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Help? decorating and Landlord Oyez Assured shorthold tenancy (AST)

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Myself and my partner have recently moved into a property; to be precise in (Sep 2019) we are under a 2012 Oyez Assured shorthold tenancy (AST) with the only clauses below added in.


14.To pay the landlord the sum of £XXX in respect of a deposit at the beginning of the tenancy (all the legal jargon after)

15.Not to wallpaper affix borders or use gloss paint at the property (any decoration only to be carried out by agreement with the landlord and the paint work at the property to be re-instated back to magnolia on departure.

16.Not to smoke at the property

17.Not to keep any pets at the property

18.No additional lodgers

19 Not to erect any shelving or allow excessive picture hanging at the property.


When we moved into the property, we had discussions with the landlord/lady regarding decorating the property, every room was magnolia with exception of the front room.


Our verbal agreement was that we could decorate the property as we saw fit as long as the property was restored to the condition it was found in (i.e no obligation to put the property into better repair than it was at the beginning of the tenancy) that was our verbal agreement with both the landlord and lady.


I can confirm we have not smoked in the property or kept pets at the property.

It is a two bedroom house that both myself and my partner solely occupy.


During the recent weeks myself and my partner have undertaken the daunting task of decorating the entire house. (Admittedly in a single room we have used gloss paint in the front room) of which we are currently rectifying ASAP.


The stairway and woodwork were brown(stain) before and are now matt white in comparison as to a before/after (emulsion paint)


We are up-to date on rent.


We pay 14 days early each month as it suits with the wage pay.


We have never defaulted a payment and the deposit was paid swiftly so we could get the keys.


Today i have received a text message with pictures of my property attached, one of the bins (outside the property) and one of the interior of the property focusing at the stariway (from the exterior) - meaning they've peeked in to get photographs alongside this there are demands to put it back to how it was.


I also have strong reason to believe the landlord has entered the property without giving notice or making us aware of the fact.


I phoned her this afternoon and had a discussion with her to find out what she would like for us to do to put it right, (i am a reasonable human being and if I've Fudged up i'm the first to hold my hands up and admit it.)


During the conversation she was very aggressive and accused us of having pets in the property (we don't own pets so how?)


She accused us of smoking inside the property (we do smoke but have an overgrowing butt bin at the back door as tribute to the fact we freeze & get wet when we want to smoke)


She accused us of smoking cannabis inside the property due to the fact that a letter we received from the local council addressed to the previous tenant which we passed over to her to deal with which is our obligation to do so and the letter apparently stunk of cannabis (the letter was wet as it'd been splashed on the kitchen side) - i don't understand?


What's concerning me is the fact that she's entering or could be entering the property without our knowledge, she has a set of keys and is quite acquainted with the neighbourhood so knowing when we're in/out wouldn't be difficult for her to find out.


I have basically been told that we are to be out of the property as soon as we put it back and that a letter is on it's way to us from her solicitors?


What (if anything) can i do in this situation?


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I'm afraid this is not my area of expertise – but I can tell you that many landlords seem to think that they are entitled to receive their property back in exactly the same condition as it was when they rented it out.

This is not the case. They have to allow for wear and tear.

Did you take any photographs of the property when you moved in? If you didn't then I'm afraid that that was a big mistake – and you should be careful to do this in future. It's extremely important.

You should certainly take pictures of the property at the moment and also when you've finished decorating.

Clearly the relationship between you and your landlord has deteriorated so it won't matter too much now if you send formal letters. I think you should send a formal letter complaining that the property has been entered into without permission. In addition to being an implied term of any rental contract, I would imagine it would be expressed somewhere in your rental agreement. Have you checked this?

Frankly I would think about changing the lock. Changing the tumbler is very easy and very cheap – and you can change it back again when you leave.

Is your deposit in a deposit scheme? Or has it been retained by her?

I think it is very important that you start keeping a good record and paper trail of everything because it seems to me that when you finally do go that there is going to be an argument over recovering your deposit.

If she has accused you of smoking cannabis then you should rebut that in writing. The same with the pets. Also the smoking – although I have to say that smokers don't realise how badly their clothes, hands and so forth smell and I can imagine that a non-smoker going into your property will probably realise that it had been inhabited by smokers and this can be very unpleasant.

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