As a DC Landlord, Should I Allow Tenants to Paint My Rental Property?

As a DC Landlord, Should I Allow Tenants to Paint My Rental Property?

What happens when you’ve found great tenants but a couple months into their lease, they ask to paint your rental property?

If you’re like many landlords, you’ve stuck to neutral colors such as white, beige, and maybe the occasional gray. Maybe your tenants aren’t keen on these colors, and want to change the walls to something more their style.

Whether or not you allow tenants to paint your rental property as a DC landlord depends on a few things, such as if you’d like your tenants to stay long-term and the paint color.

You have the right to deny their request to paint, but here’s when and under what circumstances you might consider allowing tenants to paint your rental property.

You Can Allow Tenants to Paint, With Restrictions

Let’s say you love your tenants and want to make every effort to increase their chances of staying long-term. In this case, you might consider allowing them to paint, but with restrictions, of course.

For example, you can allow them to paint the color of their choice, but you can also require that before they move out, they must return the walls to their original color. 

Another stipulation you may include is that you’ll agree to a new paint color, but you’ll hire a professional to do the job. While you may trust your tenants for a DIY paint job, it’s generally best to hire a professional to minimize any damage done to the flooring, trim, windows, and other elements of your rental property.

Stipulate That Renters Must Cover the Cost of Painting

If your renters are unhappy with the current paint color of your income property and want to change it, you can require that they cover the cost of the painting job, whether you agree to a DIY job or a professional job.

You may also consider offering a subsidy if the tenant agrees to an extended lease. For example, you may agree to paint the unit and cover the costs if they’ll extend their one-year lease to 18 months or even two years.

Remember to always include any stipulations for painting in your lease. If you haven’t added any painting restrictions or cost agreements to the lease, it’s best to get the agreement in writing as an addendum to ensure both parties are clear on what’s expected of them.

Always Ask to Approve the Color

While most renters won’t want to paint anything too wild—for example, they may just want to change the beige to white or the white to blue—it’s still important for you as a DC landlord to approve the paint color prior to agreeing to let tenants paint the unit.

The requests for a color change should be within reason. You can even specify certain colors in the lease if you want. If your tenants come to you and want to paint a color that’s well outside your approved scheme, such as dark purple or a bright orange, you can always agree to let them paint an accent wall instead of the entire apartment.

In cases such as these, be sure to require that they cover the costs of painting the unit as well as returning it to the original color prior to moving out to minimize your costs and efforts for agreeing to this color switch.

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