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.
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.