Call for ACT tenants to put up pictures and paint homes without landlord permission

Glynis Quinlan 11 February 2021 104
The ACT Greens want tenants to be able to paint their homes and put up picture hooks without needing landlord permission.

The ACT Greens want tenants to be able to paint their homes and put up picture hooks without needing landlord permission.

The ACT Greens are calling for tenants to be able to ‘make a house a home’ by being permitted to make minor modifications to their rental properties without needing the consent of their landlords.

The proposed minor modifications or alterations include installing picture hooks and furniture anchors, painting and putting up shelving.

Sections 67 and 68 of the Residential Tenancies Act states that the “tenant must make no alterations and must not add any fixtures or fittings without the written consent of the lessor” but the alterations are not defined.

“The vast majority of renters do the right thing by their landlords—they pay rent on time, and they provide a not insubstantial bond as insurance,” said Greens Housing spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur.

“As long as any fixtures and fittings are removed at the end of the tenancy and any damage to the property rectified, then you shouldn’t need to seek out written permission from your landlord.

“This is all part of making a house a home,” Ms Le Couteur said.

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“The Greens are committed to ensuring there’s a reasonable balance between the rights of landlords and the rights of tenants, particularly at a time of housing crisis.”

According to Ms Le Couteur, almost one in three Canberrans (31.8 per cent) live in rental properties and recent research from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute has found a national trend towards more private renters with children, more middle-aged renters, and more long-term renters (10+ years).

“There are also safety implications to consider,” Ms Le Couteur said.

“We don’t want renters to avoid implementing key safety actions, like securing furniture that could injure young children.”

Ms Le Couteur said that in France, Sweden, and Italy tenants have the right to make minor alterations and improvements to the property without asking the landlord’s permission.

“The Greens do have a range of concerns with gaps in the Residential Tenancies’ Act, which the community regularly tell us about,” Ms Le Couteur added.

“We know that the Attorney-General is bringing forward legislation very soon, so we will wait and see which issues the Government addresses in their bill. We look forward to drafting amendments to address these community concerns.”

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104 Responses to Call for ACT tenants to put up pictures and paint homes without landlord permission
Mirabai Rose Mirabai Rose 12:48 pm 20 Oct 18

Yes! Its crazy what we pay and are not allowed to make it a home. It increases pride to so you feel you can live there. Australia is si backward in this

    Helen McIntosh Carpenter Helen McIntosh Carpenter 1:16 pm 20 Oct 18

    Easy, you pay rent, you don’t own it, so don’t change it without consultation with the’s not your call. Paint doesn’t make a home, the person who lives in it does.

    Rob Thomas Rob Thomas 1:23 pm 20 Oct 18

    Yeah! You tell that person how to live!

    Mirabai Rose Mirabai Rose 1:35 pm 20 Oct 18

    I repeat: backwards

    Laura Giraldi Laura Giraldi 1:49 pm 20 Oct 18

    Rob Thomas 😂😂

    Amanda Jane Amanda Jane 6:45 am 21 Oct 18

    If my tennant painted a bedroom feature wall in dark purple suede without asking (and doing a very poor job of it) just like the previous owner of my house did (as was their right) when they owned it I would not be happy. HOWEVER if the tennant asked first, consulted on their plans and did a quality job I would be open to it.

Murray Emerton Murray Emerton 12:46 pm 20 Oct 18

What’s next?

    Rob Thomas Rob Thomas 1:25 pm 20 Oct 18

    More renters instead of owners so.... more rights to renters as they become a larger part of society.

Phil Andrews Phil Andrews 12:41 pm 20 Oct 18

As a landlord I’d be open to the idea, but only with my prior knowledge and consent, and the right to say no, how many hooks and what colour paint.

    James Richards James Richards 1:31 pm 20 Oct 18

    Phil Andrews serious question as a landlord, would you prefer to pay for the paint so it would be a tax deduction or that wouldn't worry you?

    Rick Collins Rick Collins 1:31 pm 20 Oct 18

    that is exactly the status quo

    Phil Andrews Phil Andrews 2:29 pm 20 Oct 18

    Hi James happy to pay for the paint so I know the quality and type etc. Would negotiate on the colour. At the end of the day, the property needs to appeal to a broad range of potential tenants and bright green walls may not.

Michael Aichholzer Michael Aichholzer 12:39 pm 20 Oct 18

As a landlord who has had a long-term tenant (10 years) I think it comes down to mutual respect.

We have had previous tenants that required us to totally strip and restore the house due to their damage. Add shortfall in several months rent and the bond went nowhere near.covering the damage. We covered.this with Landlord's insurance, the cost of which we incorporate in our negative gearing costs.

Our current tenant pays less than market rates for rent in recognition of the care she takes with the property and we have regular contact with respect to maintenance and improvements.

It is possible to allow tenants to make a rental property their home, it comes down to mutual respect and communication. Unfortunately these are not always present.

