Tenant painted rental property

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    Tenant painted rental property

    Hello there,

    I would be grateful for any advice on the below issue.

    Myself and my boyfriend rent a lovely property via a letting agent. We are excellent and responsible tenants; both professionals who work full time, we pay our rent on time, keep the place very clean and tidy and are quiet and considerate. When we moved in the downstairs was painted in very bright colours which were a bit too bright for us and didn't match our furniture. We have since painted it a neutral magnolia (at our own expense), and are planning to repaint everything back to its original colour when we move out so the property is returned exactly as we received it. We did not get permission before painting because we knew that the place would be painted back exactly the same at the end of the tenancy. In hindsight, we should have asked and I am kicking myself for overlooking this point.

    We had a property inspection 5 weeks ago which was graded as excellent (and have since this time re-signed our contract with the landlord for another year). Unfortunately we have today received an email saying that our landlord is very unhappy with us for the painting, even though we plan to repaint at the end of the tenancy. I have rented previously and every landlord I have had has been okay because the property has always been repainted at the end of the tenancy.

    We wish to have a positive relationship with our landlord and want him to be comfortable with what is being carried out in his house and want him to take his house back at the end of the tenancy in the same condition it was received. I didn't ever expect this huge reaction from the landlord as we intend to paint it back to the original colours when we leave. I could understand it if we had painted the whole place black and just left it like that at the end of the tenancy! I also wonder why the landlord brings this up 5 weeks after the inspection and not at the time of the inspection (and after we have all just re-signed the contract for another 12 months).

    My questions are: Can the landlord enforce anything on us to change the décor back now / or can he try to take money from our deposit now, or will he have to wait until the end of the tenancy and see how the place has been left?

    If the house if left spotless (as it will be), and with the original colours back in place, can the landlord still charge us for having painted during the tenancy?

    I would be grateful for any advice on this matter on how to maintain positive relations with our landlord and ensure that both parties are happy with the outcome.

    Thanks

    #2
    How unusual. (It's usually us landlords that insist on Magnolia, and are annoyed when our tenants paint them daft colours. )

    Tell him JK0 says not to be so daft.
    To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

    Comment


      #3
      As long as it's back to how it was on the final check out I can't see the problem. The trouble with a 3rd party telling the LL that the house has been 'painted' is that it congers up all sort of worries.

      My T's asked if they could paint a wall in the bedroom, which was fine. I did an inspection the other day and a feature wall has appeared in the lounge and not done well at all.

      They pay their rent on time and are a nice couple. It's done now so me kicking off and telling them to put it back wouldn't have achieved anything. As long as I get my boring, magnolia on every wall house back at the end of the tenancy I'll be happy.
      "I'm afraid I didn't do enough background checks apart from checking her identity on Facebook" - ANON

      What I say is based on my own experience and research - Please don't take as gospel without first checking the gospel yourself.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks.

        The landlord is aware because the inspector took photos and included them in the report which was emailed to all parties. The work has been done professionally (by my boyfriend's dad who used to be a professional builder). The email came from the letting agent (after the complaint from the LL) so they must agree with the landlord and haven't advised them to wait until the end of the tenancy to tackle this complaint?!

        I just want to ensure that he can't try to evict us because of this and that as long as we make everything right at the end of the tenancy we won't lose our deposit. I am a natural worrier!

        Comment


          #5
          Were there photos when you moved in or does the check-in report say what colour was before you repainted??

          Agent works for landlord (they are "Landlord's agent"..) so it irrelevant is they agree with him or not...

          Landlord can evict tenant for any breach of tenancy (£5 says there;s a clause saying no change to interior etc..) but only with agreement of court & I can't see any judge agreeing an eviction in this case: So landlord will evict using "Section21", Thatcher's "evict a tenant for no reason at all" process.

          However, if place returned - as you say - as was (less fair wear 'n tear) - or better & landlord has no complaint: But it won;t stop him evicting you. If I had a tenant repaint my place without even bothering to mention it beforehand I'd be really p***ed off:.
          I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

          Comment


            #6
            So the LL could evict us for painting a red wall magnolia and then still painting it back red??? WOW! Would a LL actually do that and get rid of otherwise perfect tenants? Wouldn't they just wait until the end of the tenancy and deal with it then?

