How Often Should Landlords Paint?

How Often Should Landlords Paint?

Interior paint is both an aesthetic boost and practical need for rental properties, and landlords will have to deal with paint at some point in their management and maintenance duties.

The Appeal of Fresh Paint

The smell of fresh paint and the look of bright new walls is highly attractive to the occupants of any home. When you are trying to find qualified tenants for your rental property, a coat or two of fresh paint can make the place look newer and seem brighter. It’s a real psychological boost for applicants to tour a newly painted rental because it is more appealing than a worn and dingy one.
New paint is also a fairly affordable thing that landlords can do that gives them a real bang for the buck when it comes to making a rental property look amazing. When there are dings, nicks, dents and holes in the wall, it’s easy enough to repair them, but with a coat of paint, you won’t even know that there was a problem to begin with. All these reasons and more are why landlords generally paint more frequently than the average homeowner does.

Are Landlords Required to Paint Between Tenants?

While many landlords choose to do it for marketing and aesthetics, they are not compelled to in most areas. As long as interior paint meets all conditions for habitability (not lead-based, or chipping or peeling) paint does not have to be new for a tenant to take occupancy.
Worn or scuffed paint is not considered a hazard and doesn’t affect the warranty of habitability. That being said, many qualified tenants may pass on a property that isn’t freshly painted for cosmetic and aesthetic reasons, making it more difficult to attract the best applicants..
When to paint a rental unit is usually at the owner’s discretion, and as long as the property is safe, cosmetic things are not mandatory to do for every turnover. Due to cost and inconvenience, most landlords paint every 3 to 5 years and try to coincide that with a turnover.
Because painting is such a hassle for both the painters and the occupant, and empty rooms are much easier to paint than with furniture and belongings, many landlords choose to paint between tenant occupancies. 

  1. Evaluate the rental property once the tenant has moved out. You’ll be able to see any damage to the walls when the place is completely empty and can best evaluate whether rooms need paint or not.
  2. Clean the walls. Sometimes scuffs, smudges, dirt and oils can build up on the wall and a quick clean with mild soap and water can refresh the paint quickly. Magic erasers and spot scrubbers also work wonders on scuffs. Focus especially on door frames, window trim, around light switches and other high traffic areas. You might be surprised at how good the walls look when they are actually cleaned.
  3. Consider painting high traffic rooms only. If the bedrooms appear fine, but the living room has a lot of dings and dents, you can just paint the rooms that need it most. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing paint job.
  4. Your property needs a competitive edge. If your rental property is in a hard-to-rent area, your city is experiencing some economic downturns or you otherwise have a difficult time attracting quality tenants, new paint may be what you need to make your place stand out above the others.
  5. Use as a renewal incentive. To keep a good resident in place who has been there for several years, consider arranging for paint as a renewal incentive. Even after a few years, walls can look dull and lifeless, and a new paint job would make the tenant happy and keep the rental unit looking nice. When tenants have pride in their home, they take better care of it, so it’s a win-win for you.

Sellstate Alliance Property Management is here to make sure your investment is protected. We treat your property as our own. We offer a wide range of property management services to fit your needs as a landlord or homeowner. This blog was brought to you by Sellstate Alliance Property Management and our outstanding vendor partner Painting Colors. Painting Colors, LLC is a family-owned and operated painting company that provides both interior and exterior painting expertise. Please check them out on Facebook!

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