Many property owners choose to paint their rentals in neutral colors such as in shades of gray or white. This is because these colors have mass appeal, they are easy to maintain, and they work with many different design schemes.

That said, you may have tenants who wish to repaint the property in another color. When this happens, you have to decide whether or not you will allow them to do so.

In this article, we are going over the pros and cons of allowing tenants to paint the property, as well as other important points to note.

Do Landlords Have Painting Responsibilities?

As a property owner, you are required to keep the property safe and habitable. When the painted walls become unsanitary, it’s your job to repaint the walls and restore a healthy environment inside the rental.

If your tenants want to repaint the walls in a different color for aesthetic reasons, this is not allowed. However, if your walls are painted with lead-containing paint, your tenants may request for you to replace the paint. That’s because, when lead is involved, the situation stops revolving around aesthetics.

Should you Allow your Tenants to Paint?

Often, if tenants want to change the wall color in the rental property, they won’t ask you to do it. Instead, they will want to do it themselves.

There are 3 ways you can respond to this type of request:

#1: NO – Don’t Allow them to Paint the Property

If you don’t want to deal with the stress of having your tenants repaint the unit, you may politely and respectfully say no.

If you want to give your renters another option, you may allow them to use removable wallpaper instead of paint to change the wall colors. This type of wallpaper isn’t supposed to leave traces or damage once it’s removed. That said, be wary. There are numerous stories posted online that show that this isn’t always the case.

wallpaper home

If you have high-quality tenants, chances are they will understand your decision. Be sure to explain your reasoning in a polite and friendly manner.

#2: YES – But Under Certain Conditions

You can allow your tenants to paint the property while establishing certain conditions beforehand.

Here are some ideas for your paint policy:

  • No woodwork. You could forbid your renters from painting wooden surfaces. Painting wood requires a correct technique and it’s easy to create substandard results without proper knowledge.
  • Color agreement. You must agree on the suitable colors before the tenant paints the unit. You don’t want to be surprised by your tenant when they unveil the new color design in your rental property.
  • Repainting fee. You can charge a repainting free. However, be sure that it’s allowed in your state or locality. This fee covers the repainting that you’ll likely have to do when the renter vacates the unit.

#3: YES – Allow Them to Paint the Property

If you trust your tenant, you can agree to let them paint your property without any conditions. While this is a risky move, giving them a resounding “yes” makes sense in some situations.

For instance, if you’re certain that these tenants are long-term renters, allowing them to paint the unit isn’t a bad idea.

Even if you agree to an unconditional yes, you should still agree on the colors before they start painting. Similarly, you should make sure that they use high-quality paint and have at least some prior experience with interior painting.

brushing paint wall white

What Happens if your Tenant Paints without Permission?

The worst-case scenario involves your tenants painting the property without your permission. Your lease agreement should have a clear clause in it that outlaws such activities.

If they break the lease through illicit painting activities, you can deduct repainting costs from their security deposit. That said, if the tenant repaints the unit back to the exact same color scheme before vacating the property, you may not have the legal right for any deductions.

The Final Word: Tenants Painting Your Rental Property

Your tenants may insist that they want a color change in your property. It’s likely that they will offer to conduct the painting job themselves. Such situations have three possible approaches that you can take as a landlord.

  1. You can unconditionally allow them to paint the rental. This decision comes with a set of risks. Your renters may not have the proper experience to carry out a high-quality paint job. Roller bumps, paint on trim, and paint spills can seriously decrease the appeal of your property.
  2. You could set specific conditions that they have to meet in order to paint your property. For instance, you have to agree on the colors and if it’s legal in your area, you could charge a repainting fee from them. Still, these conditions won’t mitigate the risks of a bad paint job.
  3. Since you don’t have any responsibility to allow them to paint your property, you can always opt for a strict no. But when you have a hard time finding new tenants or the particular renters seem like a perfect long-term match, denying them the painting could financially backfire.

If you have further inquiries, feel free to contact T-Square Real Estate Services, Inc. today!

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