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I am a landlady and I give my tenants permission to decorate as they wish. My only stipulations are that it must be done to a high standard and returned to a neutral colour when they leave. My tenants think I’m great! in reality it stops me from having to payout to decorate, keeps them happy, they are long term and everyone is a winner. All a landlord really wants is the property looked after and easily rerentable. My tenants have put down laminate in the hall, at their cost, retiled the kitchen, at their cost, made some changes to the garden, I don’t care, they are modernising the property at no hassle nor cost to myself! They know that they have to leave the laminate down etc so everyone’s a winner. As long as it is done well and leaves it easy to rent out no decent landlord is going to complain.

A friend of mine moved into a property, the carpets were shabby so she had them all replaced but put the old ones in the loft. On moving out a few years later the landlord said he was going to withhold some of her deposit because of the new carpets and more because of “marks on the walls.” A few bottles of wine and a few “magic erasers” and the party soon got every mark removed, the place was immaculate, she then took up the new carpets and put down the old shabby ones again and the landlord was furious! He demanded she HAD to leave the new ones! He still tried to withhold her deposit “for the condition of the worn out carpets” so I personally took him to court to recover the money. The judge described him as a “ruthless, unpleasant character who preyed on the Vulnerable” the deposit was ordered to be returned. The nearly new carpets were given to a charity to help those in need.

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I too was a landlady once, I inherited my mothers house decided to rent rather than sell. As she was a very house proud lady the house was immaculate but in a bit of a time warp, so we replaced the bathroom including all the tiles. Redecorated in a neutral shades from top to bottom and replaced the floral carpets. The kitchen was only 10 years old so was fine. I was going to be a reasonable landlady but I did stipulate certain requirements, the home was to kept in good order and when vacated returned to its neutral colours. My first tenant painted all the woodwork dark brown his idea of neutral. The bathroom had a mirror and a large airing cupboard but he drilled shelves and put attachments everywhere on the new bathroom tiles and when he left he just removed them all, leaving it full of holes. In the kitchen he screwed who nows what on the kitchen cupboard doors, leaving them in a terrible condition. When he hadn’t paid the rent for 3 months I asked him to leave. Before the next tenant I had to re decorate, repair the bathroom and replace the kitchen. 2nd tenants I made a more detailed agreement including no pets. When they left (they decided to buy own property), the carpets where in a terrible state and the house full of fleas. So obviously they too interpreted the agreement differently to me. That was the last straw no more tenants so I sold the house. I know there are terrible landlords around but also spare a thought for the good ones. In my experience lots of tenants don’t care so it’s hard work being a ‘reasonable’ landlord.
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Andrea Sartori Ltd

jannette, I feel for you. I have been on both sides of the tenancy fence- And the best waqy to interpret it is that we are blessed to have a roof over our heads, so the landlords will is paramount. It does cramp our style, but if we cannpot afford to buy our own homes, we have to forgo colourful decor (this article gives grat ideas) or be homeless. I think living with coloured cushions in lieu of coloured wallpaper more than makes up in the balance. If in doubt whether you may or may not- ASK. Landlords are people too.

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