    Nic Kers Nic Kers 2:57 pm 20 Oct 18

    My tenants have moved out in anticipation of the house selling, however, I agreed to put handrails in the bathroom, a non slip coating on the bathroom and shower tiles, a rotary clothesline because they couldn't reach the one on the wall. I painted the deck and then painted the whole exterior of the house. Reasonable requests that only improved my property but all with my blessing. And I paid for them all.

Julie Maynard Julie Maynard 12:35 pm 20 Oct 18

This is a great idea as so many can't afford to buy their own home. Having pets is another positive for renters and should be encouraged. Renters know they have to hand the property over in reasonable condition. If not, they lose their bond and a good reference. Most pet owners look after properties better than non pet owners. I'm a pet owner and I used to rent my property before moving in myself. I rented my property to tenants with dogs and cats. In fact I specifically rented my property to pet owners because of the difficulties they have in finding somewhere to live with their furkids. I was open to this being the owner of two dogs and cat knowing how difficult it was do me. I think if you want to be a landlord, you have to be open minded and realise that people just like them need somewhere to live otherwise don't be a landlord!

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 12:22 pm 22 Oct 18

    I used to rent a property and nearly all my tenants had pets. I got some very good tenants that way, as no-one else would rent to them.

Trish Roberts Trish Roberts 12:17 pm 20 Oct 18

My landlord showed me what kind of hooks were OK for pictures; minimal impact on the wall. But painting? A whole other thing.

Shiva Sapkota Shiva Sapkota 11:56 am 20 Oct 18

Ask for heating and cooling, insulation instead.

Claire Londero Claire Londero 11:54 am 20 Oct 18

It could be more like a commercial lease, where you can change certain parts of the interior, but only to a similar or higher standard than what was existing. ie if you paint the walls it actually needs to look good. If you put up pics, you are going to have to patch and repaint, properly.

Jason Preston Jason Preston 11:52 am 20 Oct 18

Who owns the property?

    Rob Thomas Rob Thomas 1:27 pm 20 Oct 18

    Who's paying for the property?

    Jason Preston Jason Preston 1:34 pm 20 Oct 18

    Rob Thomas the property owner. It's a straight forward business transaction. The dude takes out a loan to be paid off. Someone wants to use that asset, they pay a fee, in this case rent. The renter goes to work, he/she/it gets paid by their employer in exchange for what the employer needs - labour. The employer gets money from customers, for stuff they need. Sometimes the renters client is in fact their landlord. Funny old world hey.

    I've always rented because I can't afford a house mortgage. It's nit my house. I look after it because it's expected, it's what honest tenants do, plus it's in the lease. Anything other than minor maintenance is dealt with by the landlord, it's expected and it's in the lease.

    Same at work. I rent a factory unit. I look after it but anything major gets sorted by the landlord.



    Something thieving socialists and greens just don't get.

    Ella Factor Ella Factor 8:00 am 22 Oct 18

    Jason, nice rant, but any owner that has negatively geared a property really isn’t paying for it, no matter how simple you make it sound. Tenants in ACT pay on average $25.000 per year in rent. That makes them high paying customers, in the only industry in the country in which customer rights are not protected.

    Jason Preston Jason Preston 8:44 am 22 Oct 18

    Ella Factor

    Don’t worry I’m just old and cranky 😎

    But in the end it’s someone else’s property

    Cathy Zanella Cathy Zanella 11:51 am 22 Oct 18

    Ella Factor No, landlords do pay for their properties. Not all are negatively geared.

Scheherazade Roberts Scheherazade Roberts 11:17 am 20 Oct 18

Pictures OK if done properly. I think permission for painting should be sought though. A lot of landlords paint before renting so might feel attached to their chosen colour scheme.

    Jo Williams Hayes Jo Williams Hayes 11:54 am 20 Oct 18

    Scheherazade Roberts or their idea of good taste differed greatly from yours. You would be mad to paint a already painted room. And if you do paint it change it back to the original colour when you split. But they never do fix something that they bugger up in your home.

Louise Anne Louise Anne 10:54 am 20 Oct 18

Why don't owners put a hook or two in each room. Problem solved.

    Jo Williams Hayes Jo Williams Hayes 11:50 am 20 Oct 18

    Louise Fitzgerald I know my landlord did, I had to get extra art to hang up. But he wasn't an arsehole.

Hannah Clifford Hannah Clifford 10:47 am 20 Oct 18

As a tenant, i love this idea. But do feel that consulting owner prior to painting is important

Mike Cairns Mike Cairns 10:45 am 20 Oct 18

I’m a Canberran who rented for almost 2 decades back home and interstate, first solo and eventually with family - had my share of terrible landlords and agencies, with the occasional good ones standing out.

I live in Europe presently, still renting. The differences between Aus rental market and Europe are dramatic.

A standard lease here is measured in years, not months - 5 years, with an option of 5 more at the same rate are the norm. Consequently modifications to the property are quite the norm - painting, picture hooks, even changing room configurations are all perfectly OK and no permission needed...

