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  • Property-a-holics

    Tenants Want to Re-Decorate Property

    Hi All

    A couple of days ago I received an email from the managing agent advising me that the tenants who have lived in the house 3 years now want to freshen it up by re-decorating and want to know if I'm prepared to contribute to the cost. I was quite surprised by this as I couldn't understand why anyone would want to re-decorate a property that they don't own. I am open to this but as I've never encountered this before I'm seeking advice from the very experienced landlords/landladies here. Have you experienced this sort of request? If so, how did you deal with it? Are there any pitfalls that I should be aware of? How much contribution should I offer? How do I ensure that the paintwork is carried out to a good standard (the man is not a decorator)? I want to ensure that only neutral colours are used (white/magnolia). Should I specify the quality of paint to be used? The property was fully refurbished just before they moved in 3 years ago so I'm a little surprised that it needs to be "freshened up" already.

    I look forward to getting your advice on this.

    Summer
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    Hi Summer,

    First of all, if you are using a fully managed service, your lettings agent should be supplying you with quarterly inspection reports , with photographs, showing the condition of the property.

    If not, you could ask the lettings agent to arrange an inspection to see what needs doing.

    I regard it as a good sign that the tenants want to re-decorate. It is a signal that they care about the property and probably want to put down roots and stay long term.

    I would arrange two quotes for the redecoration and agree on colours etc. in advance.

    Depending on the amount of work that needs doing, you could then offer to make a contribution.

    Keeping tenants happy is cheaper than suffering a void and keeping your property in good condition by doing things little and often is also far cheaper in the long run.

    So, overall, I would say this is good news all round. You just need to understand what needs doing, and then work out with the tenants the costs and what you will contribute.

    I would pay for professional decorating, rather than let the tenant do it, as they may not do it to a high enough standard. Smile

    Money well spent in my opinion.
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    Thanks Vanessa. The property is fully managed and I do receive quarterly reports but not photographic. The last report simply said that the property was in "average" condition.

    Summer
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    I would stipulate colour palette & if they want anything different then they need to either put it back or pay for it to be put back to neutral at the end of the tenancy.

    I remember renting a studenty type flat & while we were all at work/college, a friend came & redecorated our lounge room with bright pink walls & matt black paintwork on all the lovely sash windows, picture rails & cornicing as a 'thank you' for letting him stay a week. At the end of the tenancy we didnt put it back or even lose any of our deposit but it was Brixton 1985 & I think that with the rioting going on they were just happy to get the property back in one piece!
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    I agree with Vanessa that this is a positive move from your tenant,
    However................. Your tenant is responsible for the interior decoration of the property, however, as a managing agent and landlord, my response would be "yes you can freshen up the property", using neutral colours and to a professional standard, the tenant must be told that overpaint on radiators skirting etc will not be tolerated, and if they feel they are unable to meet the required standard, they must employ the services of a decorator.

    When the tenant has finished, it should be inspected by the agent to ensure that it meets the required standard.
    Vanessa makes the point that voids are costly, but so is moving house for a tenant and to the right tenant, these are reasonable requests, that comply with the tenancy agreement you both signed.
    Any costs outside of your legal obligation to the tenant come off your "profit margin".
    What if the boiler breaks down the week after you have paid for the painting? (sods law) The cost of replacing it comes off your profit and legally you are obliged to replace it, but if you have spent the money on painting, you may be left short of money.
    Situations like this occur all the time between landlord and tenant, the other grey area is repairs, if there is a leak under the sink, or the drains block, legally your tenant is obliged to pay for this, but they will come to you for it sometimes.

    Hope this gives you both sides of the coin and you make an imformed decision.

    Richard
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    A bit alternative i know but I give all my tenants a free hand to paint what they like. The majority of properties I buy are in dire need of a paint job anyway when bought cheaply and a new tenant is an enthusiastic tenant. If they are strapped for cash i will pay for the paint but the labour is all free. The more they have a free hand the longer they stay. My theory is is that even if they do a yucky colour or dont cut it in properly does it really matter. No one suffers .

    I`ve no plans to sell and if in 30 years i did does it matter if 5 different tenants have done 5 bad paint jobs in that time. Each one paints over the last. Everyone thinks the previous tenant had bad taste but theirs taste of course is great. I have a fixed smile when i see their efforts and always congratulate them on their exquisite taste.

    I will have to mag it throughout anyway when finally vacated in 30 years before marketed so I let them paint their skull and crossbones if thats what they want. I had a lovely clashing red and green effort the other week. They also added a 3 foot high painted ace of spades card as a feature mural. I`m sure it will be all the rage in 30 years time!
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    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com

    Thank you everyone for taking the time to give me advice on this matter. Jonathan, that is an interesting approach and I think I'll adopt the same.

    Summer
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    Tenants who want to redecorate are more likely to be in for the long haul. Other than that, anything is possible. A sudden change in family life could mean they need to move on. Depending on the property I would either take Jonathan's position or something close to Richard's.
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    John Corey 


    I host the London Real Estate Meet on the 2nd Tuesday of every month. 11 years and running. If you have never been before, email me for the 'new visitor' link.

    PropertyFortress.com/Events

    Also happy to chat on the phone. Pay It Forward; my way of giving back through sharing. Click on the link: PropertyFortress.com/Ask-John to book a time. I will call you at the time you selected. Nothing to buy. Just be prepared with your questions so we can use the 20 minutes wisely.

    Thanks for your input.

    Summer
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