Does the leased property need to be released freshly painted?

Green colour may not be "normal"...

We have come across a funny verdict about lease contracts, which we’ll mention bellow. This serves as a motive to tackle an issue that happens often, that is controversial, and that even in some cases even generates litigation.

Should we return fresh painted the shop or home once the lease is over?

Although it is true that when we rent premises or house we can paint it as we wish (painting is not considered a work), what we ask ourselves today is whether, at the end of the contract, the tenant must return the premises or house freshly painted. All this, of course, assuming that nothing has been established in this regard in the lease contract, in which case we should be as provided there.

As a general rule, the tenant should not paint the walls at the end of the contract.

This is, however, not exempt of controversy and not even the courts have a common approach. According to the majority jurisprudence and common sense (at least ours), it will not be necessary for the tenant to return the newly painted house or premises if he has painted it the same color or very similar to the one that already existed. We obtain the same answer if at the end of the lease, the state of the painting is optimal and similar to the one the tenant found upon entering. Unless proven otherwise, it is presumed that the tenant received the property in good condition (art. 1262 of the Civil Code).

Regarding the latter, it must be borne in mind that, if the premises or house has been leased for a long time, painting will be considered a maintenance expense and we can hardly believe that the painting has remained intact and unrelated to the passage of time , so the tenant should return it painted under article 1561 of the Civil Code.

Attention, the tenant must return the house or premises painted if the color he chose does not meet the criteria of “normality”

The Judgment of the Provincial Court of Cádiz 157/2020, of November 5, ruled on an situation where the tenant was an Association that painted the walls and facade of the premises (including the sofa) the green color of the Brazilian flag.

Having agreed in the contract that the lessee received the premises and the equipment in good use, which should be extended to the painting of the premises, the Court has considered that said carioca green color represents an important change in the appearance of the premises and that In addition, it exceeds the criterion of normality.

What do we understand by the criterion of “normality”?

The court understands that a change in the appearance of a leased premises meets the criterion of “normality” when that change involves an adaptation of the premises to the tastes of the tenant and that, after the termination of the contract, it will allow the use of the premises by the lessor in such conditions. In this sense, the court considers that it is not frequent or usual to paint the walls and facades of said green color, so the tenant must assume the cost of replacing the painting of the premises to its original state. But allowed the tenant to deduct from said cost the depreciation of the painting (set by the court at 30%), that is, assuming that the premises were not delivered freshly painted the day the lease started.

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