Can tenants repaint their rented property in Belgium?

Renting a property often comes with a set of rules and responsibilities. One common query that many tenants have is regarding the repainting of the rented property. Can a tenant repaint certain rooms? What if the landlord demands the walls be returned to their original colors at the end of the lease? Let’s delve into the intricacies of this topic.

Roselyn Tirado

Understanding the lease agreement

The lease agreement, or the bail, is the primary document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of both the tenant and the landlord. It’s essential to thoroughly read and understand this document before making any changes to the rented property.

What if the lease has a clause?

Most lease agreements contain a clause specifying that the tenant cannot repaint walls, doors, ceilings, and other parts of the property. Such clauses are entirely valid and legally binding. If a tenant wishes to repaint despite this clause, they must seek written permission from the landlord. If the landlord denies this request, it’s in the tenant’s best interest not to proceed with repainting. Doing so could lead to the landlord demanding compensation at the end of the lease term.

What if the lease is silent on repainting?

In cases where the lease doesn’t specify anything about repainting, one might assume that the tenant has the freedom to repaint as they wish. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. Some court decisions regard repainting walls in a drastically different or garish color as a form of tenant damage. In such cases, the landlord can demand compensation for the perceived damage at the end of the lease. Both Wallonia and Flanders have included this principle in their lists of repairs, further emphasizing its importance.

When the lease mandates repainting

There might be instances where the lease agreement contains a clause stating that the tenant must repaint the property at the end of the lease. It’s crucial for tenants to know that such clauses are not valid. A landlord cannot charge a tenant for wear and tear, which includes the natural aging and degradation of paint over time.

Best practices for tenants

If you’re a tenant considering repainting your rented property, here are some best practices to follow:

1. Always consult the lease agreement: Before making any decisions, review your lease agreement to understand any stipulations regarding repainting.
2. Seek written permission: If you’re unsure or if the lease prohibits repainting, always seek written permission from the landlord.
3. Choose neutral colors: If you do get permission to repaint, opt for neutral colors that are more likely to be acceptable to a broad range of people, including future tenants or buyers.
4. Document everything: Before and after repainting, take clear photographs of the rooms. This documentation can be useful in case of any disputes at the end of the lease term.


Repainting a rented property in Belgium comes with its set of rules and considerations. Both tenants and landlords must be aware of their rights and responsibilities to ensure a harmonious rental experience. By understanding the lease agreement and following best practices, tenants can make informed decisions that respect both their desires and the property owner’s rights.