Should Landlords Allow Tenants to Paint their Rentals?

When new tenants move into a new rental one of the requests they may make is if they can paint the rental. Even tenants that have been living in a rental for a while may also want to make a change to the rental’s color scheme. As a landlord or property manager, the easiest and most risk-free option would be to say no to tenants that want to pain. This is because allowing tenants to paint your rental unit can lead to several issues down the road. The wrong color scheme may make the unit harder to fill once the current tenants leave forcing you to wait until the current tenants move out before you can repaint and show the unit to prospective tenants. Tenants can also cause damage to your rental by painting over outlets, damaging carpet and wooden flooring and can do a poor job which you will have to pay to get fixed.

However, saying no to a tenant’s request to paint an apartment can lead to resentment and starting the relationship off on a bad foot. Therefore, figuring out a compromise that can allow tenants to put their personal touch on their new home while minimizing the risks to you, can go a long way in helping tenants feel connected and happy with their rental.


  • Create an official painting policy that fits with you and your tenant's needs. Let tenants know if they choose to paint they will need to hire a professional to ensure there is no damage to the unit. Offer them names of companies or individuals whose work you trust. Let tenants know that if they violate the policy and choose to paint on their own they risk losing part or all of their security deposit.

  • When new tenants are moving in offer to paint the unit 1-2 different colors that are provided by the tenant. Letting prospective tenants know you have a policy of repainting the unit with paint provided by the tenant can be a nice selling point of the unit. In addition, you can potentially work in the extra cost of repainting into the rent and you know the quality of work you will get. Furthermore, it also lets prospective tenants know up front what your policy is in regards to painting (e.g. must be a professional painter) so there is no confusion.

  • As part of your policy, you should look into state and local laws in regards to painting requirements. Some local laws require landlords to repaint units after a given period of time. Therefore when it is time to repaint a unit for a long-term tenant it may be a good opportunity to ask tenants what colors they want. This way they are happy with the apartment’s color scheme, and it does not cost you any extra time or money especially if they provide the paint.

Unfortunately tenants may choose to violate your painting policy and attempt to paint the rental by themselves or using a non-professional painter. Therefore, making sure to take high definition pictures of your rental unit, including photos of outlet covers and crown molding, before new tenants move in and storing them in your software for property management is critical. The pictures that you save in your property management system may be the only proof you have if tenants claim they did not paint or that the property had a similar paint job before they moved in.

This post is provided by RISSOFT Residential and Commercial Property Management Software, specializing in innovative and cutting-edge property management software for all 50 states. Request a demo or contact us today to receive more information.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.