DPS Conclude 4 Yearly Decorating Cycles are Appropriate – Is this Fair?

One of the most contentious issues affecting residential tenancies is that of redecoration and how far internal decor deteriorates during the course of the tenancy.  Below is an extract taken from a decision made by the alternative dispute resolution service (ADR), offered by the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) following a landlord’s claim that the deterioration in the decorations was over and above what should be deemed as fair wear and tear.  Importantly it refers to joint guidance issued to inventory clerks and letting agents by ARLA, RICS, NAEA and Asset Skills suggesting decorations have a lifespan of only 4 years.  The extract reads:

“Having carefully considered and compared the check in and check out evidence, on balance, I am persuaded that the condition of the property’s decor has deteriorated during the course of the tenancy.  Whilst I am satisfied that work was needed to re-decorate, however, I would refer to the joint guidance issued to inventory clerks by ARLA, RICS, NAEA and Asset Skills, which states that decoration would normally be expected to last approximately 4 years.

In light of this guidance and given the pre-tenancy condition of the property’s decor, reasonable lifespan of the decor and the length of tenancy.  I am not persuaded that the tenant should contribute towards the redecoration costs.  I find it reasonable to anticipate that the decoration would have come to the end of its useful lifespan by the end of the tenancy irrespective of any additional damage caused by the tenant.  I cannot therefore find that the landlord has suffered any financial loss as a result of having to redecorate on termination of this tenancy.  Consequently the claim fails”.

In this case accurate check out and check in inventories were prepared and while the adjudicator agreed there had been deterioration in the decor, as the tenancy term had been in excess of 4 years, the conclusion that was reached was that the property would need redecorating irrespective of any damage caused by the tenant.

It is therefore important that this is factored into any appraisal when considering letting residential property.  Of course if you have any questions whatsoever in relation to this matter, or residential letting in general, please feel free to contact us.