Can tenants hang pictures in a rental property?

Tenants Hanging Pictures

Nothing makes a property feel more like home than hanging pictures.

As a renter, however, you may or may not be able to decorate using nail-in-the-wall picture hooks.

In this article, we’ll answer the question, ‘Can tenants hang pictures in a rental property?’ Then, we’ll share some quick tips on displaying your beloved artwork without making a dent in the property’s walls. Let’s get started.

Can tenants hang pictures in a rental property?

Here in Queensland, the answer to this question depends on the terms set out in your tenancy agreement. Some property managers and owners allow the use of nail-in-the-wall picture hooks, while some prohibit even the sticky, no-damage picture strips.

If there is no information in your tenancy agreement, speak to your landlord before you go ahead and hang your pictures. Tenants can only attach a fixture in the property owner or manager agrees.

There is some good news for QLD renters. Strict rules surrounding picture hanging and pets look set to change. Victoria and New South Wales governments have already introduced a higher level of protection for renters – hopefully, Queensland will follow suit.

How to seek approval to hang pictures

If you’re determined to hang your pictures, you can seek approval from the property owner or Property Manager. This is best done in writing. Be sure to describe in detail the extent of the fixture (i.e. are you looking to hang one small picture, or will you need a heftier picture hook with multiple screws or nails?) and whether or not the fixture will be removed.

If the property owner agrees to your request, they should outline the following key points:

  • The type of fixture to be installed
  • If you are responsible for removing the fixture and when this will be done
  • If any damage should occur as a result of the fixture, how will it be repaired, and if you will be required to pay compensation

Keep in mind that the property owner is not obliged to approve your request. They will, however, need to give a good reason. For example, a picture hook may cause too much damage to the walls.

What happens if you hang pictures without approval?

If you hang pictures without written approval, you may be asked to pay to reinstate the property. This may happen immediately or at the end of your tenancy agreement. The owner may also choose to keep the fixture – but it probably isn’t worth the financial risk.

How to hang pictures safely without causing damage

Even if you don’t have permission to install nail-in-the-wall picture hooks, you can display your artworks in other ways. Here are a few suggestions.

Use picture strips

Picture strips – sometimes referred to a Command strips – are adhesive strips or hooks that allow you to hang pictures without damaging the wall. Picture strips must be installed properly to avoid damage. Here are a couple of rules to follow:

  • Only apply picture strips to rough surfaces. If the surface is too smooth, the strip won’t bond properly, and your picture will fall.
  • Clean and prepare the surface properly, preferably with rubbing alcohol (methylated spirits).
  • Press down firmly along the whole strip to ensure the strip adheres to the wall.
  • Pay attention and adhere to weight guidelines, even if that means using two, three, or more strips for one artwork.
  • When removing the strip or hook, pull down firmly. If you pull the tab towards you, you risk pulling paint off the wall.

Try string or ribbon

If you have a lot of small images and photos you’d like to hang, try attaching a piece of string or length of ribbon across a window sill or wall with Washi tape. Use small pegs to hang photos, postcards, and other small artworks.

Experiment with free-standing frames

If you can’t hang your frames on the wall, let them stand on their own. Put display frames on bookshelves, bedside tables, desks, and coffee tables. Larger artworks can be positioned on the floor, propped up against the wall or placed on an easel.

Next steps

If you’re not sure, play it safe and read your Tenancy Agreement first, or contact your Property Manager or property owner before you do anything.

This is a topic between you and your property owner (or via their appointed Property Manager), and has nothing to do with the Body Corporate Committee, Building Manager or Body Corporate Administrators.

Kelly Borell

Kelly Borell

I have a Diploma in Business Management, Cert IV Property Services (Operations) and thoroughly enjoy working in the Strata Management industry. I particularly enjoy building a good rapport with people and providing reliable help.

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