Decorating clause in an AST?

Decorating clause in an AST?

11:52 AM, 19th October 2022, About 2 years ago 12

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Does anyone have specific detail in their ASTs about decorating?

I have a nice flat neutrally decorated about to go up for rent. To avoid botch DIY attempts at redecoration can I say no decoration for the first 6 months and then at my discretion and permission thereafter, but must always be carried out by a professional?

I also have a local guy I use personally so very sure of his work – can I stipulate they must use him to do the work?

The deposits these days don’t match what it costs to put right the right mess tenants can leave behind after they put up wallpaper willy-nilly and slap paint about.



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8:10 AM, 20th October 2022, About 2 years ago

Just say by permission only then you can decide on a case by case basis. Chances are if they want to redecorate it's because they fancy doing it themselves. If you make conditions you may have to pay for it.

I had one tenant who did a superb job and saved me a lot of money and one who thought neutral meant dark grey and terracotta which they patched up in silk not matt leaving blobs everywhere. They thought they had done a good job.

Laurence Stevens

8:20 AM, 20th October 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Puzzler at 20/10/2022 - 08:10
I stipulate No Decorating in my Leases, however by the time ‘Michaelangelo has finished his Masterpiece it’s too late, the damage is done.
I had one Tenant who painted round the Bedhead instead of moving the Bed !
You can’t make it up !
Had so many Tenants telling me they’re a dab hand with a Paintbrush.
Pity they’re not a dab hand with the Sandpaper .

David Smith

9:44 AM, 20th October 2022, About 2 years ago

It’s not unreasonable to have a clause starting “No Decoration” as most AST’s would say anyway.
However if you new tenant is going to stay for many years then I guess you could let them re-decorate as it will probably need doing once they move out.

Dylan Morris

10:26 AM, 20th October 2022, About 2 years ago

I now tell tenants no decorating at all. Have had so many tenants botch my properties up, I’m no longer able to spend the time correcting their work. They paint skirting boards the same colour as the walls going over the white gloss. Same with door frames the wall paint goes all around frames. Paint all on the thermostatic radiator valves as they don’t pop a plastic bag over before painting. Hairs and bits in the paint. Walls and ceilings not cut in properly as they’ve used a 3” brush. Never had a tenant who has the rights skills or time, care and inclination to do anything other than make a complete mess.
I now decorate all my properties in neutral colours (mainly magnolia or very light grey). And I use Wickes Tough & Washable matt emulsion. When tenant leaves I wipe all the walls down with a soft dishcloth and some Flash in a bowl of water. Brings the walls up like new. Then the white glossed areas are wiped down with Sugarsoap. I never used ordinary porous emulsion now. (“Kitchen” paint is the same stuff, it’s grease proof and washable and can be used everywhere not just in the kitchen even in the bathroom). To me the worst thing about being a landlord is the constant decorating when a tenant vacates. But it’s a lot less work now.

Reluctant Landlord

10:39 AM, 20th October 2022, About 2 years ago

Anyone care to share actual clauses in the in AST? Surely if it says 'Decorating will be considered on a request basis only after the first year of tenancy. In all events written permission must be sought and gained before any redecoration takes place' - is that enough?


16:28 PM, 20th October 2022, About 2 years ago

We have a general prohibition, subject to specific agreement, not unreasonably withheld. In practice, few have sought to make changes, one who did wanted to move a radiator and to wood floor the bedroom and his court of protection solicitor even promised full reinstatement, they didn't proceed but I was still left with the DIY paint job on my new white walls and ceilings the lurid orange and lime green, in other words, a total ignoring of tenancy terms.

Reluctant Landlord

17:05 PM, 20th October 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by moneymanager at 20/10/2022 - 16:28
care to share your exact wording please?


10:53 AM, 21st October 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by DSR at 20/10/2022 - 17:05
I just noticed I had posted the following under the wrong thread.

Our AST extract
"Use of the Property, Fixtures and Fittings in a Tenant-like manner

2.11 To notify the Landlord or his Agent as immediately as is practicable of any defect, damage or disrepair which develops or occurs at the Property which might be, or might reasonably be expected to become a hazard or danger to life or limb or to the fabric of the Property itself. The Tenant must not carry out or authorise repairs himself except to take reasonable steps in an emergency to restrict or diminish such immediate dangers or damage.

