If our landlord gave us permission to paint the kitchen cupboard’s, canshe later charge us for doing so?

Our previous landlord allowed us to break our lease due to us purchasing a home.When we moved in she gave us permission to paint the walls and stain the cupboards. When we moved out she e-mailed us that move out charges which were zero, except the prorated rent. Now she is trying to say that she wants us to pay to put all new cupboards throughout the kitchen. She already has new tenants in the home and they have been in since 2 days after we moved out. Can she make us pay for cupboards?

Asked on October 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you had painted the cupboards without permission, the landlord could probably charge you for the cost of painting them "back"--restoring the previous color--or if they could not be restored to an "as was" condition, she might be able to charge you for new ones. However, with her permission, she cannot do either of these. As a practial matter, if the permission to allow you to paint was oral (sometimes called verbal, but oral is the better term) and there is nothing in writing, then you might have some difficulty: if the landlord is determined to collect the money from you and sues you, the matter will essentially come down to your word against hers. Also, if you exceeded the scope of permission, you could have problems--for example, say you told her you would stain the cupboards a blond ash color and that's what she gave you permission for, if you instead stained them a dark iron wood or mahogny color, she may have grounds to hold you responsible for correcting the situation.


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