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Tenant fined for painting room 'abnormally' green

TT/Rebecca Martin · 10 Aug 2011, 10:07

Published: 10 Aug 2011 10:07 GMT+02:00

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The landlord, who owns two properties in central Gothenburg, lived in the flat until 2007, and claims it was well maintained.

According to Hem & Hyra, a paper published by the Swedish Tenants’ Association (Hyresgästföreningen) the landlord had tried to recapture the spirit of the time the property was built by sanding down floors and skirting boards and oiling them.

But when the tenant moved out of the two-floor apartment some two years later, there was little left of the wooden surfaces. Instead the tenant had painted over these with white paint, and left the job unfinished to boot.

The tenant had allegedly also started work on the stairwell and several other rooms, but not finished the work, reported the paper.

After an inspection it was established that the work had been carried out in a very amateurish way. But it wasn’t just badly done - it was ugly as well.

The tenant had chosen to paint one of the bedrooms in what the landlord felt was an ugly green tint.

The Rent and Tenancy Tribunal (Hyresnämnden) in Gothenburg later agreed that the colour was “deviating from what can be seen as normal and established”.

After considering the case the Tribunal ruled in favour of the landlord and the former tenant was fined 32,000 kronor.

According to Åse Sundström of the Rent and Tenancy Tribunal in Gothenburg, these extreme cases are uncommon.

Generally it is a question of ordinary wear and tear, which wouldn’t be the fault of the tenant.

“According to legislation a tenant is allowed to wallpaper or repaint the rented flat, but if the landlord thinks that the work has decreased the value of the flat he can demand compensation,” Sundström told The Local.

Story continues below…

Although tenants are within the law carrying out work on their rented flats, Sundström said she would advise anyone thinking of doing so to consult the landlord in advance of making any major changes.

“If there is a disagreement it will always be a judgement call and not everyone will have the same views on style,” she said to The Local.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:22 August 10, 2011 by goawai
I honestly don't see why this would be shocking. It sounds like the tenant ruined the apartment!
11:42 August 10, 2011 by mamegoma
I wanna see some pics!
11:43 August 10, 2011 by BillyB
Dont think there is any intention to shock.

Its more a warning against stupidity
11:43 August 10, 2011 by Snoopy!
Yes "sounds" like the tenant ruined the apartment ...sound like conjecture to me

he said black i said white !

What I find amusing in this article is this quote :

"deviating from what can be seen as normal and established". ? a normal & established color scheme ! feckme
11:49 August 10, 2011 by johnny1939
Just restore the apartment to its former state before you move out and the problem is solved.
11:55 August 10, 2011 by andyron2
It is a shock indeed for anyone who lived in copenhagen.The fine would be atleast 5 times more there.
11:56 August 10, 2011 by axiom
who writes these articles, is it just google translate ?
12:07 August 10, 2011 by Abe L
They could simply not allow tenants to repaint and only obligate them to compensate the landlord for any damage caused to the apartment.

Leaving the tenant with the option of either renting an apartment in the color or with the wallpaper they like or to buy something their selves and do with their own property as they please.
13:46 August 10, 2011 by countrysidedrive
As a renter you do not own the property. You have to come to a agreement with the owner to make any changes or you risk a conflict. But I think if the renter had at least done a professional paint job then its only a matter of taste. Even then the owner could be very upset.
15:18 August 10, 2011 by eddie123
it is best that property owners renovate apartments before giving them out.
17:31 August 10, 2011 by andyron2
Looks like the pic was put up on the request of mamegoma:).

But i doubt it is the exact one,which was used by the tenant.
03:03 August 11, 2011 by xexon
Good gravy. Is this how Swedes spend their time?

The landlord sounds like they were not on top of things. This is not the tenant's fault. It's the landlord's for being asleep at the switch.

If a ship runs aground, you don't blame the cook. You blame the captain.

The captain was asleep.

13:16 August 11, 2011 by Imperor
xexon: Landlords don't go sneaking around in other peoples apartments (luckily) so how could he have any blame in this?

The landlord had spent a lot of time sanding and oiling the floors, I've done that kind of work and it's not a lot of fun, dusty and greasy. The tenant then completely wrecked it with a lousy white paint-job. Seriously, it's not a matter of taste, the tenant destroyed a feature which enhanced the value of the property!

Painting walls in an ugly colour is at least easily fixed with another coat of paint! But this too costs money. I think the fine seems very small for all the work that will be needed to restore the apartment.
14:58 August 11, 2011 by xexon
In the states, a landlord is required to give an advance notice to a tenant if they have a need of inspecting the place for whatever reason.

I'll say again, the landlord should have been a little more hands on here. I'm not seeing that.

Who knows, maybe the tenant was colorblind? They see greens differently than the rest of us do.

01:33 August 12, 2011 by Smallnose
Whether is 30,000 or 32,000 kronor the fine is still a bargain considering the damage.
23:09 August 13, 2011 by DamnImmigrant
Yeah, If you are colorblind you should let someone else choose the colors.
02:43 August 15, 2011 by Cederberg
I once got arrested for wearing a Hawaiian shirt in the winter in Stockholm
14:17 August 18, 2011 by jomamas
painting over hardwood is indeed a disgrace, the color is irrelevant.
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