Dos and Don’ts for Landlords Painting Rental Properties

Your rental properties are an important investment, and how you maintain them will go a long way toward protecting that investment. One key part of good rental maintenance is the right use of interior painting. What should you know about painting rental units and common areas you own? Here are a few important dos and don’ts.

Do Focus on Neutrals

One cardinal rule for nearly all landlords is to use a mostly neutral color palette for the units themselves. This helps attract quality renters as they can envision themselves living in the unit and their stuff inside it.

Many landlords choose beige or tan tones, grey neutrals, and some soft pastel shades. But having a neutral palette doesn’t mean it must be monotone. Use different hues and complementary colors (such as white trim) to accent the walls. 

Don’t Make Assumptions About Repainting

It’s often a good idea to repaint units between tenants. Why? You may be required by state law to repaint on a certain schedule or to remove problematic materials in old paint. A tenant may have been hard on the unit and caused damage or dirty walls. Or the color might have just gone out of style and end up dating the rental unit. 

However, don’t assume you must always repaint. Short-term tenants and those who have kept the unit particularly well may not have caused a need to paint before the next person arrives. You might spruce up the walls with a good cleaning or perhaps more targeted repainting. 

Do Use Durable Paints

Whatever color scheme you use, make sure you opt for durable types of paint and colors. This is one reason many landlords avoid colors that are too light, as these may show more wear more easily. Be sure you choose quality paint and paint products. And keep in mind that semi-gloss or glossy paint may be cleaned more easily and make the unit look brighter. 

Don’t Use All White

When choosing neutral colors, some people automatically think of the most neutral of all: white. White walls, though, have a few drawbacks. First, they may result in the need to paint more often as they get scuffed and show more dirt. But it can also make the property less appealing to new tenants. Bright white may feel industrial or cold rather than warm and cozy. It can also date the room, reflecting an older style. 

Do Work With Tenants on Painting

One decision every landlord must make is whether or not to allow tenants to paint their units. Allowing some personalization can help keep quality renters long-term, as they will feel more at home. However, just letting any renter paint unsupervised and without professional assistance may cause problems. Renters may not choose paints that will work well in the long run and may have no experience. 

So, how can you work with tenants about painting? Every landlord should require that they approve any paint — both color and texture — before it’s added to a unit. You might go further and agree to offer paint choices to tenants but hire out the work yourself. Or, agree to allow repainting only through the use of an approved painting contractor. 

Where to Learn More

Want more help with the decisions around painting your rental properties? Start by consulting with experienced local painting service. As they work with many other landlords, a quality contractor can provide practical help from brainstorming to the actual work of painting. 

Landlords throughout the Pittsburgh area can rely on the expertise of Fagan Painting. We can help you choose the right palette and paint, decide when repainting is necessary, reduce wear, and create a workable plan with tenants for painting their units. Call today to get started. 

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