Tenants That Put Holes In The Wall

This is up there with one of the most irritating and inconvenient habits that, from my experience, most tenants seem to naturally carry. I don’t think I’ve ever obtained a tenant that hasn’t “carelessly” drilled, or even worse, forcefully hammered through, multiple holes in the walls. It genuinely irritates the fuck out of me.

I ALWAYS tell my tenants to use copious amounts of diligence when drilling holes in the walls. For example, if they want to hang up a photo frame, then they should ensure a proper “photo frame nail” is used, as opposed to a thick, heavy duty masonry nail that is suitable for building a garden shed. Big holes are both expensive and difficult to repair (if you want to do it properly).

Do they ever listen? No.

The cheapest and therefore the preferred way of resolving the issue is by stuffing the ghastly holes with polyfiler, and then applying a lick of paint. The end result is usually tragic, especially when executed by someone with zero D.I.Y skills. You’re never left with the smooth finish which was once-upon-a-time. The best option is to get a professional plasterer in, but that never happens because let’s face it, who’s going to bother? What usually happens is that a few days before the tenant is due to vacate, they pop out to Homebase to purchase a cheap tub of Polyfiler and apply their D.I.Y magic. As said, the result is typically tragic and leaves me in tears, along with the will to kill.

One of my tenants is due to move out in two weeks time so I’ve been lining up viewings to ensure minimal unoccupancy. Without the presence, but with the permission of my tenant, I went to the property earlier today to scope out the condition. The property isn’t actually in too bad shape, but I noticed multiple holes scattered around various walls in the property, which initially triggered a manageable flow of anger. However, the closer I inspected, the less manageable my anger became. Like they say, if you go looking for trouble, trouble will find you. Well, I went looking, and a shitload of trouble came at me like a runaway steam train. I started to slowly discover gaping hole after gaping hole as I crept through each room.

In the midst of my heart-attack, I frantically started texting my tenant:

Hi mate. House is in OK condition, but there are quite a few big holes in the walls that need to be fixed. Cheers

Hi buddy. The holes will be sorted before I move out

Alarm bells start ringing at this point.

So now I have to sit around and wait to see what kind of Chuckle Brother D.I.Y job he manages to pull out of his rectum. I’m scared.

For your own amusement, here are a few snaps of some of the holes. Please bear with me if I break down in tears as I post these…

Holes in Walls 1

Holes in Walls 2

Holes in Walls 3

Holes in Walls 4

I understand that putting up curtain railings will require drilling holes. But if you’re going to do that, at least do it elegantly, and not like you’ve unnecessarily tried to resolve the problem with a sledgehammer. Clearly a method my tenant endorses.

(UPDATE: Just to clear up some confusion, and reduce some anger levels for certain people. As I said in the comments sections, curtain rails were originally fitted with the property, but the tenant said their “expensive” curtains required custom railings, so they replaced the original ones with their own. It’s not a HUGE deal because I know those holes won’t be visible when a railing goes back up. However, it’s still annoying knowing that they ripped the plasterboard in the process of removing their stupid custom rails!)

The strange thing was that there are holes literally scattered everywhere, mostly in places which didn’t seem logical. For example, those 4 holes next to the radiator, what the hell are they about? I couldn’t understand why the hell anyone would need holes in that location. It was just weird.

I also noticed there were more than your average amount of photo frames hung up on the wall, so I’m anticipating greater levels of damage. I dared not look under the frames to see how they were hung up- I was already depressed/scared enough. I’m just praying to God he used proper photo nails because they usually leave minimal damage.

There are so many alternative and friendly solutions to hanging up inanimate objects that don’t require drilling holes in walls these days. Why not try them, aye?

Holes in the walls are NOT “wear and tear”

I’d just like to make it clear (in case anyone is reading this for informational purposes), putting holes in walls is NOT classed as “wear and tear” – there is nothing natural about forcing a drill through plaster. The tenant is responsible for repairing any holes he or she has made, even if that means using the security deposit to do so.

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144 Comments- join the conversation...

