Should I Allow My Tenants to Paint My Rental Property?

When we occupy spaces, we tend to personalize our environment to suit our tastes. This is one of the reasons that renters often wish to decorate your rental unit. This might include choosing the paint color of the walls, hanging picture frames and adding new furnishing.

There's nothing wrong with this request, so long as you are aware of the consequences of permitting the renter to do so. There are both advantages and disadvantages in this scenario. We'll outline both in this article and help you reach your decision.

The Written Lease

What are the stipulations outlined in your contract on the topic of alterations in the rental unit? Do you have clauses that deal with painting and decorating? What's the extent of the conditions?

If you're still debating whether to allow your renter to paint or not to paint, then the following is a list of the pros and cons.


Permitting a tenant to paint the unit establishes a sense of home.

When a tenant can exercise freedom in terms of decorating decisions, such as having a say in the paint colors of the walls, it can foster a feeling of home. This degree of control over one's environment renders familiarity and a sense of ease. Tenants look for this element when renting to feel comfortable with their surroundings.

Allowing a tenant to paint the unit incentivizes him to stay longer.

When a tenant has made the space his own and establishes a feeling of home, he becomes more attached. This results in wanting to stay longer in the rental unit.

Humans are creatures of comfort and being given an option to embrace your living space with your personal touch means settling down for a long time. Moving again can be a hassle, as a tenant wants to avoid repeating the process of adjustment.

Giving a tenant an option to paint the unit will create happiness.

When given the go-signal to decorate and alter the rental unit, a tenant will feel a sense of happiness and satisfaction. The rental property business can be competitive, and you seek to meet the needs and desires of the renters as much as you can.

Your goal is to drive loyalty to earn consistent income returns. Thus, making your tenant happy by permitting him to paint is beneficial for the landlord.


A landlord may find repainting the unit to be laborious upon a tenant's exit.

Depending on the period of a tenant's stay, as a landlord, you may not think it's worth much effort to continually repaint the unit to cover the previous color choice. It can be time-consuming and painstaking to inspect and ensure that the unit is back to its original condition and appearance. Interested potential tenants can't rent right away since repainting the unit can take considerable time to accomplish.

A landlord will need to allocate a budget expense for painting the unit.

Hiring a professional contractor to paint your rental property means additional costs for you. Some tenants will pay for it but would opt to DIY the paint job. This can be expensive since you have to make a financial allowance for accidental spills and other damages on your woodwork and furnishing.

A landlord knows that DIY projects by tenants can leave his rental unit less appealing.

Renters naturally want to save and will volunteer to conduct a DIY painting job.

This may have undesirable results since enthusiastic confidence rarely translates to a professionally finished painting session.

As a landlord, this dampens your willingness to allow the tenant a DIY procedure. After all, you've taken the time and care to make your rental space as attractive as possible to encourage more potential renters.

Conditional Permit

You want to balance the positive consequences of allowing a tenant to paint your rental property with the downside. You can create an option with certain conditions.

Here are some points that are open for negotiation concerning your tacit agreement:

  • Will the cost of the painting material and labor be the tenant or landlord's responsibility? Is splitting the cost a reasonable middle ground?
  • Is DIY painting allowed or must a professional contractor undertake this job?
  • Is painting allowed for new tenants or is it limited to those who've been staying in the rental unit for more than a year?
  • Are there restrictions on the paint color schemes?
  • If damages resulting from painting occur, are the costs covered by a non-refundable fee or deducted from the renter's security deposit?
  • Will you require the tenant to revert the paint color to its original shade once he ends his lease?

Importance of Lease Clauses

Policies on rental unit alterations, such as decorating or painting, must be clearly outlined in the written lease. This is to properly guide tenants on what to do.

If the agreement is unclear or vague, a tenant may proceed with his intentions. This will be a source of conflict since something that's not properly stated in the lease can be taken as approval.

Importance of an Inventory

Documentation is vital before a tenant's move-in. It will show the condition of the rental space and there will be fewer arguments about deductions from the security deposit later on. This is especially important if the tenant will choose to repaint the unit.

You must have recorded photos and videos of the property's initial state, so before a tenant leaves your premises when his tenancy ends, you can compare both conditions of the rental unit.

Bottom Line

There's no perfect decision when it comes to allowing or disallowing your tenant to paint the rental unit according to his preference. Some landlords permit it while others don't. If you're looking for a property manager who has expertise in dealing with issues like this, contact Gifford Property Management at (888) 870-5070 or visit their website at

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