Painting and redecorating responsibility

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    Painting and redecorating responsibility


    My tenant went ahead to redecorate and repaint the inside of my small 2 bed flat (leasehold, purpose build type). She only told me afterwards she has done so and sent me all the receipts to ask me to pay for them. In fact she said she had seek legal advice and she is entitled to it. Among all the receipts there are items include 10 tubs of paint colour testers, and 20L of paint, 10 meters of sand paper and other items which I thought is excessive for a 2 bed small flat. Correct me if I am wrong, but is redecorating the inside of the flat my responsibility? I understand my responsibility as the flat owner is the maintenance of the building block/ structure, heater and plumbing and electrical fixtures such as cooker, washing machine etc inside the flat (I always pay the costs for those). Also since we are in a pandemic I can't even physically go to see what she has done inside. What is my best course of action?

    To give some background info- the day she moved in to sign the standard AST tenancy agreement, I had the inventory clerk in to do a thorough inventory report with the condition of everything in the flat, which was already newly decorated at that point (around 5 years ago).

    Any advice/ suggestions greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

    I agree that redecoration is your responsibility and tenants should only redecorate with the LLs permission. If she had wanted you to pay for the materials she should have asked you first and got your agreement. As it stands I don't believe she has any right to ask you to pay for materials.

    On the other hand if she is a good tenant and you want to keep her contributing to the materials might be worthwhile. After 5 years the property might have needed a refresh so she may have saved you that. You could pay what you consider reasonable and say in future she needs to ask you first if she wants a contribution.


      Likewise I doubt your tenant could pursue you for redecoration materials (read your tenancy agreement), and that they should probably have asked for your agreement before undertaking any redecoration.

      These covid times in which we live are an annoyance. In normal times, if I were you, I’d ask to see the work they’ve done. DIY redecoration ranges in quality from ‘professional quality’ to ‘oh no, why did you do that, it will take a lot of hard work to get that back to the state it was in before’. If their work was the former quality (and they had chosen paint with broad appeal), then personally I would reimburse them because they’ve done (you) work for free. If the latter I would not and would warn them not to undertake further work without my say-so.

      (In my short tenure as a landlord I have had tenants repainting carefully applied magnolia paint with brown emulsion sloppily applied onto exposed wooden beams, also repainting bedrooms but not behind the wardrobes and finally gloss painting doors without any prep so the paint then came off again in sheets🙄).

      Maybe try to kick it into the long grass - tell them you will inspect their work before deciding but that this will be at an appropriate time in the future.


        Tell her to sack the legal advisor she instructed, as they are clearly wrong,

        1. first instance they should have read the tenancy agreement,
        2. they should have informed you of what they were proposing, down to the colour choice, unless they were going to revert it back to the original colour when the tenancy ended.
        3. If you can, inspect the work,
        4. If the T is not a problematic one, then I would say you will pay a contribution to the costs (not the full costs).

        They have no right to ask you to pay when they didn't inform you, but instead decided to seek legal advise in the first instance.

        These are hard times for all, including T's and LL's, and you could increase the rent to get your costs back.


          You mention that they've been tenants for around 5 years, so the place is maybe wanting a bit of a freshen up by now. If they seem good tenants, and you want to keep them, then I would stump up for the cost of materials (if they've done a good job) as a goodwill gesture (provided they haven't gone mad and bought daftly expensive paint), while at the same time making it clear that you're volunteering to pay, and that you are run no way legally obliged to do so and that they must seek your permission in advance in the future. Wanting you to pay for loads of tester pots is taking the pee IMHO.

          If they have been annoying tenants (the 'you're legally obliged to pay this' line would get my back up), tell them you will not be paying and again tell them not to redecorate without your permission in future.


            Thank you so much and I greatly appreciate your replies.

            I very much wish to see the repainted condition but since I don't know when I could visit (assuming at least a few months later due to the Pandemic), I wonder if I should do a recorded Zoom meeting with her so she could show me what she had done and I can have a visual record? That way I have a better idea of the > £200 worth of receipts she sent me, whether it is reasonable or not. I find it very hard to believe how she could use 20 litre of paint in my small 2 bed flat and I can't see why I have to pay for her to make up her mind of what paint colour she wanted either (there were actually 12 tubs of testers of different colour she bought). For the items and amount she bought I would think there should be a lot of left-over considering the size of my flat.

            I had stated more than once to her she must not go ahead with any work without letting me know first and I should be the one arranging for plumbers etc to do the work and agree the price. Over the years when she asked me to do something I replied almost immediately or the next day but when I asked her about anything I rarely got a reply (or I have to wait for weeks or months). A few years back she told me the mattress I provided in the flat was not comfortable and she went to buy a >£2000 mattress, and then asked me to pay for it afterwards which I refused.

            My intention is to pay for those items on the receipts I find within reasons. If there is any more thoughts of what I should be aware of kindly let me know.

            Very best wishes.


              I wouldn't pay anything at all, personally.
              I'd explain to your tenant that she is not allowed to decorate without your permission (which you might well have given) and is liable for any disrepair caused by her actions.

              You're not liable to pay for the materials at all (any more than you'd be liable to pay for the hammer she broke a window with).

              I'd point out that inspecting the property at the moment isn't practical, and you probably wouldn't fix anything that you weren't happy with until the end of the tenancy anyway.

              Could she please not make changes to the actual property without discussing them first.

              And see what her response is.
              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


                Re the amount of paint, I've just done my home study which measures around 10 x 12, but is an L shape. I used F & B wevet and it took nearly 5 litres on the walls with 2 full coats, so 20 litres doesn't sound excessive.

                However I would most definitely not be reimbursing and would be putting them on notice of a full inspection at the end of lockdown. I certainly wouldn't try to inspect using zoom, it's hopeless.

                As pp have said, a warning that carrying out decorating and other alterations without permission are a breach of their tenancy.


                  For a tenant who has been there 5 years, and looks to be planning to stay longer-term, I think that a fairly gentle approach is more suitable then being difficult for the sake of it.

                  If it was a good job, then it's saved the labour cost of doing it. If it's not a good job then redecorate when they leave - which you would have had to do anyway.
                  (Admittedly, a really bad job can be more difficult to fix - but there isn't any point dealing with that until they leave).

                  Upsetting a long-term tenant for the sake of 20l of paint doesn't seem like a good strategy at the moment.


                    I don't think the painting is really the issue, (although that may depend on the colour and how well it was done). The issue is that the tenant did it without consultation, probably in breach of contract and then implied that she would take legal action if the landlord didn't pay her for the materials. I'm afraid that for me this would be a trust issue and I would need to make that clear in my response.


                      DPT57 Is spot on.
                      The painting isn't the issue.
                      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


                        £200 seems excessive - I have just repainted a 1 bed flat from top to bottom in Leyland magnolia (lovely stuff at £10 for 10L) and one tin of Dlulx Bathroom paint for bathroom & kitchen (£22 for 2.5l).

                        Admittedly white on white & magnolia on magnolia needs only one coat but my cost was about £35.

                        Whatever you decide to do I hope you are raising the rent each year in line with the market.


                          a lot of people think that decorating their homes is a normal, everyday, thing to do.

                          If the tenant has been looking after the property for the last 5 years then I don't see the point of getting worked up over a relatively minor misunderstanding.


                            I think the 'she says she took legal advice' just about says it all!


                              Originally posted by Jon66 View Post
                              I think the 'she says she took legal advice' just about says it all!
                              That used to mean 'a bloke down the pub said....'
                              I guess now it's 'someone on facebook...'


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