Showing 94 - 144 comments (out of 144)
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Benji 5th January, 2012 @ 22:04


Not my plaster mate!

Just that I know a bit about the subject.

You dont.

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MacGuffin 5th January, 2012 @ 22:07


I know about how the law is applied because I have spoken to people who apply it.

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Jeremy 5th January, 2012 @ 22:07

Hello New Landlord,

You've taken a lot of flak off a few folks, so let me pass one praise and one warning onto you.

The praise is to say thank you for renovating a Victorian House. The choice of materials says you must have done it sympathetically: Thank you for helping to conserve a piece of Britain's best architectural style and method of building we have ever seen.

The warning is to how you now see your house. You need to "let go". Your little palace has now become an asset which generates an income. It will not be fair to your tenant to make them live in it with kid gloves on. They are entitled to ~live~ in your house. And if they want to knock a few picture hook nails in carefully (thus not underdtanding what the picture rails are for) they so can. And when they check out, if they've re-painted any marked walls in Dulux's identical colours, you'll get nowhere if you try to deduct deposit money because they did not use a premium brand of paint.

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Benji 5th January, 2012 @ 22:41

Spot on.

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Benji 5th January, 2012 @ 22:42


"I know about how the law is applied because I have spoken to people who apply it"

-I know about how the law is applied because I have applied it myself.

Over to you McMuffin!

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stressed tenant 5th January, 2012 @ 23:36

Well I have applied it too!! AND......the Landlord got nowhere and had to return the deposit IN FULL!

You might also like to note LANDLORDS that it is also acceptable to leave the picture hooks in the wall if they are in a place that would "reasonably" be used for others to also hang pictures. As this is deemed to be part of living in a property and therefore fair wear and tear because it is normal for people to put up pictures.

If you do not want pictures hung in your house or anything attached to your walls then you should have it specifically written into your lease agreement that permission is denied for this but expect your property to languish empty with no income coming in because it will tell a prospective tenant a lot about their prospective landlord. What goes around comes around!

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Benji 6th January, 2012 @ 09:23

"lease agreement"?
What country are you in?

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stressed tenant 6th January, 2012 @ 10:08


"Lease Agreement" - The legal tenancy agreement between landlord and tenant!


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Benji 6th January, 2012 @ 10:21

In E&W it is a "tenancy agreement" for residential property.

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Waddle 6th January, 2012 @ 10:32

This is all about the tenancy agreement and inventory, if this says no holes etc etc then should the landlord take the tenant to court or arbitration the tenant will have to pay a 'fair' amount to rectify the damage.

As a landlord this is what I did.. the tenant had to pay for a decorator to make good the damage.. decorator charged £120 + materials + VAT. The £120 was the daily rate for a professional decorator in this area.. he would not turn-up for less.. in fact he had to wait for filler to dry, paint to dry so came back in the evening; if the room is wallpapered will need to match paper, may need to repaper room, could cost hundreds more.

Landlords make sure you use legal tenancy agreements and the court / arbitrator will have no option but to refer to the wording of the agreement signed by the tenant; make sure the tenants initial every page, also take large quality photos of the damage.


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stressed tenant 6th January, 2012 @ 10:56


It does not matter where you live. The legal document that you signed that documents the arrangements between you and your Landlord has all the clauses in it about what you can and can't do in the property whilst you live in it. Most use a standard document and just change one or two things to fit the individual needs of their situation.
If however you have a palace with precious walls and la de da paint and you don't want anyone putting up pictures or mirrors or doing anything to the property so it stays exactly as it is when you hand over the keys, then you need to write your own agreement probably with the help of a lawyer.
As Waddles says if it is set up correctly to start with so there is no arguments about who is responsible for what and everyone agrees to it and signs to it, then a judge is going to find it easy at the end to make a decision.
As a for instance, we have just had our bill paid for our little incident with the drill going into the undetected pipe. I won't go into all the details but we were able to show clearly that the agreement we signed made the Landlord responsible because he had specifically opted to cover accidental damage rather than pass it to us so we could put it onto our Tenants Insurance Policy. They argued, took legal advice but were told we were right. Moral - spend the time doing things right before you sign on the dotted line and understand what you are signing for.

