Picture holes when moving out - have permission, what to do?

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    Picture holes when moving out - have permission, what to do?


    I've tried to search through the forum but I haven't found an answer to my specific question. I've tried to include as much detail as possible so sorry if this is long.

    We are moving out in 3 weeks and we want to make sure we get our deposit back. Our landlord is a bit of a difficult guy (and the cheapest man I've ever met). We've never had any of our deposit held back in the past and always take care of rental flats like they were our own. In fact, the owner brought by some estate agents and they were surprised and commented on what great condition we had kept the flat in.

    The only thing I'm worried about is some picture holes. The flat was repainted before we moved in. Our original lease says that we are not allowed to put up anything on the walls, however, before signing I discussed this with the landlord and he agreed it would be ok. I have an email from him which states:

    "Just to confirm that it is Ok to put some pictures up in the flat – I would just ask you use appropriate fixings, eg not blutak."

    We ended up putting 16 holes in (it's a 2 bedroom flat - 9 in the living room, 1 in one bedroom, 6 in the hallway) and most are the small picture holes (=1mm width) with 7 being a bit larger due to a very solid wall which bent the smaller nails (holes are still less <4mm).

    Will he be able to deduct fixing this from our deposit (it is protected) or is it considered 'wear and tear' since he authorized it? Should we remove the nails and fill the holes? My husband is quite handy but I'm worried about the painting and it not looking exactly the same.

    My landlord and I are currently not on great terms because he wants to be able to come by whenever he likes. I work from home so have asked for 24 hours notice, he says he doesn't have to give it to me and ended up yelling at me on the phone last night. I do not want to ask him for his opinion on what to do because I feel like he would try to take advantage of the situation.

    Any help is greatly appreciated! We are good tenants (always pay on time, are always accommodating, etc.) and have never had to deal with someone like this before so I am just cautious about losing out on our deposit.
    Last edited by RoadRunnerMeekMeek; 01-09-2014, 15:04 PM. Reason: I can't read a tape measure...

    10 -30mm holes?

    Since you didn't clarify what "appropriate fixings" are, then you are somewhat stuck.
    Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong


      Sorry, I meant 1-4mm!

      I just want to make sure I understand, I''m the tenant, I should have clarified appropriate fixings? Also, by stuck do you mean that we should fix it (I've read here how loathe landlords are to have tenants fix holes themselves) or that he will deduct from the deposit?


        Do you have the matching paint?

        Get a gift card, old cash card, membership card, whatever. Get some pre mixed filler in a tube. Put about half a pea size filler on the card and smear it across the hole. Scrap any excess with a clean part of the card and give a little sanding then a paint. Easy job.
        "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.


          nope, don't have the original paint though my husband thinks we should be able to match it from the Wicks or B&Q?


            Originally posted by RoadRunnerMeekMeek View Post
            my husband thinks we should be able to match it from the Wicks or B&Q?
            You'll struggle to do that if you don't know what the original was - considering that different batches of identical brands of paint can look detectably different, if you don't even know that brand...

            You could ask the landlord, who may have a bit of left-over paint for such purposes (I do!) or at least be able to identify what was used. Whatever you use, I'd keep the area that you actually paint to an absolute minimum in order to make the repair as near to invisible as possible. Stipple the paint on with an almost dry brush.

            (I always thought the RoadRunner went 'MeepMeep'?)


              If you have a written agreeement saying that you can put picture fixings on walls without mention of re-instating the wall, I don't think you have any obligation to: you can just leave the fixings on the walls when you leave.


                I have allowed 1 of my tenants to use picture hooks as I know she is a DIY fiend and will fill the holes appropriately when she leaves. I would expect to re-paint. In other properties I have left hooks in and new tenants use them - that is very successful.

                RoadRunner - I think you will struggle to match the paint so I would ask the landlord to call by and discuss what he would like you to do - that sounds quite reasonable to me. He may well want the hooks/pins left.

                If you do have to remove the hooks and the leave small holes, buy a light weight ready mixed filler from your local DIY shed (Polycell do one) use a thin plastic card (often supplied) to fill and then wipe over gently, immediately with a damp, clean J cloth. This removes the need for sanding and 'spreads' the filler thinly and evenly making it remarkably less noticeable. Try it!

