How much can landlord charge for painting UK

How much can landlord charge for painting UK

One of the perks of living in a rental property is having a  landlord to ring when something in the house needs fixing.  Washing machine leaking? Not got heating? You know who to call.  And while it’s nice they’re there to keep everything in working order, sometimes the bill is yours to pay, and it can end up costing a little more than you expected. Who knew the tea you spilt in the living room would mean paying for the whole carpet to be cleaned?

A cost that can often catch tenants out is if their landlord decides the place needs repainting. All kinds of marks can end up on your walls from just living in your flat - but when does it count as damage? If there were marks already on the walls when you moved in can you be charged for them? Should your landlord have painted in between tenancies? The world of wall painting can get pretty blurry, so we’ve broken down what you need to know if your landlord is charging you for painting.


Can landlords charge you for painting?

If you’re coming to the end of your tenancy and are thinking about your deposit, you’ve probably heard the phrase “normal wear and tear” hundreds of times. This is the fuzzy line that divides what your landlord pays for and what’s taken out of your deposit. Normal wear and tear will cover just the unavoidable damage from living in a property over time. When it comes to painting it’s usually along the lines of faded or chipped paint, and maybe a few small scuff marks. If your landlord decides the place needs a new paint job because of this, it could be on them. They shouldn’t be able to charge you.

If your landlord wants to paint over something they’re classing as damage, that’s when you might have to pay up. Anything that wouldn’t naturally occur over time and is listed on the inventory from the beginning of your tenancy could count as damage -  so it’s really important to make sure your inventory is up to date when you move in! This kind of damage can be anything from painting over the mural you added in your bedroom, to covering the scribbles your toddler drew in the kitchen.

Sometimes damage can occur and it’s not down to you, but it’s the landlord’s negligence instead. For example, if you told them about a leak which has left water stains down your walls and they didn’t act quickly enough. Even though this goes beyond normal wear and tear, you shouldn’t be charged for this. It’s your landlord’s responsibility to act once you’ve notified them of the issue. Try to keep a written record of when issues like this occur and when you alerted your landlord. That way if they try to charge you for the damage you can dispute it.

You can also dispute it if your landlord is trying to charge you to paint over damage that was already there when you moved in. This is where your inventory and any pictures you took when you moved in will come in handy. With sufficient evidence, your landlord should not be able to charge you for the damage. Check out our posts on How to ask for a rent deduction due to disrepair and UK tenants right on repairs for more on this.

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How often should a landlord decorate UK?

When you move in, your rental property should be in good condition - and that includes the walls! But should you expect a fresh paint job every time, do landlords have to paint between tenants?

Unless otherwise stated in your tenancy agreement, it’s up to your landlord to take care of decorating their property. That doesn’t mean they’re going to be picking out the perfect shade of Farrow & Ball for your bedroom - in this case decorating just means making sure the interiors of the place are up to scratch. It usually covers things like painting the walls and keeping furniture in good condition. Some landlords might also let longer-term renters personalise the place to make them more likely to stay.

There’s no legal requirement for landlords to redecorate on any time frame, but the general rule of thumb is to spruce up the place roughly every 5 years and to do it between tenancies. It keeps the property’s value up, and when it’s looking fresh it’s easier to attract new tenants. For more information on What adds value to a house check out this post.


How much is painting  going to cost?

So you reckon your landlord is going to paint over the scratch your bike left in the hallway - now the big question is, what’s it going to cost you? It’s worth keeping in mind that your landlord probably won’t go for the cheapest option as they will want the repainting to be of a decent quality. Also, once they decide to repaint, it’s likely they’ll decide to do the whole room, unfortunately patch-up jobs probably won’t cut it.

The amount you’re charged usually depends on how many rooms need re-doing, and how many painters your landlord gets in to do the job. It’s always worth researching the rates of painter/decorators in your area to get a feel for the prices, but a general estimate is around £150-£200 per day per labourer. Keep in mind they’ll probably need to do multiple coats, so you’re looking at at least two days’ worth of work.

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A few final tips…

Coming to the end of your tenancy it can feel like there’s a lot to deal with, read our 20 top tips on how to keep your rental deposit to help navigate the ins and outs of getting your deposit back.

Landlord won’t let you paint the walls? Still want your rental property to feel like home? Check out these 10 great tips to make your rented flat feel like home.

If you’re looking for your next place to rent, our House viewing checklist for renters and Top 10 questions to ask when viewing a rental property can help you on your mission to find the perfect property.