Tenant FAQ: Can I decorate my rented flat or house?

Short answer

No, not without permission.

Longer answer

Especially if you have a longer lease, or are planning to stay for the long term, decorating the way you want can make rented accommodation feel more like home.

Here’s some quick tips and pointers:

  • Graffiti on a wallCheck your tenancy agreement – if this says anything about decorating it’s important you follow it.
  • If your agreement does not say anything, always ask your landlords permission first. Depending on the landlord, be prepared for them to decline. This is most likely if they have recently decorated, or if they believe you are not planning on staying for long.
  • Let your landlord be involved if they want to be. Some will want to check your choices for colours before approval, so ensure you get samples before splashing out on all the paint or wallpaper.
  • Be prepared for your landlord to request that you use a professional decorator, unless you can show you know what you are doing.
  • Your landlord may insist you return the property back to it’s original decoration at the end of your tenancy so you will need to be prepared to do this, or pay for it to be done.
  • Adding new picture hooks will damage the walls, so ask permission before breaking out the hammer. Of course you could use the existing hooks or non-damaging options (although avoid adhesive pads or blu-tac as it will leave marks).
  • Be careful not to mark other fittings or furniture – move everything out, use dust sheets and making tape where needed.
  • The same rules apply for any furniture that came with the property.

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