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Benji 6th January, 2012 @ 11:07

"It does not matter where you live."
It matters a lot.
Landlord & tenant law in E&W is very different to those of the US (for example).

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stressed tenant 6th January, 2012 @ 11:35


My son lives in the US and rents a property as have we when we lived there. It still will come down to the document that you are bound by and sign no matter what that document is called. Of course there are some differences in the laws from state to state however those laws still rest with the document that you sign and what is in it.

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Benji 6th January, 2012 @ 12:29

In E&W the "tenancy agreement" must comply with the law. If a term doesn't, the term is not valid and the tenant is not bound by it. The document (its called a tenancy agreement in E&W) does not overide the law. I assume it is the same in the US.
So yes, it does matter where you live.

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stressed tenant 6th January, 2012 @ 12:44

"In E&W the "tenancy agreement" must comply with the law."

You said it in a nutshell. If you want to make sure the clauses comply take it to a lawyer to draw it up and before you sign and or if you are a tenant do the same so you know which ones you won't be bound by!

As Waddles said "Simples"!

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Waddle 6th January, 2012 @ 18:17

Best not to waste more time on this subject as some have subjective views!

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Jeremy 6th January, 2012 @ 23:00

Hello Benji: Thanks for your kind words

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Jeremy 6th January, 2012 @ 23:02

Hello Stressed Tenant

In E&W a solicitor, not lawyer, will draught, not draw up, your contract.

You say tomato, I say tomato
(which works better when you're talking instead of writing)

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Waddle 7th January, 2012 @ 19:50

Hello 'stressed tenant',

You are correct; If the Tenancy Agreement states, 'the landlord will be permitted to cut the tenants balls off, with a chainsaw, if the said tenant makes any holes in the property walls and leaves the property without having the said holes repaired professionally '.


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Waddle 7th January, 2012 @ 19:54

CORRECTION.. Apologies 'stressed tenant' my email above should have been addressed to 'Benji'

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Missy 4th May, 2012 @ 11:41

Oh God. I can't believe I just sat and read all that junk.
Anyway, I'll rub the glaze away from my eyes.

I think somewhere along the way someone mentioned putting up a wooden plank, for want of a better description, above the window so people can screw away into that when they want to hang poncy curtains up. Your right about the areas in which things have been screwed in. What on Earth was that next to the radiator??

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G dog 10th May, 2012 @ 22:10

Your tentes are paying your mortgage fix the place up and let it out again. You should include a re deck when changing tenets. Hopefully your interest only mortgage rate is over soon and you have to top up the mortgage out of your own pocket :0)

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wkdtenant 3rd October, 2012 @ 13:17

i can't believe i just read all that & exactly i agree what was that next to the radiator some sort of airer?

i want to hang my tv on the wall & put some shelves in my spare room but in my tenancy agreement it says i cant :( where do i stand as i feel i want to move because who actually reads their tenancy until after theyve moved in lol.

i cant live in my home and make it a home so i spend money being out all the time which is money i would spend making my house into a home.

to me in my opinion most landlords are c**ts especially the ones above complain bout the la de da paint theyve done that house up to high standard but why if your not going to live there? and the guy about the holes as long as the pollyfiller does the job whats the problem it just makes you look a prick (in my opinion)


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Bob monkton 12th November, 2012 @ 00:55

I have moved into a flat and my tenancy agreements states the following. "Not apply adhesive or adhesive tape or fix tape, pins, nails or other fixings of any kind to the walls, wallpaper or decorated surfaces of the premises including ceiling,s woodwork, doors or furniture".
The proble is I only read this after I hung up 3 pictures with pin nails and a small mirror with a raw plug. I guess im fu**ed when I move out. The property managment company will keep my £600 deposit. Though I think they have just used a standard agreement as this seems to be on most assured shorthold tenancy agreements. If all i had to look at was magnolia walls I would end up trowing myself off my lovely new balcony.

