It’s no secret that being a landlord or property manager is no easy task. You have countless responsibilities, including maintaining the property, performing necessary repairs, taking inventory, and ensuring that tenants are treating the property with respect.

You never know what you’ll find behind closed doors following a tenancy. Many landlords perform basic upkeep between tenancies which often includes deep cleaning, carpet washing or replacement, and a fresh coat of paint on the walls.

But what happens when your tenants want to repaint the walls during their tenancy? Should you let them?

Here we’ll explore whether or not to let your tenants paint and, if so, what stipulations you should make.

The Short Answer Is, Yes

Are you experiencing a dry spell between tenants? Might the renter in question become a long-term tenant? If so, it may be in your best interest to let them paint.

Chances are saying “no” won’t cost you the tenant but you never know! If a renter is investing in a long-term contract, they may have a real problem with those pale green or beige walls.

If it’s the difference between sealing a deal and having a vacancy, painting is a fairly simple project that you can easily fix after they’re gone. 

One way to guarantee the job’s done right is by offering to paint the space yourself or hiring a professional to do so. Even if the tenant insists on painting themselves, strongly urge them not to.

Most people think repainting a room or even an entire house is easy. It’s not! Inexperienced painters get it on the trim, floor, carpets, furniture, and elsewhere.

Not to mention, not letting the first coat dry long enough before applying the second results in brush strokes and uneven paint that are eyesores.

Just remember, hiring someone to repaint your property takes time and costs money.

Only agree to this if it makes financial sense and the tenant is agreeing to a long tenancy. 

Create Conditions and Stipulations

Although it’s fine to say “yes” when your landlord asks to repaint the rental property, you should do so with stipulations and conditions attached.

The first one being that the job must be done by a professional. While it’ll cost you more money, it’ll be fewer headaches in the long-run when you don’t have to repaint or pay to fix it.

This is the same logic behind why many landlords hire letting agents for their rental property. The stress and time it takes to maintain a property aren’t easy.

The good news is, Rentround makes it simple for landlords to compare fees and rates for both online and high street agents.

Not only should you charge the renters for the professional paint job but let them know you’ll be changing it back once their tenancy is over and that they have to pay for this paint job as well.

Even the best tenants can get ugly once the tenancy agreement ends, so how can you guarantee you’ll get the money for a fresh coat of paint?

Here are a few tips:

  • Charge a non-refundable painting fee (if this is allowed in your state)
  • Inform the tenant that the painting job will be taken off their security deposit (if they pay one)
  • Tell them that they’ll receive a bill if the security deposit doesn’t cover both the paint job and whatever other damages are caused during their stay

After outlining these stipulations some tenants might agree to leave the paint color as-is.

When In Doubt, Say No

Are you struggling with the decision of whether or not to let your tenants repaint your rental property?

If your gut tells you no, you’re well within your right to refuse their request. Just know, that for some strong-minded renters, this could be a deal-breaker. Suggest they use something called removable wallpaper that goes directly over the paint. This lets the tenants give the space the personal touch they’re looking for without making any permanent changes.

Just keep in mind, like with any quick fix, removable wallpaper doesn’t always come off as easily as promised.

Let the renters know that if even a small amount of glue residue is left, that they’re responsible for repainting or changing the walls to their original state. 

When They Don’t Take ‘No’ For An Answer

Some tenants don’t like hearing the word “no”. If your renters take matters into their own hands and paint or wallpaper the walls without your permission, you can take action.

You can legally charge your tenant the cost of repainting or fixing the walls only if changes were made without your permission or knowledge. Keep in mind, though, that you can’t keep their security deposit to cover normal wear and tear.

Common imperfections include nicks or marks from moving furniture or minor peeling paint.

These fall under the category of readying the property for the next tenants.

Legally, you can’t charge prior tenants for the maintenance or repairs you perform in preparation for new tenants or what’s considered basic upkeep.

Don’t Let a Paint Job Cost You Income

One way to avoid this dilemma all together is to research what paint colors most people like. Choosing neutral, universal colors like beige and gray might prevent tenants from requesting a paint or wallpaper change. Upkeep and maintenance are two more important factors when renting a property.

The more attractive the property is, the less likely renters are to ask for major changes – like a new paint job. Remember, you’re well within your rights to refuse this request, but it may cost you a tenant.

If you agree to the change, place stipulations on it like hiring a professional painter at their expense.

Just make sure you don’t illegally keep their security deposit or charge them for general upkeep.