Making good to the original decor?

Making good to the original decor?

16:12 PM, 13th February 2023, About 10 months ago 10

Text Size

I currently find myself in quite an unusual situation, please could I kindly ask what, if any experience, do the readers have of this?

My Tenant of 4 years has given notice to end the tenancy.  The original letting agent closed their offices in the town some 3 years ago, the company went into bankruptcy and was “struck off” at Companies House last year.

At the beginning of the tenancy, the letting agent (who was also the daughter), asked if her mother could redecorate the property.  We exchanged a few emails and it was agreed to but on the condition it was later restored to the original neutral colours and words to this effect should be in our Tenancy Agreement.

After the agent closed their business the tenancy went to periodic, everything was fine, the tenant was very good, and rent was paid on time. Until last year when I raised the rent, by £50 (10%) the first time and in line with the market rate. The daughter demanded a Section 13, and started to get a little awkward, although the tenant herself had agreed with no issues raised.

During several exchanges with the daughter, I then recall never having been provided my copy of the AST from back in 2019.  So I asked, and asked.  Eventually, after 3 months I was sent 3 pages, just random ones, not the entire contract.  One of the pages made reference to the redecoration clause, but only by number, under the paragraph – “Circumstances When a Landlord Can Make Deductions to the Deposit”

So I issued a new 12-month agreement with the new rent, and sent it to the tenant by recorded delivery with a pre-stamped envelope for return by post.  Despite the tenant assuring me it was posted last September I never received it.  So I sent another copy by email, but there was no response.

I then had to look at transferring the deposit held with the DPS over to my name, as the agents were insolvent.  Neither the tenant nor her daughter (as the ex-agent) would help, in fact, quite the opposite.

So my questions are, without my own copy of the tenancy agreement, nor very possibly any pre tenancy check in report from 2019 how can I go about the redecoration back to its original?

I did message the tenant and she agreed that it must be restored, informing me she has ordered the paint.  But I don’t really want or trust her to do this herself.  Also, she has wallpapered over the original walls, and I don’t want her to paint over this.

When I presented this scenario to the daughter, that she must have the documents, she gave me the email and phone number of the owner of the now insolvent company.  I have rung and emailed without any response.  However, the daughter continued to work for the guy well after the business ended, on another project so, therefore, must still be in contact.

Thank you kindly in advance for any advice or your thoughts, please.


Share This Article


David Houghton

10:18 AM, 14th February 2023, About 10 months ago

This is one of the problem with agencies. If you haven't got clear evidence of the property conditions it's probably not going to be worth the argument.

Make a deduction to the rent if you feel appropriate. If she does not agree it will go to the DPS alternative dispute resolution service. It's a free service and both of you are free to submit your best evidence.

Or you could just let it slide for good will, consider it wear and tear over 4 years. That would probably be my choice.

Either way say nothing till you have the keys back and inspected it.

Paul Baker

11:21 AM, 14th February 2023, About 10 months ago

I have always been very relaxed about redecoration. My view is that if a tenant stays for 4 years, even if they have looked after the property and not made any changes, the chances are I am probably going around repainting it anyhow so it looks fresh for the new tenants.

If you insist on the tenant redecorating it back to neutral, the chances are that the tenant is not going to be as good at painting as you would like, and will not take as much care either.

Therefore, in my properties, if a tenant has indicated they are staying long term (2 years plus), I let them paint it however they like (it is their home after all), & I will repaint once they leave, even if they have not done anything.


11:31 AM, 14th February 2023, About 10 months ago

I rented an office and the neighbouring office was leased to a food chain that decided to vacate. My landlord was licking his lips at the prospect of all the money to be made from charging for "delapidations". Considering the state of the office I leased, I expect the office next door was in a similar state at the outset.

Your story reminds me of that. Just let it go and don't be that type of landlord.


