Have your tenants been requesting to paint the rental?

Allowing tenants to paint the rental unit has many benefits. For instance, it will help them feel more “at home” in your unit. This may encourage them to continuously renew the lease agreement.

That said, there are also drawbacks to allowing tenants to paint the unit. For instance, they may do a bad paint job, or they may change the walls to a bright color that you don’t approve of.

As a landlord, the colors you choose for the unit’s walls are likely neutral shades, such as beige and tan, as these colors are easy to match with any furnishing.

So, what should you do if your tenants request to paint your rental property in Milpitas, Livermore, or elsewhere in California?

In this post, we’ll go over everything you should consider.

Permitting Tenants to Paint the Rental Property

If your tenants ask to paint the rental property, you have three options.

Here are your options:

1. NO – The Tenant Doesn’t Have Permission

If you don’t want anyone to paint your rental property another color, then you have the right to say no.

However, note that you should reject this request in a polite and kind way.

Your tenants will likely be disappointed, so you may want to offer them another option, such as using wallpaper. Ensure that the wallpaper is made of high-quality material and can be easily removed.

wallpaper rental unit

2. YES – The Tenant Has Permission, But There are Certain Conditions

It’s a good idea to allow tenants to paint the unit, while still having certain conditions put in place.

Here are some of the conditions you may consider:

  • Colors: You may want to limit the palette of colors that the renters can use. Bright or very dark colors can look unappealing. These colors also make it more challenging to repaint the unit back to its original color.
  • Specific areas and rooms of the rental: Another condition would be placing limits on the paint areas.
  • Repainting charges: Before agreeing to repaint the unit, it’s best to agree on the cost of repainting. When the tenant moves out, you can use this fee to undertake another painting session where you can repaint the rental back to into original colors. Check the regulations on collecting a painting fee beforehand in your local district.

3. YES – The Tenant Can Paint the Rental

Allowing a tenant to paint the rental without conditions is also within your authority. It keeps things simple and straightforward.

Before doing so, it’s always important to study both the benefits and drawbacks of permitting a tenant to paint the unit without reservations.

girl painting wallsIf you do decide to say yes, schedule a discussion with the tenant. You can have a more solid idea of the tenant’s vision for the end project. It’s also a way for you to state suggestions and provide your opinion of their plan.

Although we often look at painting ventures as a risky activity, it can help cultivate a long-term relationship with the tenants and they’ll be more likely to stay for the long haul. During economic downturns, having loyal tenants can be an upside to your business.

How to Mitigate the Risks

As mentioned, allowing tenants to paint your rental has many benefits – so, it’s a great idea.

That said, there are some risks.

Here are 2 ways you can mitigate these risks:

1. Include a Special Clause in the Lease Agreement

Your leasing agreement should mention if painting the rental is an option for the tenant.

If it is an option, the lease agreement should state who will shoulder the painting costs. This will avoid confusion, misunderstandings and arguments between you and your tenant.

2. Set Limits

When a tenant wants to make changes to the unit, your approval should always be given – this includes changes made to the color of the walls.

Setting limits is crucial to mitigating risks.

Here are some of the limits you can set:

  • The tenant must hire a professional painter to paint the unit.
  • Only specific wall colors are allowed.
  • The rental colors must be reverted to their original shade when the tenancy ends.

Those are some examples of limits you can set. Be sure that all of these limits are clearly stated in the lease agreement.


Bottom Line

Part of being a landlord is handling tenant requests. One of these requests may be to paint the property.

Since your goal is to keep your tenants happy, you may want to allow them to change the wall colors and paint. This is one of the effective ways to retain long-term renters.

If you do allow tenants to paint your rental, we recommend setting limits and conditions. This will help mitigate the risks.

That said, if you aren’t comfortable allowing tenants to change the paint, you have the right to say “no”.

If you need property management help, feel free to contact East Bay Property Management today!