            Yes, there are pictures/full inventory, etc. The LL and agency are very good and have done everything properly so I can't fault them on the inventory side. We don't want to swindle the LL and get out of repainting over a technicality- we would re paint as a matter of ethics, whether there were photos or not, or whether it could be proved or not (we are just polite like that!!)

            I appreciate that we are technically in the wrong here and that we should not have painted the red wall magnolia! HOWEVER, as we are otherwise excellent tenants (which he can't guarantee to get with the next people, if he does evict us) AND because we are fully willing to return it to the original colour, I feel it is a bit of an overreaction. It is an easy fix and not like we have knocked a wall down or made any massive structural alterations, or ruined the house. It will only take my boyfs dad an hour to paint it back perfectly!! We are very concientious tenants and have also repainted several very scuffed white walls in the house with fresh white paint (thus improving the property), again out of our own pocket, just because we really want a lovely place to live. I know that this is irrelevant to the case, but just to give you an idea of the type of tenants we are.

            The place was empty and on the rental market for 5 months before we took it (and the agent told us it was because of the colours..)

            Comment


              #7
              Sorry- forgot to say thanks for your input before posting my last post!

              Comment


                #8
                It's not possible to return the property to the condition it was in (less reasonable wear and tear) if you repaint it.
                1) The original colours (plus the effects of time) are unique - new paint that's meant to be the same colour won't be the same.
                2) The decor may hold some significance for the landlord - last thing painted by his mother, a decorator, before she died of an overdose of Dulux.
                It was a stupid thing to do without seeking permission.

                To answer your specific questions.
                Can the landlord do anything to make you change the decor back - no, not unless you agree, it's currently your property. He may serve notice if he's unhappy.
                Can he take money from your deposit now - again no. It should be protected and it's your deposit, so he can't do anything with it without your consent.
                You can't leave the property spotless and with the original colours in place - so that question is moot. On the other hand, the landlord can't really restore the property to it's original condition either.

                You should talk to your landlord to see how upset he is and see what it will take to rebuild positive relations.
                To be fair, most landlord like tenants who stay a long time and pay their rent - so hopefully it's just a bump in the road.
                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).

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thanks for your advice. We just want both parties to be happy and rebuild the relationship. We know what paint was used on the red wall as there is a half pot in the attic- we bought a new pot of it to use for the re paint when we moved in just incase they discontinued it. We also didn't want to use the LLs paint. I agree with hindsight that it was a really stupid thing to do, but we were just so excited about moving into our first home together and knowing that we were always going paint it back that we just didn't place that much emphasis on it- we thought it was really minor

                  I appreciate what you are saying about the potential emotional significance of the red paint but would imagine that if the décor held that much significance etc, etc. then they wouldn't be renting out the property!! No, we can't restore the property to EXACTLY the same condition but no property would come back to a landlord in EXACTLY the same state it was rented in (wear and tear etc). I can't imagine many tenants would be happy with a red downstairs so I think he will have to paint it eventually anyway if he wants to rent the place out to other tenants (not strictly relevant but worth mentioning....)

                  I am just stressing out because I don't want to lose our home (I am also pregnant so want to be settled and unstressed and be able to relax and know we have a home for the long term...)

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Adamshouse View Post
                    I appreciate what you are saying about the potential emotional significance of the red paint but would imagine that if the décor held that much significance etc, etc. then they wouldn't be renting out the property!!

                    Maybe your landlord is renting out his former family home because he couldn't sell it. So he is still emotionally attached to the property, and still considers that it is his home.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Adamshouse View Post
                      So the LL could evict us for painting a red wall magnolia and then still painting it back red??? WOW! Would a LL actually do that and get rid of otherwise perfect tenants? Wouldn't they just wait until the end of the tenancy and deal with it then?..be proved or not (we are just polite like that!!)
                      .... ..

                      ...
                      My previous remarks were ...
                      Landlord can evict tenant for any breach of tenancy (£5 says there;s a clause saying no change to interior etc..) but only with agreement of court & I can't see any judge agreeing an eviction in this case: So landlord will evict using "Section21", Thatcher's "evict a tenant for no reason at all" process.
                      - but let me elaborate in two parts ...
                      a) Yes he can TRY & evict through courts for breach of tenancy agreement (painting walls...) but I can't see any judge agreeing to a repossession for just that reason in your case (maybe complete house inside & out in fluorescent green paint might work..). He can do that any time he wants, from day 1...
                      b) But likely he will evict on Thatcher's "No fault" S21 route - but for that would need to wait for the later of end-of-initial-fixed-term or 6 months from start of tenancy before starting legal proceedings...

