Our landlord refuses to paint the property we rent

September 2013

Question

We have been renting a property for the past four years and have asked our landlord to paint the apartment as it looks a bit scruffy. Following an inspection he told us that in his opinion the apartment doesn’t need to be painted, but if we want it done we are welcome to do it ourselves once we do a good job.

Do we have any say in this? It clearly hasn’t been painted in at least five or six years. I know we could always move out at the end of the year when the lease is up. If we do, is it likely he will have to paint in any case in preparation for new tenants? But we would like to stay and have been excellent tenants.

Could you please advise if there is anything we can do to change his mind?

Answer

There is no legal basis for a landlord to paint or repaint a property under any timescale, however under the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Act 2008 and amended in 2009, the property must meet a minimum standard. See citizensinformation.ie for further information.

Your interest in the property and its appearance is to be commended, and it is unfortunate that your landlord has responded in the way he has. You are right in your feeling that if you leave he may have to repaint the property anyway. So what can you do?

Yes you can leave at the end of your tenancy but I gather this is not your preferred route of action. You have asked him to do it and he has refused but is willing for you to do it at your own expense. I would not recommend this as if anything should go wrong or if you choose colours which he is not happy with he could try to get you to paint it again once you leave. It is best if he paints the property and perhaps you agree on colours, etc.

It is worth trying to appeal to his sense of duty again and explain to him how this benefits him in the long run. You could share the cost if you felt that was appropriate. If all this fails and you feel strongly enough about it, and that the landlord is falling short on his responsibility, you could take a case to the Private Residential Tenancies Board(prtb.ie). The facts provided by you are not detailed so I would suggest this route of action only if the condition of the property was badly affected. It can be a long process and could deeply damage the relationship between with you and your landlord.

Finally, it may be the case that your landlord hasn’t got the money to repaint the property due to demands on his finances from mortgage payments or service charges or taxes etc so please also bear this in mind. A fair negotiated solution which gives you a nicer home and gives the landlord a happy and content tenant would be the best solution for all.

Fergal Hopkins is a member of the residential property professional group of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland