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Many tenants spend over £1,000 decorating landlord’s property - claim

A lettings platform claims a substantial number of tenants spend over £1,000 on decorating their landlord’s property. 

Flatshare platform SpareRoom claims that with renters spending more time at home, and rising house prices making ownership less likely, some 34 per cent of tenants in a survey have spent their own money making their landlords’ houses feel like homes. And some 14 per cent of these have spent over £1,000 to put their stamp on a house that doesn’t belong to them.

SpareRoom claims that the research demonstrates how tenants’ willingness to splash their cash on other people’s properties began and grew throughout the pandemic, with 79 per cent of those who spent money on their rental property only doing so since 2020. 


For over half of respondents who have spent money doing up their place - 51 per cent - a major motivation to do this was down to spending more time at home. And one in five chose to make their rental feel more like their own home simply because they can’t afford to buy a house.

What renters have been spending their money on:

-       Decorating (49%)

-       Furniture (48%)

-       Soft furnishings (e.g., cushions, curtains and throws) (8%)

-       Homeware accessories (e.g., vases, mirrors, wall art) (3%)

-       New appliances (3%)

-       New fixtures and fittings (e.g., new doorknobs, cupboards, light fittings, etc.) (2%)

-       Other (2%)

-       Houseplants (1%)

-       External alterations eg garden landscaping or planting, balcony painting (1%)

Matt Hutchinson, SpareRoom director comments: “It’s not surprising that people want to make their rented properties feel like home, given how much time they’ve spent at home over the last two years.

“As people rent for longer, we may well see more and more tenants wanting to have a say in how their properties look. What’s interesting is that more people would be tempted to spend money doing up their rental property if they were offered a longer-term tenancy. 

“In some European countries tenants can decorate their rentals however they like, but shorter tenancies in the UK mean people have traditionally been more reluctant to spend on a property they may need to move from in a year’s time.”

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    I've had to put right some dreadful tenant decorating jobs over the years.


    Yes in 10 years I have never known tenants to do any decorating that has enhanced the property in any way, generally it counts as damage as its had to be repaired before the place can be rented to anyone else. Garish colours and total lack of skill, when they paint a wall they get paint on ceilings, carpets, woodwork etc. Also painting kitchen cupboards and other doors in an amateurish way. Of course they think its an improvement, but its not!!

  • George Dawes

    I agree , painting wooden doors , sticking horrendous stuff all over walls , removing roof hatches without permission etc etc

    After awhile tenants think they own the place , heads up you’re renting not owning !!

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    I don't think buying an extra piece of furniture and a few cushions can really be classed as decorating the landlords property.

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    Garden landscaping, that's a laugh, most don't even keep on top of basic gardening, cutting the grass and weeding as stated in the tenancy agreement. At the end of the tenancy instead of the nice garden that was handed over the landlord has a weed infested area with brambles and a lawn that has been killed by what dog has been doing. Lovely.

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    In the 30 years I've been letting bed sitting rooms to over 10000 tenants most of tenants have caused over £1,000 worth of damage I can only think of a few who have looked after the property and I can count only about 3 who have enhanced the property

    When letting flats to professionals I am surprised so few have spent so little. When I last rented i spent over £3k getting the property as I wanted it

    Jim Haliburton
    The HMO Daddy

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    I had a guy who painted the main double bedroom dark blue to include Walls, Sockets, Switches, Double Glazed windows frames all smudged, Ceiling same blue, Skirting Boards, Back of Door, Pictures rail etc, try changing that back. Some Tenants can do good work to be fair especially from Eastern Europe but the colour will always be grey, inside & out.

  • Theodor Cable

    Was your contract saying they cannot do it unless you are asked?
    If so, they have to have the deposit money back to you to fix what, in my view, is vandalism of your property.

    The need to be made to pay for the repairs.


    Generally the deposit falls far short of the cost, and that's just materials with me doing the work for free

  • Theodor Cable

    You are right Andrew, but with what else can you punish them with?

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    My tenants are all long-term and have asked permission to decorate (it's in their contract) - I've always said yes to them so long as it's reasonable i.e. no black walls and scarlet ceilings. They've always done a decent job - maybe I'm lucky, but as long-term tenants I think if it keeps them happy then why shouldn't they do a bit of sprucing up. My lets are all unfurnished as well so any furniture, etc., they buy is their own so I have no problems with anything they buy there.


    I have one couple, early 70s, who have decorated and made a good job of it, but I've had so many disasters over the years which I've had to put right


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