2.12 To test, at regular intervals, the smoke alarms fitted in the Property. If the alarm is not working to promptly inform the Landlord or his Agent.

2.13 To keep the interior of the Property and all Fixtures and Fittings in the same state of repair, order, preservation, condition and cleanliness as at the commencement of the tenancy (fair wear and tear and damage by accidental fire and the Insured Risks excepted) and to take reasonable and proper care in the use of the Property, its Fixtures and Fittings and not to deliberately damage or alter the Property, its décor, Fixtures and Fittings either internally or externally. Where the Tenant, his invited guests or visitors, are responsible by any action for cracked or broken windows or door glass on the Property, to promptly repair or replace such glass to the required specification and be liable for the costs involved.

2.14 To take care to have replaced as appropriate, light bulbs, fuses etc. as and when necessary during the tenancy and to ensure that all light bulbs and fuses are in place and in working order at the end of the tenancy.

2.15 Not to tamper, interfere with, alter or add to the water or electrical installations or meters, either in or serving the Property.

SMART METERS – Not to permit or request the installation of any such equipment in or in respect of the property.

2.16 If the Tenant brings into the Property any electrical appliance(s), he must ensure they are safe to use. Any electrical appliance which is, or becomes known to be, unsafe or dangerous to either the Occupants or the Property, must not be used and must be removed from the Property immediately by a suitably qualified electrician.

2.17 Not to remove from the Property any of the Landlord’s Fixtures or Fittings without obtaining the prior consent of the Landlord or his Agent. (In order to avoid misunderstandings or disputes later, it is strongly recommended that the Tenant obtains confirmation in writing of any such consent granted). Where such consent is granted, to ensure that any such items are stored safely without damage or deterioration and at the end of the tenancy to return them, within reason, to the same places from which they were removed. Should any part of the Contents be lost, destroyed or so damaged as to be incapable of being restored to its formed condition (except such items as may be destroyed or damaged by accidental fire unless the insurance maintained by the Landlord has been wholly or partly invalidated by any act or default by the Tenant) to compensate the Landlord in damages for replacing the item(s) or replace them with similar articles of at least equal value.

2.18 Not to alter the appearance, decoration or structure of the Property or its Fixtures or Fittings either internally or externally without first obtaining the prior consent of the Landlord or his Agent. Such consent will not be unreasonably withheld. (In order to avoid misunderstandings or disputes later, it is strongly recommended that the Tenant obtains confirmation in writing of any such consent granted).

2.19 Not to fix or hang any posters, pictures, photographs or ornaments to the walls, ceilings or woodwork with nails, glue, sticky tape, blu-tac or similar adhesive fixings other than solely with a reasonable number of commercially made picture hooks appropriate for the purpose and to make good at the end of the tenancy, or be liable for the fair costs of making good any unreasonable damage, marks or holes caused by such fixings or their removal.

In practice we find that people do what they do which is to rarely if ever to read their agreement, the wording is useful though when there is a dispute.

LordOf TheManor

18:25 PM, 21st October 2022, About 2 years ago


For me the whole purpose of painting in neutral colours is to eliminate any 'need' for tenants to paint or even want to. If the property is offered as a clean blank canvas, what is wrong with that? It suits all colours of sofas & soft furnishings so stop there. Don't invite the question of decorating.

My ASTs state 'no painting is permitted without the written permission of the landlord'.

Only once or twice has a prospective tenant asked about colour painting at the viewing stage. I refered them to the AIIC inventory & schedule of condition that they would sign at tenancy commencement....

Any painting agreed by the landlord would need to be of the same standard as at the outset. Any radically different colours they want to insist on would therefore need to be returned to the neutral colour before the end of their tenancy.

My tenants don't paint!


18:49 PM, 23rd October 2022, About 2 years ago

Interesting comment about smart meters. They will all be smart sooner or later. I too don't care for them but as the accounts are in the tenant's name I would be interested to know from a legal angle if it is allowed to prohibit them. I generally recommend they don't get them but presumed I had no right to prevent it

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