Dear Landlord Hank: My Tenant Wants To Repaint His Unit – What Should I Do?

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Dear Landlord Hank: Should I let a tenant repaint?

Tenants wanting to paint one of our rentals is something that often comes up. Should I let a new tenant repaint his unit? Each week veteran landlord and property manager Hank Rossi answers questions from other landlords and property managers around the country about their rentals.

By Landlord Hank Rossi

Dear Landlord Hank,

A new tenant has moved into one of my units and has asked if he could repaint. I just paid to have the unit painted white so it would go with everything. What do you think?

Dear Landlord Mike,

I would tell the tenant that he cannot make any changes to the paint.

In the past, tenants have sworn they would repaint to original color and it has never happened.

The tenants often paint some color that is difficult to cover -very bright or very dark- so when they move out it will cost you two times as much to repaint for next family.

I give tenants a nice neutral paint color

I like to give tenants a nicely painted, neutral color, normally bright white to make the units feel even larger.

But, occasionally someone asks if they can repaint. Now the answer is ‘NO.’

If you don’t like the color, I’m sorry but repainting is not an option.

In my experience, either tenants don’t repaint, as promised, or they do a poor job and get paint on carpet, or use the wrong color, etc., therefore costing even more money to fix and repair.

Tenant was a painter and it still did not work out

I even had a tenant that worked as a painter (not for me on my rentals), but promised he’d repaint.

That promise went out the window when his divorce occurred and he couldn’t find the time.

I have over 20 years of learning from my mistakes

I’ve had prospects say they will take an unpainted unit after viewing the unit prior to the current tenant leaving. I thought that I couldn’t really lose, since I would not be supplying the paint or labor.


These tenants added accent walls in bold colors and designs which made repaint far more work when they moved out.

About the author Landlord Hank:

“I started in real estate as a child watching my father take care of our family rentals- maintenance, tenant relations, etc , in small town Ohio. As I grew, I was occasionally Dad’s assistant. In the mid-90s I decided to get into the rental business on my own, as a sideline. In 2001, I retired from my profession and only managed my own investments, for the next 10 years. Six years ago, my sister, working as a rental agent/property manager in Sarasota, Florida convinced me to try the Florida lifestyle. I gave it a try and never looked back. A few years ago we started our own real estate brokerage. We focus on property management and leasing. I continue to manage my real estate portfolio here in Florida and Atlanta. “ Visit Hank’s website here.

Photo credit Kuzmichstudio via

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