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Benji 12th November, 2012 @ 10:37

If they try keeping the full £600 for 3 nails and a raw plug then dispute it with the TDS. Unless its a top of the range period conversion, then it will cost a fraction of that to repair.

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John 12th November, 2012 @ 12:30

Naughty Naughty Benji, we must remember that other deposit protection services are available to use. lol

However what Benji says it correct a £600 charge for this issue would be very excessive and an arbitrator I doubt would award, alot to the landlord for this.

If the place was newly decorated when you moved in and you move out after 6 month I would imagine the most they would award is the cost based on an avg of 3 quote to paint the wall, minus 10% as you were there 6 months and the wall would be considered to need decorating again after 5 years.

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Jonathan R 12th November, 2012 @ 13:48

Don't deposits have to be kept by a separate independent person/company now? So a landlord can't decide to just keep it on their own decision.

All you need to do when you move out take the screws out of the wall. Make sure no part of the rawlplug is raised above the wall surface and fill it with a some filler using a filling knife leaving a smooth surface. This is five minutes work. I think this whole discussion is making a mountain out of a molehill or mabe a cavern out of a filled screw hole.

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John 12th November, 2012 @ 16:52

@ Jonathan R hence mine and Benji's comments regarding companys like the TDS and DPS.

Also just filling and not painting a wall that has a specific mention contract is not going to mean that you get away with it especially if your agent uses a AIIC registered person to carry out their inventories.

listening to people like Jonathan R who just speculate with no real knowledge of the subject is a dangerous game.

That being said I'm sure a mutually acceptable compromise can be reached.

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Jonathan R 12th November, 2012 @ 17:32

You really do seem to be a suffer from complete anal retentiveness. I suggest this might even be affecting your personal life. Perhaps you should see someone about your issues and try to get to grip with the bigger picture.

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John 14th November, 2012 @ 23:08

Why thank you for your professional opinion regarding my knowing something about contractual Law. Am I to understand from this that you are indeed some kind of psychologist and not just a benefit claimant you appear to be, with nothing better to do with his time than making ignorant and ill-informed comments on here?

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goodlytennant 13th January, 2013 @ 12:08

This thread is so funny! I have been renting on and off for over 25 years. I have had wonderful landlords and total pr*cks. I allways look after where i live and yes i do drill the odd hole. But ask yourself this Mr Noobie landlord. Are you going to pay the £300 agency fees to find a place to live only to find out that the house owner is a total micromanaging pratt with no experience of letting a property? How about Landlords that mess you around, come in and steal from you, or even those that blame you for the fact that their house is damp / rotten / falling down etc. you think you have it bad? Try being a tennant who is viewed by default as a turd................You know nothing. i have 25 years of experience and i have seen it all (incidentally, i have never missed a rent payment ever, and the house is allways better when i leave than when i came)

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John 14th January, 2013 @ 12:45

@ goodlytennant.

Let us just hope that you are a better at being a tenant, than you are at spelling. lol

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Goodlytennant 14th January, 2013 @ 13:26

Spelling is not a requirement for a good tenant. But it seems that being a pedantic tw* t is a must for being a landlord (in your case).

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John 14th January, 2013 @ 21:16

I see that you must have decided to use spell checker in your last comment, as you managed to spell "tenant" correctly this time unlike in your name "goodlytennant" Don't tell me I bet you off work and claiming benefits as you have a bad back? The reason you haven't missed a rent payment is because the council probably pay it directly into your landlords account.

P.s What the F*&K does "Goodly" mean ?

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Landlady 18th January, 2013 @ 20:43

Everyone has the right to make their home their own. With this right goes responsibilities as per their tenancy agreement & if this says no holes then it's no holes. After all tenants do get the opportunity to read their tenancy agreement before they sign it. I would be inclined to put picture hooks up for the specific tenant which cancels out any botch job that they may do especially if they are going to be long term tenants. There are far more serious things that can cause damage to your property - I have had 9 leaks into my ground floor flat from the botched plumbing done by the landlord of the property above mine!

