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Should I allow my tenant to paint?

April 4, 2018

When it comes to decorating your investment property, we always recommend painting in light neutral colours (cream or white).  Neutral colours are a safe option and will more than likely suit every tenant and their furniture.

However, once your tenant has moved in, do you allow them to paint walls, put up pictures or maybe carry out work to the garden if they ask?

Is it a good idea?

A lot of landlords will not allow their tenants to decorate for very good reasons.  When the tenant leaves, you may need to redecorate, and this can cost time and money and possibly having your property empty for long.

The tenants could do a poor job of painting but also make a mess with holes in walls or the garden may not be to everyone’s taste.  Many landlords just do not want to take the risk.

Why do tenants want to decorate?

More and more tenants are staying long term in their rental properties, particularly as many are unable to buy and need to rent.

Long term tenants are good news for landlords as it means stability.  However, for the tenants that wish to rent long term, want to make the property their home and to personalise it as if they owned it.

So, should you allow your tenant to decorate?

Here are a few points to consider before making your decision.

SHORT TERM TENANCY – If your let is on a short-term basis, then we would suggest you should not allow decorating to be carried out.

LONG TERM TENANCY – You may want to think twice as a long-term tenant is beneficial to a landlord.  Allowing the tenant to paint the property will encourage them to stay even longer.  Therefore, allowing your tenant to redecorate can be beneficial to both parties.


Set some ground rules.  The last thing you want is to give your tenants free reins.  Establish a choice of colours, types of paint, what they can or can’t paint i.e woodwork cannot be touched and make sure the decoration will enhance the property.

Draw up an agreement specifically stating what can and can’t be decorated.  Make a list of colours.  Is the tenant allowed to hang wallpaper, such as a feature wall, if so, which rooms?  The more detailed the better.  State in the agreement if you want the tenant to put the property back to the original colours at the end of the tenancy.

Just to be clear, we are only talking about cosmetic changes and you should never allow a tenant to make big changes such as replacing a worktop.  Under no circumstances should you allow structural changes such as knocking a wall down.


We always recommend having an inventory at the beginning of a new tenancy and ideally with a check-in into the property.  It should include a detailed description and also photographs of the walls.  This will be invaluable should you allow your tenant to decorate and there be a dispute at the end of the tenancy, particularly if it is agreed the tenant is to put the property back to its original colours.

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