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Christmas Decorations and your Damage Deposit

Before you start nailing your mounted nativity to the lounge wall or attempting to force an 8ft pine tree through a tiny front door just remember that many landlords don’t take kindly to the sort of damage that decorations can cause, even if there is festive intent.

christmas decorations and your damage deposit

Christmas is just around the corner and, whether you’re renting or not, that means that most of us want to start putting up decorations. From a tall and fragrant fir tree to twinkling lights, hanging stars and paper chains, these are all the little details that make this such a magical time of year. However, before you start nailing your mounted nativity to the lounge wall or attempting to force an 8ft pine tree through a tiny front door just remember that many landlords don’t take kindly to the sort of damage that decorations can cause, even if there is festive intent.

First of all, check your tenancy agreement. You may find that the tenancy agreement states you can’t hang anything on the walls at all, not even if it’s affixed without actually nailing things into the plaster. It may be that your property has picture rails and you’re only allowed to display/hang items use that feature of the room. Most tenancy agreements will have some degree of restriction on what you can do to the walls of the property so before you start painting them in festive shades of green and red make sure you know where you stand. Otherwise the cost of returning the property to its initial state at the end of the tenancy is going to lie squarely with you. If you want to ask permission from the landlord to put up your favourite Christmassy pictures or rearrange the furniture then go for it but remember that they can very easily say no. More than one landlord has been known to have Scrooge-like tendencies.

If you really want to make sure you’re surrounded by festive cheer this year then here are a few suggestions for decorations that won’t dent your damage deposit:

  1. A small tree. Size doesn’t mean anything when it comes to Christmas trees but if you damage the paintwork, the floorboards, the carpet and the electrics getting it into the flat and going overboard with the lights then it will certainly impact on your ability to get your damage deposit back. Stick to a more modest version that will at least fit through the door without forcing.
  1. Paper decorations. From paper snowflakes (which are great to create with kids from white paper and scissors), to paper chains that you can glue together, these kinds of decorations won’t stain, melt or discolour your walls. Just be careful how you attach them at the ends – the best way is around the end of curtain rails or on to a piece of high furniture that you own.
  1. Good quality lights. The very last thing you want to do just before Christmas is burn down the property because you have been careless with the fairy lights. Don’t leave lights on when you go out or when you go to sleep and don’t overload plug sockets and risk an electrical fire.

There are plenty of ways to make sure that you have a very festive and merry Christmas this year without paying for it when the time comes to move out. And if you can’t put up that many decorations in your property then invest in a festive jumper and a Christmas hat and carry the decorative festive spirit with you at all times instead.

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Disclaimer: This article is provided as a guide. Any information should be used for research purposes and not as the base for taking legal action. The Tenants' Voice does not provide legal advice and our content does not constitute a client-solicitor relationship.

We advise all tenants to act respectfully with their landlords and letting agents and seek a peaceful resolution to problems with their rented property. For more information, explore the articles in our Rights and responsibilities category.

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