                Freedom at the point of zero............


                  Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
                  If you have a written agreeement saying that you can put picture fixings on walls without mention of re-instating the wall, I don't think you have any obligation to: you can just leave the fixings on the walls when you leave.
                  I think that's debatable - the landlord would no doubt argue that it goes without saying that the wall needs reinstating. And I suppose, on the flipside, it could be argued that under these circumstances it would be best for the tenant not to attempt to repair at all (as no mention of re-instatement in the permission letter), since anything less than a perfectly invisible repair could potentially give the landlord ammunition to claim for putting that right!

                  Ultimately it comes down to what the deposit scheme adjudicator thinks - I'd be interested to know.


                    Thank you for all the comments and suggestions!

                    Hmm, I'm still not sure what the best remedy is then. I'm nervous to ask him for paint because I think he'll use that as ammunition. I'm tempted to just leave the wall as is and pay whatever the inventory clerk (they are the ones who will make the call?) says if it's in reason. What would be reasonable for 17 small holes? Maybe they will rule in our favor (that there's no obligation to reinstate the walls) since there are no hooks anywhere in the flat and I think putting up pictures is fair when you're renting (I know not everyone here agrees).

                    Would it be worthwhile to just fill the holes as suggested by some members but not paint? My husband could easily do that (he's worked in construction for years when he was younger and helping out family) and I think there's little we could mess up there.

                    (P.S. Roadrunner does say 'Beep Beep' but my landlord's actions lately have made me feel 'meek'!)


                      It seems that you're nervous of doing anything in either direction.
                      First of all, I've had tenancies which have included fines of £10 per hole if not repaired before leaving (not in the UK). So as both a landlord and a tenant, I think it's totally reasonable for a tenant to be responsible to repair such 'damage' if they make it, providing you feel competent.

                      If I were you, as your LL likes to pop by sometimes, invite him around for a cup of tea (no joke, make him feel sweetened) and to discuss what he would be happy with. As suggested, he might have a tin of that paint in storage and would be happy for you to fill and paint.
                      If he's not happy with that, then come to an agreement of what he's happy with, including the option of paying him a lumpsum 'fine' if he wants to do it himself, just get it in writing and signed by you both. Either way, I think you should try, no harm in being up front.

                      As a tip for the future, avoid holes by using the 3M hooks which can be removed by pulling the adhesive tab. Very clever and I've had great success with them if you apply them well.


                        Thanks for the tip about the 3M hooks - we had thought about using something similar originally but the paint on the walls is very cheap and comes off when you rub it - we were worried that after a year of having something stuck to it the damage would be worse!

                        Unfortunately he's not amenable to coming by and chatting - he is straight business and only comes by now because he's showing the flat and/or painting or fixing something. He's very rude and condescending when he talks to us and it's quite difficult to get a straight answer out of him. I think if I tried to have an honest conversation about it with him he would find some way to twist my words and make us pay significantly more. I've never had issues like this with landlords before - I can't wait until we're out of here...


                          It's a very tricky situation you're in then and I can understand that you feel unsure which way to turn.

                          In that case, I would dig out the email exchange that you had with him, make a polite phone call referring to that, and ask him how he would like you to deal with the holes. Then, hopefully if that is agreed, back it up with a further email, 'as discussed and agreed'.
                          Not sure what else you could do, he can either say he will repair and charge, so how much? Or be happy with your skilled repair.

                          Let us know how you get on.


                            I always put loads of pictures up 'with permission' as long as I make good before I leave, which I always have.

                            There are lots of videos on Youtube which will show you how to get a really good finish for repairing the walls after taking pictures down. It is time consuming but only fair to the Landlord.

                            My Landlords have always given 48 hours notice to come to the House. Look in your tenancy agreement. He sounds a little unreasonable but you don't know what's going on in his life at the moment so treat him with kid gloves.

                            There is always a way to resolve conflict and it means not getting heated yourself or over reacting. If anything use your skills to calm the situation by being cooperative and flexible as much as possible, within reason.


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