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Painting a rental apartment is one of the most controversial questions in the rental home community. 

On the one hand, painting an apartment helps tenants settle in their homes. But on the other hand, painting a rental can be costly for the landlord if tenants don't revert the changes or cause damages in the process.

The fact of the matter is that this is a difficult decision with high risks for landlords.

If you decide to allow tenants to paint the rental home, this blog will highlight some things to keep in mind and suggest some guidelines. 

First, however, let's highlight why it is important for tenants to paint their rental homes.

Allowing Painting

As a landlord, there are many reasons why you should consider allowing your tenants to paint the walls of their rental property. Here are a few reasons why this can be a good idea:

Creating a Home

Fresh paint can make a rental property feel more like a home.

For many people, being able to personalize their living space is important. Allowing tenants to paint the walls can make them feel more at home in the rental property, which can lead to higher levels of tenant satisfaction and a lower likelihood of turnover.

Simple Upgrade

Painting the walls can be an inexpensive way to update a rental property.

If the walls look dull or outdated, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way toward freshening up the space.

This can be especially beneficial if you are trying to attract new tenants or increase the rent on the property.

Cover Imperfections

Painting the walls can be an easy and cost-effective way to cover any damages or imperfections.

Over time, walls can become scuffed, stained, or damaged. Rather than having to repair or replace the walls, allowing tenants to paint over these imperfections can be a simple and cost-effective solution.

Fostering Responsibility

Allowing tenants to paint the walls can foster a sense of ownership and responsibility.

When tenants are allowed to personalize their living space, they may feel more invested in the property and take better care of it.

This can lead to a lower likelihood of damages and a higher level of tenant satisfaction.

Simple Process

Painting the walls can be a relatively quick and easy process, primarily if you work with a professional painting company.

Many painting companies can complete the job in just a few days and handle all aspects of the project, from preparing the surfaces to cleaning up after the job is done.

Why should tenants paint their rental homes?

Overall, allowing tenants to paint the walls of their rental property can significantly increase tenant satisfaction, update the property, and save on repair and maintenance costs. It can also foster a sense of ownership and responsibility among your tenants, leading to better care of the property. However, guidelines must be set to protect the landlord from potential issues. Let's discuss these issues in the next section.

Potential Issues 

Although wall painting might seem simple, it can cause much financial liability to the landlord. 

In the painting process, many things could go wrong like: 

  • Staining wood flooring¬†
  • Uneven paint job¬†
  • Hard to remove colors¬†

… and many more expensive mistakes. 

When allowing your tenants to paint the rental, many issues can arise that can lead to your financial liability. The above-referenced mistakes when painting can lead you to lose time and money in trying to revert the damages. 

Staining Wood Flooring

When you allow tenants to start painting the rental property, keep in mind your wood flooring.

Paint is tough to remove from wooden materials and might lead you to redo the entire apartment's flooring.

Many items can get stained in the painting process, like light switches and kitchen cabinets.

Ensure that the tenants clean up after themselves throughout the whole process.

Uneven Paint Job

An uneven paint job can be the cause of many things, but above all, it happens to inexperienced painters.

An uneven paint job might lead the landlord to spend more money on the repainting process once the lease term is over.

Hard to Remove Colors

Many colors are simply hard to remove from painted walls.

If you allow tenants to paint rental property walls, ensure to approve the color and only allow neutral colors.

Colors that stain walls are reds and neon pinks, so ensure the paint color is approved by you.

Potential issues when painting

Now that you know the issues that come along with interior painting let's discuss the guidelines you can set up to minimize the financial risk on your property.

Pay to Paint

One of the main concerns, when tenants paint their rental units is the liabilities that come with inexperienced painters. 

One guideline to keep in mind is to charge a fee for painting; once the tenants move out, use the money to repaint yourself. 

Many landlords, however, choose a different route. Let's discuss this in the next section. 

Revert Changes 

The most popular guideline for painting rental properties is to revert the changes when the lease term is over or before moving out. 

A tenant painting their living space does not have to become too complicated.

Many landlords allow painting if tenants repaint the property before vacating. 

If the tenant does not revert the changes, you would then subtract it from the security deposit. 

The main concern with this guideline, however, is that sometimes tenants aren't the best at painting, which can hurt the aesthetic of the apartment and hurt your ability to get a tenant promptly; this is when hiring professionals can help; let's discuss this in the next section 

Professional Painters Only 

Because not everyone is a professional painter, you might want to hire a professional when reverting the changes made by a tenant. 

Hiring a professional painter will help you make the property more attractive to potential tenants on listing sites.

Whether the expenses for this job come from the security deposit or charging the tenants a painting fee, it is important to always state your intentions in the lease agreement. 

If you do not want to repaint the whole property, let's discuss another option in the next section. 

Limited Painting

Suppose you do not want to worry about the whole property being repainted. In that case, you should consider only allowing painting in certain rooms or walls. 

A great example of this would be only allowing accent walls. 

By only letting tenants paint accent walls on designated areas, you can rest assured that you will not have to repaint an entire property. 

This guideline would be better for rentals like student housing when tenants often stay for less than two years. 

Bottom Line

In conclusion, allowing your tenants to paint their rentals is a great way to help them feel at home. Still, it can also lead to financial consequences for the landlord. 

Setting up some guidelines will help you suffer fewer financial liabilities and ensure that your property looks great for the next tenant. Overall, it will ensure that your investment is constantly optimized.


Ilia is a Content Creator and Copywriter at DoorLoop with a background in Real Estate and Law. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Florida International University with Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and International Relations.

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