom at night and pop a squat with the lights off only to find that the seat was up. It’s a terrifyingly wet and cold experience.
However, they are very popular in some regions and work well when used correctly. They are considered sanitary—enough so as to be used in public restrooms in many different countries.
A lot of folks encounter them in hotels in certain parts of Europe and don’t even know what they’re for.
If this is the kind you’re looking for, I hate to say that you’ll almost certainly need to wait until you have your own place to have one or find an apartment with one installed, which is nigh impossible in some places especially here in the US.
Toilets with a Built-In Bidet
Some toilets are made with a built-in bidet. No separate installation, no attachments, no extra spray nozzle, etc.
Like with standalone bidets, if you want one of these in your apartment, you won’t be able to install one without the consent of the property owner. You’re better off choosing a bidet seat or attachment or locating an apartment with one already installed—good luck if you live in North America.
The landlord would have to be okay with you installing a completely new toilet, and would have to be okay with that toilet being a bidet which may or may not be practical depending on where you live.
One exception to this is if your landlord is planning to replace the toilet anyway. If your current toilet needs a replacement for whatever reason (it’s older or broken beyond repair), you may try your luck at convincing the property owners to replace it with one of these—a possibility not present with the stand-alone bidet.
If your apartment doesn’t currently need a new toilet, and you have your heart set on one of these, you need to consider the price. Your landlord will likely be much more open-minded to the prospect of installing one of these high-tech toilets if it’s communicated that no extra cost will be incurred (i.e. you’re willing to cover the cost).
I’m not sure that any of you reading this would be set on having a toilet with a built-in bidet, because a regular toilet with an installed bidet seat would offer all of the same perks but more versatility given that it could be removed.
This brings us to the next point: having one of these in an apartment would be less practical, as you wouldn’t be able to bring it with you in the event that you move.
In sum, a toilet with a built-in bidet is probably best suited to newly constructed properties or situations where the toilet is to be replaced anyway.
So, there you have it.
If you ask around about the possibility of installing a bidet in your apartment, you’ll probably hear “no” a lot. But, don’t let that discourage you. The most commonly used bidets can be legally installed in apartments.
I think the confusion comes from the fact that there are so many types of bidets. Folks who say “no” may be referring to the installation of a completely new toilet. Or more extreme, a standalone bidet which would take up the other half of the floor space in most bathrooms.
But, the word “bidet” is becoming increasingly synonymous with the various seats and attachments on offer by online manufacturers and home improvement retailers.
Finally, keep in mind that the above is a general rundown of what can be accomplished in most apartments.
But, each country has its own regulations. Depending on where you live, you may need to follow guidelines that govern the use and installation of electric appliances, the presence of electrical outlets in bathrooms, etc.
Anyway, I hope that answers your question. Thanks for reading.