Provided that you can put it back to the condition as supplied when you first rented, come the end of the lease.

We’re currently investing in improving the garden and lawns of our new rental property, and expect our landlord to come to an arrangement where he pays for material improvements and we will supply the labor costs ourselves.

Oz landlords could learn a lot from how Europe does things.

    Carla Rose Carla Rose 2:28 pm 20 Oct 18

    Yes but in Germany, don't you need to bring your kitchen with you when you rent a place?

    Kristie Ward Kristie Ward 6:20 pm 20 Oct 18

    As someone who leased an apartment tenants can do so much damage to a property. I think asking is no drama but stipulating in original agreement what is okay. We said what hooks where okay but painting no way would I want a tenant to do that. It’s not as easy as painting over a bad paint job. Our place was well maintained in neutral colourings so people could make it their own with soft furnishings etc.

Luke Felton Luke Felton 10:34 am 20 Oct 18

Assuming there is a "make good" clause where tenants are responsible for repainting at the end of the tenancy then i see no reason why not

    Lynne Meredith Lynne Meredith 11:13 am 20 Oct 18

    Make good doesn’t necessarily happen.

    Tenants will weigh up the cost, effort and opt to forego the bond.

    The bond, almost certainly be less than the cost of making good and the owner is left to foot the bill.

    Luke Felton Luke Felton 1:11 pm 20 Oct 18

    Thats a good point. Id like to thinj the majority of tenants would do the right thing ie, do a good job of the painting (pay a professional), paint reasonable /neutral colours etc so in most cases owner wouldnt require the make good and would be happy to leave it.

    Thought in reality youd probably wind up with walls painted poorly in hot pinks and dark blacks or graffiti or something and the tenants will walk out and leave as is.

    Im sure thered be someway to find a middle ground tho

    Luke Felton Luke Felton 1:12 pm 20 Oct 18

    That said, the owners of where i am atm have been really receptive and happy to let us paint (tho most the walls here were hideous colours). First real rental experience so not sure if these owners would be the exception or the rule

    Kytie Mclign Kytie Mclign 1:52 pm 20 Oct 18

    "Making good" with an amateur paint job isn't necessarily good at all.

Veronika Sain Veronika Sain 10:25 am 20 Oct 18

I don’t have a rental property but know a lot of tradespeople. So being the devils advocate here...

Having a house repainted can be up to $20,000 for a professional painter. So that’s a bit of an expense to fix a dodgy amateur paint job - especially if someone decides to paint inside walls black.

I’m assuming the greens have no idea of the actual costs involved because none of them knows an actual tradie or has worked a manual labour job.

Plasterers also cost a bomb - and then every wall damaged needs to be repainted. It’s not something an amateur can do very well.

Permission is important.

Perhaps the greens could move for more affordable housing/cheaper land sales in Canberra so actually owning a place (instead of renting for life) becomes easier?

    Michael Doyle Michael Doyle 10:40 am 20 Oct 18

    Totally agree. Tenants (and i have some) have sought permission and as its reasonable i have approved as i will wear the long term costs

    Darren Sault Darren Sault 10:48 am 20 Oct 18

    Well said.

    Annie Clarke Annie Clarke 7:36 am 21 Oct 18

    Veronika Sain Greens members can own investment real easte and are Tradies, Farmers, Politicians etc.

    Don't bash the Greens just for the sake of it.

    Veronika Sain Veronika Sain 11:09 am 21 Oct 18

    I’m bitterly disappointed in their quality of candidates and their somewhat odd choices of things they are passionate about. It’s like they actually don’t want to tackle the hard issues -like the deplorable conditions in ACT nursing homes. I guess if it were animals being treated like these elderly they’d be all over it with placards demanding change :/

Nate Mooré Nate Mooré 10:22 am 20 Oct 18

What's stopping those landlords that support this from allowing it in their current rental agreements?

I think picture hooks etc should be acceptable, but I think painting is a bit much without agreement. I've not rented a particular place because the colour was too much, whereas picture hooks would probably add value to me as a renter.

Natalie Roseworn Natalie Roseworn 10:20 am 20 Oct 18

More importantly, should be allowed to make homes safe for young children - baby gates, anchoring furniture to walls etc.

Lynelle Connelly Lynelle Connelly 10:17 am 20 Oct 18

Discussion and mutual agreement would be good.

    Rob Thomas Rob Thomas 1:19 pm 20 Oct 18

    Sadly I've lived in many rentals where sending a message to the landlord through the agent is as good as throwing a message down a well.

Kate Cuthbert Kate Cuthbert 10:14 am 20 Oct 18

I think within reason would be nice 😊

Joanne Clark Joanne Clark 10:10 am 20 Oct 18

As a longterm tenant agree that long term tenants should have more freedoms. I am lucky to have a landlord who is already receptive to such things but i am aware i am in the minority. It also depends on how the tenant treats the rental.

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