How Often Should a Landlord Paint a Rental?

Written By PropertyLoop
February 19, 2021

Keeping the décor fresh in your buy to let is always a good idea. After all, no-one wants to move into a new home that looks a little tired and is simply crying out for TLC.  

At the same time if you keep on top of the décor every few years or so then it won’t be such a mammoth job when you do decide to paint the whole property, for instance. 

Freshening up the décor can mean anything from a simple repaint job to replacing furniture and fitting new cabinet doors on a kitchen unit that is starting to look a little dated.  

Of course, the best time to decorate (and make a mess while doing so) is between tenancies so there’s no inconvenience to your tenant. And no embarrassment for you. 

Meanwhile, here are a few tips to get you started: 

Are Landlords Responsible for Interior Painting?

A tenant may ask if they can do it when they move in – but just say ‘no.’ Unless, that is, they are a professional decorator or interior designer. Otherwise, you’re just going to have to paint it all again when they move out (unless they’ve done a good job but, even if they have, chances are it’s not in keeping with the rest of your décor). Repainting means more money – is it really worth the hassle to let the tenant redecorate? Probably not, in our opinion. 

Considering Decorating After Each Tenancy

When tenants move you can spend quite a bit of time looking round your property to see what needs done. Often there is something, whether it’s a paint freshen up or the cushions need replaced etc. You could replace old venetian blinds with new-look rollers to make the flat look more fashionable, for instance. 

Certainly, every five years is a good time-scale for redecorating. You’ll probably need to replace the odd chair or even the sofa or a table too since these will no doubt be looking on the shabby side through wear and tear. 

Keep Paint and Décor Receipts

It’s always a good idea to hold on to any receipts you get for purchasing wallpaper, paint etc. That’s because not only can you use them to claim for expenses in your next self-assessment tax return, but you can also use them as evidence in a tribunal if a tenant tries to claim the décor and furnishing was poor.  

In fact, hang on to any receipts for anything you buy for your buy to let. Certainly, if you want to replace furniture such as a bed or sofa and claim it as a replacement item, then it’s easier for you to do this if you can come up with the original price receipt. 

Go for a Neutral Colour Scheme

You may be tempted to go for a dramatic colour scheme but remember – it’s not you that’s living there. The best type of décor is that which will appeal to the majority of tenants. And that tends to be neutral. That’s because a plain background allows them to add their own touches and preferred colour scheme and which, in turn, makes them feel more at home and likely to stay longer. 

Don’t Go Too Cheap

You won’t want to buy expensive paints or wallpaper but, by the same token, don’t scrimp. Cheap wallpaper tends to look just that and not particularly attractive when up. Paint that cost £1 a pot will be the same – and probably end up looking streaky. Remember, the whole point of decorating is to attract tenants – not put them off. So, go for something mid-priced. This applies to furniture as well. After all, you don’t want to be replacing items six months later because they are of shoddy quality. 

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