12:12 PM, 14th February 2023, About 10 months ago

Don't lose sight of the big picture.
I've always believed that long term equity growth on a property are the pounds in this business and rent and monthly profits are the pennies.
If the relationship is now problematic the important thing is to get the property back.
Sometimes you do have to take it on the chin a little, but as previously mentioned after 4 years you would usually be looking at least a partial redecoration.
If it were me I would get the house back, make deductions if it was necessary and fair from the deposit and at the same time appraise them of their rights to take you to arbitration over it.
Spend one lot of time on it and move on.
Within your evidence include your email chain and the new tenancy agreement, if you have proof of delivery from the recorded delivery then the fact that the signed copy never arrived back to you is not as relevant.
Just treat it as a fire and forget and don't get wound up about it. This sort of thing is very much part of what we do I'm afraid and as annoying as it is at the time in a years time it's a story to be told down the pub.

Karl Wilson

12:52 PM, 14th February 2023, About 10 months ago

I think I'd be glad to be rid of this tenant as they are not co-operating or communicating with you. Let them go, and then decorate yourself.. just be glad they are gone and your can move on without it getting more bitter & twisted.

David Houghton

15:19 PM, 14th February 2023, About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Martin at 14/02/2023 - 12:12
Yep, that's the way. As a policy we return deposits in full because it creates goodwill. Some of my tenants even come back to me later lowering my risk. It also cuts down on my advertising because I get so many referrals

Simon M

16:33 PM, 14th February 2023, About 10 months ago

I used to have an agent who used DPS. Their criteria for redecoration are based on the type of room and length of tenancy. If your only claim is for redecoration after 4 years, DPS arbitration will award so little it wouldn't be worth your time to claim.

You must forget the new tenancy agreement - there's no obligation on the tenant to agree a change of terms and you would have no rights.

Be pleased when the tenant vacates on time.

Neil Patterson

9:28 AM, 15th February 2023, About 10 months ago

On behalf of BB:

"Many thanks to Martin, Simon, David and those others for replying with your advice, opinion and kind words of support, I am very grateful.

Sorry I got my dates wrong, actually the tenant has been there for just 3 years, NOT four as I said. It was fully renovated in June 2018, so not 5 years ( have receipts to prove). The tenant has wallpapered over the walls, which will be more time consuming to remove, at a cost to me in additional labour. As I am employing some one.

She is ignoring my messages and calls to arrange the keys to be handed over on the date agreed as her departure.

I also would be curious to know of my legal position with "Implied Contract", so if any Legal Eagles out there wish to respond, or even Mark? Given the tenant received, read, signed and returned the new AST in September, (though it never arrived), would this therefore be seen as an "implied" agreement? So too she increased her rent in line with the new contract therefore accepting the new terms.

So in the absence of any other legal contract, would I be able to enforce "implied in law" ?

Thanks again,

David Houghton

9:42 AM, 15th February 2023, About 10 months ago

My old boss taught me many things. He was the 2nd youngest Fellow of the IMechE. Two of the most important were making your first million is the hardest and never litigate.

He was right on both counts.

Yes you can use the email history as your best evidence in ADR,. Is it worth it? Possibly not. Your tenant then has to agree to ADR. If not it's the county court. You can use MCOL which is a bit easier. After that you have to trace your tenant, and enforce judgement. It's much easier to lose more than you could possibly gain

Judith Wordsworth

8:50 AM, 18th February 2023, About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 15/02/2023 - 09:28
I was taught in contract modules that a binding contract process is that the landlord sends the tenant 2 copies of the tenancy agreement to sign, or if doing in the checkin in the tenant signs first, but not dates. You then sign and date both copies and give one to the tenant. (Offer and acceptance)
The tenant then hands the landlord, or already BACS'd, the deposit and X months in advance rent as agreed. (Consideration).
Substitute landlord for letting agent if LA is acting for the landlord.

I have always followed this way and so always had a signed and dated copy of the tenancy agreement or the renewal agreement. On renewals I've posted the 2 copies got the tenant to sign and return in the sae provided and then I return 1 completed (signed and dated) copy back to the tenant.

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now