Tenant Redecoration – My tenant wants the wood cupboards in the kitchen painted white. She is prepared to do it herself or get in a painter she knows. I am not sure how to respond to this request. She is a good tenant and I do not want to seem unreasonable. She wants to use emulsion paint, however I do not think this is suitable. I should be glad of any opinions on this subject.
It’s always a difficult one when tenants ask can they decorate, especially when they have just moved in – you just don’t know how long they are prepared to stay to make the change worthwhile.
But perhaps the biggest worry is the standard of work they will produce and will they sympathetically match your colour scheme?
Generally neutral colour schemes are best suited to rented properties as they match almost all furnishings and fittings, but there often lies the problem – tenants sometimes what to personalise the colours in their own in garish shades.
Tastes vary considerably, and people have differing opinions on tasteful decor and what’s a good quality job – what is an appalling abomination to some may be quite favourable to others.
When it’s a good long-term tenant that’s asking, the landlord is torn between keeping the tenant happy and risking the longer-term problem of having to remedy any substandard work, or ill matching decoration, when it comes to re-letting.
Having a really good inventory, especially one containing photographs, ideally produced independently, is a vital starting point for any tenancy. Not only does it safeguard you should this kind situation arise, it’s an absolute necessity if you are going to retain a deposit in the event of a dispute through the Tenancy Deposit Schemes.
A tenant wanting to make this kind of change must be made aware that the work must be done to an acceptable standard, in agreed shades, and that any remedial work required, should she fail to meet the required standard, would be down to her. The fact that she thinks painting wooden kitchen cabinet doors in emulsion paint is acceptable indicates that she does not recognise what is required for a quality job.
Before agreeing to any such change I would be seeking agreement in writing from the tenant that any remedial work required on exit be paid for by the tenant, and that the work be done by a professional, preferably one specified by you.
Alternatively, unless the kitchen is already in a bad state, just say no!
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