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Anger Mangement! 21st February, 2013 @ 19:26

Lets cut the all the BS and especially the whining! First of all Landlords...you are all getting your mortgages paid for you so lets not get all OCD on nails in the wall. Its an easy fix. Secondly if it gets to you that much, make sure its pointed out clearly in your tenacy agreement or better yet be pro-active and buy some of these alternatives to nails your talking about and leave them for the tenant to use before they move in. Yes it will cost you a small sum but in comparisson to the cost of repair of your precious damaged walls. I think its a cost you can live with! To teneants that want to put pictures or what ever up. Ive always found that honesty/politeness goes a long way. If you intend to do something...plan ahead and ask!

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louise-marie aspinal 29th April, 2013 @ 22:50

my view on this is silly and childish yes i agree that you should leave the property as you found it but its not like the tenant knocked a wall down or something or broke any fixtures A WALL IS A WALL get over it HOLES in it will occur if the tenant had poles up or a shelve my landlord mr paul hawker told me i could paint his house and sent me written consent to do this and now he has demanded my nan who is 80 and ill garentor to pay 750 pounds to get the paint blasted of after i agreed with Hawker that i could do it he tricked me into painting his house to get money out of me not all but some private landlords are all con-merchants im afraid mine is and hes been stalking my property im moving because he and his girlfriend spoke to me like shit and were very unproffesional as landlords no body likes a whining landlord at the end of the day DO YOU WANT A TENANT OR NOT critisising will get you no rent no tenant and no respect xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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Paul Hag 24th July, 2013 @ 15:01

you and all other landlords and fucking twats

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Goodlytennant 24th July, 2013 @ 15:54

"Don't tell me I bet you off work and claiming benefits as you have a bad back? The reason you haven't missed a rent payment is because the council probably pay it directly into your landlords account."

You have just proven my point you patronising Fuck. No i have never been on benefits for more than a month or two. The reason i rent is to have the flexibility to move easily for my business.

You truly are an Ass hat (look it up if you dont know what it means dipshit!

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Ridiculous landlords 5th February, 2014 @ 00:11

This is such a ridiculous post. Some furniture is required to be fixed to a wall, for example a wardrobe.

If I can't drill a hole to fix heavy furniture and it causes an accident, I will sue the landlord. Imagine a wardrobe full of stuff falling on your and possibly killing you!?

I don't care if the tenancy agreement says "no holes", my safety comes first. I will never leave those holes open, I will put some filler in and smooth it out before I leave, if the landlord complains he can go to the deposit protection provider that I use and put his case forward, as will I.

I'm sure that my reasons will convince the adjudicator that drilling some holes for my safety were necessary and fair wear and tear. What the stupid landlord who wrote this article doesn't understand is precisely this, if your furniture requires holes to be drilled, then it is fair wear and tear because otherwise you would not be able to use it safely.

So what would you rather have, Mr/s Landlord? A few small holes or a HUGE lawsuit? Pick your choice and don't complain later because if you do, it just proves that landlords are usually assholes.

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Scotty 5th February, 2014 @ 00:55

@Ridiculous landlords, what planet are you living on? I'm a social housing officer (and private landlord) and I deal with all aspects of landlord law every day. I can categorically tell you that you will not be able to sue a landlord based on "your own" heavy furniture causing accidents because you can't drill them to the wall. Everything you said is complete nonsense. There will never be a lawsuit, let alone a HUGE lawsuit and rightly so. The problem is you're not a landlord so you don't appreciate or understand how expensive and time consuming it can be to resolve huge holes in walls.
The post was about a tenant leaving huge holes unattended and using incorrect tools for the job. Its obvious you missed the point and then in a fit of rage decided to make up your own ridiculous law. How ironic!!!!!

