Should landlords let their tenants redecorate?

Decorator paintingWith property prices going through the roof it’s harder than ever for first time buyers to get a foot on the property ladder and tenants are renting for longer and longer periods. Landlords are often reluctant to let their tenants decorate, but transforming a house into a home can benefit everyone involved.

A recent report has revealed that over 40% of tenants would be happy to pay more rent if they were allowed to redecorate their rental property. With tenants willing to pay an average of £150 extra a year, and five million rental properties in the country, that adds-up to a staggering £530 million in revenue that landlords are missing out on.

However, it’s not all about raising rents, as every property investor knows; happy tenants make for happy landlords. Giving tenants a say in the décor encourages them to stay put and to look after the property. Figures show that one in four tenants have been in the same property for at least three years; yet one in five admits they are too embarrassed to have family over because of the state of the interior.

So if it really is a win-win for everyone involved; why aren’t more landlords letting their tenants decorate? It seems the answer lies in miscommunication. The vast majority of tenancy agreements have clauses prohibiting tenants from redecorating. However, when asked over three quarters of landlords agreed to let their tenants exercise their creative urges.

While landlords may need time to consider the 19% of tenants who want to add a splash of colour to the walls, other decisions should be much easier; such as 17% who want to hang pictures using screws and the 9% who want to hang posters with Blu-Tack.

If you decide to let your tenants redecorate bear in mind the following:

  • Make sure that the work is carried out to a high standard and hire professionals if necessary.
  • As a landlord you are under no obligation to contribute to redecoration cost, but remember that any expenses can be claimed against tax.
  • Allow tenants to choose from a limited but attractive paint palate; long gone are the days of cream and magnolia.
  • Get a qualified tradesman to do the drilling and avoid expensive accidents with pipes and electric cables.
  • If your tenants want to get really creative insist that everything is returned to the original state at the end of the tenancy. And that means dayglow orange walls will need to be painted white and picture holes filled.

Quoteline Direct is an independent broker specialising in landlord’s insurance. Whether you’re new to the buy to let market, or have a mature property portfolio; we’ve got you covered. To find out more visit our Landlords Insurance pages or Tel: 0161 874 7747 to speak with a member of our team.

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