                      The "wise" landlord cherishes "good tenants" as the alternative usually is financially & emotionally painful: However not all landlords are wise (nor, indeed, are all tenants ...).

                      I went round to see one of my tenants some years ago (all friendly & pleasant): She proudly told me her 12 year old (only) son had painted his room & did I want to see... (no they hadn't asked..). It was a dark blue slapped on really thick with gloopy streaks down the walls: Managed to keep a straight face & didn't have the heart to complain... Still see them from time2time, decent folk... I've had MUCH worse tenants (unlawfully subletting rooms making more money than the rent they should have been paying me but weren't. Tenants who ripped out & stole the carpets when they left thereby levering most of the storage radiators off the walls, tenants who complained to council about condensation & mould which turned out to be from a forbidden gas-cylinder heater.., those who "forgot" to pay their rent .... etc etc etc...).

                      The Housing Act 1988 - of which section 21 is part - swung the power very much in favour of landlords...

                      I merely describe the legal position, not what is right or wrong...
                      I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Ha. I totally agree with your comments about the 'wise' landlord cherishing 'good tenants' (and vice versa!) I just worry because this is a first time landlord and I don't think they know quite how terrible tenants can be and that he is quite lucky with us. I also wonder why he got the inspection report (saw the changes we had made), and then asked to renew the tenancy for another 12 months, and is only NOW after everything is signed, raising this complaint (5 weeks later). We also had another inspection (7 months ago) and nothing was said then either???

                        We REALLY are model tenants otherwise! We would never alter/ paint anything that couldn't be easily rectified. They have lovely wallpaper in the bedrooms and we haven't even put up any of our mirrors/ pictures because we don't want to make holes in the paper (as it can't be fixed). I can understand why she is worried as she might think we are going to flouro green the whole house (we are NOT!!)

                        Thanks again for your help.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I see it as a break down in communication. The letting agent has told you the LL isn't happy which is understandable but you don't know what was actually said. It's unlikely that the LL would have turned around and said to the agent, that's fine, let them do what they want to the house. I take it you're not in contact with the LL. If you've signed another 12 month contract I'm pretty certain if you carry on paying your rent you'll not hear anything more about it.
                          "I'm afraid I didn't do enough background checks apart from checking her identity on Facebook" - ANON

                          What I say is based on my own experience and research - Please don't take as gospel without first checking the gospel yourself.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Adamshouse View Post
                            We REALLY are model tenants otherwise! We would never alter/ paint anything that couldn't be easily rectified. They have lovely wallpaper in the bedrooms and we haven't even put up any of our mirrors/ pictures because we don't want to make holes in the paper (as it can't be fixed). I can understand why she is worried as she might think we are going to flouro green the whole house (we are NOT!!)
                            Yes but in terms of the main thing you are asking -- you cannot return it to its original condition. Even if you could repaint it exactly the original colour the landlord would have the benefit of an extra layer of paint and the inevitable changes to border lines. If every tenant did this it would be a disaster.

                            Frankly if you did this to me I would blow a gasket, kick you out as soon as I could and omit all the various ignorings that I do when dealing with a deposit. What a liberty and a damn cheek to think this is just OK is what I would be thinking.

                            And by the way, holes in paper cannot be fixed (as you say) but neither can holes in walls. A fixed hole is a drilled brick filled with plaster -- it is not "fixed".

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
                              If every tenant did this it would be a disaster......Frankly if you did this to me I would blow a gasket
                              Your disaster scale doesn't seem to have any degree of tolerance. To me a disaster would be a plane full of civilians being shot down, the house being struck by lightening and burning the occupants alive while they slept or something bad happening to my family, rather than a different colour on the wall.

                              Not having a go but do you have long term T's?
                              "I'm afraid I didn't do enough background checks apart from checking her identity on Facebook" - ANON

                              What I say is based on my own experience and research - Please don't take as gospel without first checking the gospel yourself.

                              Comment

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