Can your landlord charge you for painting?

Do you have to bother painting as part of your end of lease cleaning?

The ability to access your rental bond to repaint an apartment or house entirely lies within the discretion of your landlord and is not considered necessary as part of end of lease cleaning like some might think, particularly if you have lived at the property for some time. ‘’Discretion’’ is, to say the least, an ambiguous word. The thesaurus alone lists 2096 synonyms for the word itself. If, and when, your bond is accessed to address, for example, painting, it is the up to you to prove that your landlord is incorrect in his discretion but with 2096 synonyms at his disposal he is provided with ample room for obfuscation. A rule of thumb is that a rental property should be repainted each 7 to 10 years. In that timeframe it is easy to conceive 7 or 8 or more separate tenancy contracts having been granted. It is therefore only logical that anywhere up to 30 individuals have taken residence in the timeline proposed. Now, 30 people can cause, bit by bit, damage to anything, least of all something as tenuous as paint on a domestic surface. Of course, deliberate damage is one thing, but to be responsible for up to 30 tenants over some years should make you mindful of the possible ramifications.

Tracey and Tony have been living in the one rental house for 19 years and in that time they have painted the house several times and only once the landlord paid for the paint. Other times they just went ahead and painted it. They have such a good relationship with their landlord as she knows they are good and reliable tenants who keep the place in an excellent condition. More recently the landlord put in an in-ground pool for them to enjoy. They might be an exception to the rule because 19 years in the one place renting is unusual in Australia, and even though painting is not part of lease cleaning things are entirely different in Europe where renting for long periods, (an initial lease period can be for two years) is more common. In Germany a lot of people do not buy their own house. The same applies to Switzerland and France which are pro rental for a variety of reasons, mostly due to it being more cost effective and the rights of tenants.

In Germany for example 60% of people rent and that’s for long term, yet in Australia home ownership is at about 70%. Interestingly in Germany it is legal to sublet. Elke, who comes from Munich, says that once you are renting you can paint your place purple if that is what you like, but when it comes time to vacate the property you need to have it looking like it was when you moved in, and if that means painting it back to its original white then that is what you are to do. Some tenants install new kitchens, and if the new tenant doesn’t want to pay some of the money towards the updated kitchen, Elke says some people take the kitchen with them. She says that it is still competitive and you have to look hard to find the right property but renters are given carte blanche and renting is something people do for years.

In Australia for commercial painting in an apartment you are looking at $1,000 per room. For a complete repaint of a three bedroom, two storey house, the price can be above $20,000. That is a lot of responsibility if you are on a one year lease and it is 7or 8 years since the last paint job. Like a lot of things in life, prevention is better than cure. A professionally cleaned residence appears and smells better than one that isn’t. Presenting a pleasant visual and sensory visage makes a few scuffs on the laundry door seem immaterial. Having the place cleaned clearly illustrates that you have shown good will regardless of the fact that some tenants 3 or 4 years ago had a cat that incessantly scratched at the kitchen door. The financial outlay of engaging a professional cleaning service is a coverage against the whims and discretion of what could amount to be a querulous landlord. So, the answer is yes, the landlord can legally access your rental bond at the end of lease, though the easiest and most practical way to mitigate that possible confrontation is to contact a professional cleaning service and let them bring it up to ship shape condition.

Many choose to have the popular End of Lease cleaning option when vacating a rental premises, as after tenancy cleaning has specific requirements that a company such as Whizz, who has been in operation since 2014, understands. Having relations with many landlords, all the professional contract cleaners have a working knowledge of the sort of areas to target. Whizz guarantees your happiness so if there is an area that needs to be readdressed in order for you to get your bond returned they will send someone back within 24 hours to rectify the matter. Whizz employs professional cleaners who are all police checked and insured. Everything included in the End of Lease cleaning is stipulated on its easy to use website. Whizz is flexible so if there are any extras you require, you can leave a note and they are happy to oblige. The great thing is that the cleaners all come with their own equipment and cleaning products so you don’t have to supply a thing. This makes it so much easier when you are in the middle of moving out and you have many other things to consider. It’s easier to let someone else worry about the state of your rental apartment with the knowledge that you will get your bond back. Oscar Wilde is credited with ‘Only a fool doesn’t judge by appearances’, and he was right.