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Color has a big impact on the environment of a rental property. When we’re staying in a place where the colors are vibrant, we feel energized. Subdued colors, in contrast, make us feel calm. 

In a rental property, landlords usually use neutral colors like white, gray, beige, and cream to avoid a strong and abrasive color palette that might turn off prospective tenants. It’s also easier to maintain when a repainting session is due. If a landlord has multiple properties, it will probably cost less to use one color palette for all of them. 

Owning an investment property, you may experience having a tenant who wants to repaint your rental unit. Should you allow your tenant to do this? 

There are both pros and cons of allowing a tenant to proceed with repainting your rental property. In this post we outline both of them, as well as some compromise solutions you may wish to use: 

The Pros of Letting a Tenant Repaint Your Rental 

1. Repainting creates a sense of belonging for a renter.

When tenants can exercise certain personal decisions in terms of decorating and painting their home, they’ll likely feel more at home in your rental. This will likely increase the chances that they continue to rent your unit long-term. Giving a tenant a sense of belonging will likely increase the chance that they take better care of your property. 

pros of letting a tenant repaint your rental

2. Painting creates an incentive for tenants to rent long-term. 

When a tenant is comfortable with where they’re living, they’re more likely to stay longer. Even if the rent price is raised slightly over the years, there’s a good chance that the renter will keep on renewing their lease. Being comfortable with their surroundings can be akin to having a sense of ownership. If you let your tenant repaint in your rental unit, you’re sending the message that the place is more of a home to them. In turn, having tenants rent long-term will help you maximize your return on investment faster. 

3. This strategy can result in happier tenants.

Owning a rental property is a competitive investment. There are likely other similar rental properties with similar features in or near your neighborhood. You will need to do your best to find ways to make your tenants happy so that you build retention and get them to renew their lease each year. This is a way to build customer retention or create loyalty for a renter to renew his lease year after year. One of the easiest ways to make a tenant happier is by letting them repaint your rental property. 

The Cons of Letting a Tenant Repaint Your Rental

1. Painting results in more work once a tenant moves out.

Giving your tenant the independence to repaint your unit can be laborious later on. If a tenant only stays for a short while and your unit turnovers are quick, such as every 6 months, it’s simply not worth the effort.

cons of letting a tenant repaint your rental

Repainting in between tenants can take a couple of days or a week depending on the size of the unit. During that time, you will not earn any income at all. You also have to double-check that everything is back to the original neutral shade.

2. Painting can be an additional expense to the property owner.

Repainting a unit can be costly especially if tenant turnovers are frequent. If the chosen shades are darker than the previous paint color used, you will have to apply multiple coats of paint. This will increase the cost of repainting. Financially, you should rather invest the extra cost to other more important upgrades and renovation that would add more value to your rental space. 

3. Most tenants don’t have the professional skills to properly carry out a painting job.

Since most tenants want to save money, they’ll likely repaint the property themselves. This can result in a botched paint job with spills and less-than-attractive workmanship. Instead of adding value to your property unit, it will have the opposite effect. As a landlord, you want to avoid this kind of situation.

Finding a Balance Between the Pros and Cons

Both scenarios of allowing or not allowing a tenant to repaint your property can result in a loss. One alternative is to allow your tenant to proceed but balance this privilege with several conditions. 

Here are conditions you can agree upon beforehand:

  • Who will pay for the cost of materials and laborers?
  • Is a professional going to perform the paint job? 
can i repaint my rental unit
  • How long is the renter staying in the unit to be given this privilege?
  • What type of paint and paint colors are allowed?
  • Will a non-refundable fee cover the cost? Will it be deducted from the tenant’s security deposit?
  • Is there a tacit agreement to repaint the unit back to its original paint color once the tenant moves out?

State Your Conditions in the Lease Agreement

You should put your repainting conditions in the lease agreement so your terms are clear to tenants. It’s best to do this prior to a tenant moving in. This is a good way to avoid potential disputes. 

You’ll likely want to avoid charging a tenant with a painting session if it’s part of your maintenance routine. Normal wear and tear will occur and as part of improving the habitability of your rental space, you will be performing maintenance tasks. One of these will include repainting your property. Typically, you’ll want to hire a professional to repaint your homes to enhance their appearance and value. It would be unfair to let your tenant shoulder the cost of a repainting job when you need to do it anyway. 

If you don’t want the accompanying hassle of letting a tenant repaint your property, you should state that in the leasing agreement. However, you may want to give some consideration to allowing a tenant repaint. Being flexible around this issue may result in more consistent income later on. If you have a professional property manager, like Eagle Property Management, they will help you handle this issue for you.