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Tenant for now 16th April, 2014 @ 17:05

This all seems to be blown out of proportion!!
Surely common sense should have kicked in by now?
Pictures are part of alot of peoples lives, they are memories framed in an instant.
I agree that alternative methods should be supplied if you are bothered about a few pin holes, or simply putting a few picture hooks up yourself in places you feel would be appropriate for a picture.
I am not a Landlord, but my father is. It is annoying having to repaint everytime a tenant leaves, but you maximise your interest with a freshly decorated house.
As a tenant myself, I will put picture hooks up, however I will make sure that the 'damage' is repaired to a standard that I would be happy with, if it was my own house.
I think you need to withold judgement until they move out, because in all honesty, you cannot comment on the state of the house until they leave.
They are aware of the issue that needs to be fixed and if it isn't then you can keep a fair and reasonable amount to fix the damage yourself.
As for the personal insults, people need to grow up, landlords need tenants and vice versa.

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Jonathan R 16th April, 2014 @ 17:24

The landlord could do with watching this youtube video to see how easy it is to fix screw holes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJhMsfC8vdA

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Landlady 16th April, 2014 @ 20:33

I have never heard of wardrobes being screwed to a wall & if there was a need due to say uneven flooring then the landlord should have been made aware. This is a totally different situation from hanging a few pictures. There seems to be. Misconception that all landlords are uncaring & only interested in their rental income, let me assure all tenants out there that this is definitely nit the case. My tenants are very nice respectful people who have presented me with no problems and I have respected them likewise after all it may be my flat they are living in but it is their home.

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Sooty 17th April, 2014 @ 09:10

Cannot believe this is still ongoing
Landlords 36
Tenants 2

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solo 21st April, 2014 @ 08:37

If i were a landlord and had a no nail/screw clause in the tenancy agreement I would ensure that there were wooden batons above every window and picture rails in all rooms (maybe with exception of kitchen).

People tend to do things the easy way and so making it easy for tenants to avoid making holes would seem to the most effective way of obtaining the wanted outcome.

Manufacturing has a (Japanese) term for this "Poka-yoke". OK this might not exactly be poka-yoke but the general point stands!

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Guilted Teen 1st September, 2014 @ 17:19

the door stoppers are not even effective sobwhen I open the door it hits the wall and puts a hole in it that is less than an inch long, does that take 500 dollars out of the safety deposit.

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Kat Johnson 28th November, 2014 @ 17:48

Shouldn't the tenant have put the original railings back up when he removed his custom drapery railings? It hardly seems fair that he take down the originals, then leave the place with them still down.

(side issue, why does the landlord icon for the site have to be male with a mustache?)

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 29th November, 2014 @ 10:23

Hi Kat,

Yup, in theory they should have. But I had to refill the holes they created, so it made no sense to request them to refit the original fittings. I'm actually glad they didn't, because I don't trust their D.I.Y skills.

Good question, and I'm amused that you asked. To be honest, I had one hell of a time trying to think of a gender-friendly face to represent a landlord. After pondering for what I considered to be "too long", I gave up and used the gender biased mustache face- I figured it represented "authority"

It was only meant to be a temporary solution until my creative juices gave me a more permanent solution, but I actually forgot about it until you flagged the issue. I'll have to go back to the drawing board and come up with something more suitable. Any ideas?

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EuropeanTenant 4th December, 2014 @ 12:01

I just wanted to add that with 15 years' experience in renting property both in the UK and in Europe we really do have the most RIDICULOUSLY petty contracts, I've even had ones with clauses about which door we could use (only the back door when renting the whole house) and shoe removal.
In Germany, in the 1980s when my parents rented there the tenant was entitled to the interest generated by their deposit.
In Spain, there are no clauses about pets or holes or anything, the tenant is the person who is protected and entitled to a home.
In Italy there were no issues either.
The point is in many countries rental is the norm so you're allowed to make the house your home. In England it is seen as a stop gap measure. It is even a real pain trying to get an initial contract for a longer term than 6 months before it becomes a rolling agreement - seriously!
Dear Landlords - You many own the building, but please let us make the house our home. I can't even secure the furniture in my baby's room or put any decoration up. YAY! A lovely magnolia nursery for the baby and a lovely magnolia bedroom for my 3 year-old.
The really ironic thing - all the blinking fittings (curtain rails, towel rails, etc) put up by the landlord are falling out of the walls because they've used the wrong raw plugs!


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