Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

should I let my tenants paint my rental unit

The longer a tenant stays in your property, the more autonomy they wish to have. This can reflect on their need to decide the color of the rental unit. Most landlords prefer to use neutral paint colors such as cream and beige for easy maintenance, while some tenants prefer bold colors to express their personality.

While there may be nothing wrong with allowing tenants to paint your rental property, it does carry some drawbacks. It’s up to you as the landlord whether you feel it’s worth your while to agree to this particular renter’s request. Although, there are still benefits that you cannot discount.

This does have to be a black and white decision process. There are options and restrictions a landlord can employ to remain open. As long as the conditions are honored, issues will be minimal.

Written Lease

One of the pillars of a successful property management business is a clear written lease. More tips on being effective as a landlord can be found here.

When it comes to alterations in the unit, clauses governing this activity must be clearly defined. These clauses will prevent any conflicts and create awareness for tenants regarding the limitations of any remodeling. 

Some conditions to consider:

1. Agreement on who will pay for the painting labor and materials – these are extra expenses for the landlord, so depending on the renter’s willingness to pay for the additional cost, painting may be allowed.

2. Agreement on the schedule of the painting project – a designated period must be allotted for painting since it can become an inconvenience, especially if the property is an apartment complex.

3. Agreement on specific areas for painting – depending on the landlord, there may be restrictions on specific areas painting is permitted. This is because a larger space may mean more costs and effort to repaint when the tenant moves out.

Agree on areas that are allowed to be painted

4. Agreement on what paint brand and range of colors to use in the rental unit – some landlords are particular about the quality of work and will only use a selected number of brands. For colors, there may be acceptable shades that a landlord may require.


As a safeguard against any alterations in the rental unit, it’s good practice to document the state of your property before a tenant occupies your rental unit. This way, you have evidence of your property’s condition before any changes have occurred. 

If you wish to revert the paint color to the original, an inventory of photographs and video will also make this easier to achieve. This method discourages disputes and makes faster calculations of any damages and repair work.

Labor and Materials

When you permit a tenant to paint the rental unit, there will be expenses for the labor and materials used. You also need to consider if you’ll be fine with a DIY painting session or if a professional should be called in to perform the work. Deciding beforehand will prevent disputes that may arise in terms of financial spending.

Suitable Paint Colors

Some tenants can have odd color choices. Imagine if a tenant paints your rental unit in black; will you allow that? It’s best to evaluate and clearly state what color scheme you’ll allow being used in your rental unit.

Normal Wear and Tear

Part of your property maintenance as a landlord is to repaint your unit. This enhances the look of your property. 

As a landlord, you're required to repaint as upkeep

In case you allowed your tenant to paint your unit and his tenancy has ended, you can repaint your property as part of your regular maintenance without asking for additional charges. As your obligation to address the normal wear and tear, this is a fair arrangement.

Positive effects of allowing your tenant to paint the rental unit

Length of Stay

A tenant will be encouraged to renew his lease year after year. This sense of autonomy is not easily permitted in other properties. As a landlord, you should aim for long-term tenants for consistent returns so you can look for other investment opportunities.

Sense of Home 

Colors can be soothing and make a difference in terms of the warmth they exude. A tenant is certain to feel more at home in this setting. 

Paint colors can affect residents’ moods and give a fresh look to the rental home. Interior design often focuses on the use of paint colors to unify the design of a residence.

Strategy to please tenants 

An open-minded landlord is often the reason a tenant establishes a great rapport with you. It shows he’s flexible and listens to the needs of his tenants. When you allow tenants to paint the rental unit, you give them freedom, which then boosts their overall happiness.

Negative effects of allowing your tenant to paint the rental unit

Additional expenses

Painting means spending money on new cans of paint and a professional painter. If a landlord has other more important housing projects, painting can be assigned a lower priority.

Laborious and requires plenty of effort 

A landlord has a long list of tasks without including the repainting of the unit when the tenant leaves.

Landlords have many responsibilities as it is

Repainting, as part of property upkeep, is done between 5 to 10 years. Attending to a painting job every couple of months or after a year can be exhausting.

Sloppy quality of work

Most renters are not professional painters, thus if the work is DIY, it’s below the expected standard. You also have to manage and fix the damages that accompany self-painting projects.

Bottom Line

You must exercise precautions before allowing a tenant to alter the condition of your property. If you’re prepared for the risks it may bring and have ready solutions, you can give the green light. 

Otherwise, if you’re not feeling confident about the outcome, it’s best to say no. What’s important is having a clear lease to stipulate your conditions. 

If you’re looking for a topnotch property manager in Kansas, call Young Management Corporation at 816-779-3131 or 913-947-3131. You can also check out their website at