Thursday 22 October 2015

Should you let your tenants decorate?

I often get asked by tenants when they view a property whether they are able to put pictures up on walls. There are actually landlords out there who say “yes, you can pay me thousands in rent but you’re not allowed to put up pictures”.

Having such stringent rules about how a tenant can live in their own home doesn’t really promote a long-term stay. This will naturally create shorter term tenancies, complete with greater wear and tear (which, presumably, is what the landlord was trying to avoid in the first place) and additional void periods.

In my view it’s quite simple; yes, the tenant should respect the property they are renting but for the time they are there they should see it as their home and treat it accordingly.

Before moving tenants in I instruct an independent company to produce an inventory with a thorough description of the property’s condition, complete with photographs.

The tenants can then check through the inventory on move-in day and sign it to show they agree with it. The inventory will specify the state of the property (including the walls) and tenants will then be required to return the property at the end of their stay in the same condition (less fair wear and tear).

If they want to put pictures up on a newly painted wall or indeed paint it another colour, than I don’t have an issue with that. They would simply be instructed to return the wall in the same condition as when they started the tenancy. If it was freshly painted in magnolia and they want to paint it purple, they should just repaint it magnolia when they leave.

If they want to put pictures up, they should fill in the holes when they leave. If filling in a hole leaves an obvious mark, touch it up with matching paint. If the touch up doesn’t match the rest of the wall, paint the wall.

Inspections will soon show if tenants are abusing the tolerances afforded to them and the best tenants will often ask before implementing their desired alterations.

Furthermore, a visit before their move-out with a few pointers as to what may be needed to be done to the property to get it back to the standard required is a good idea. It helps tenants know what is needed to get their security deposit back and should reduce any required maintenance come the end of the tenancy.

As ever, choosing the right tenants is important in allowing them the flexibility to live in the property as if it were their own. This approach should see happy and content tenants wanting to stay longer in the landlord’s house, having turned it into their home.

chichester observer property headline

(This article was featured in the Chichester Observer's property section 

on 22nd October 2015).

Clive Janes, CRJ Lettings.


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  1. I think it is important to consider the ability of the tenant to redecorate to the same standard. I have had many deposit claims due to tenants shoddy workmanship. The walls may have been returned to the original colour but the sockets and skirting boards are still sporting streaks of purple.
    For pictures I suggest 3M picture hanging strips are used as they rarely damage a wall, I even use them in my own home.

  2. Agree with the 3M picture hanging strips; maybe it's an idea to leave a pack as a 'gift' for tenants when they move-in?