Paint and painting is a major aspect you’ll have to deal with in rental property management. It’s not just for esthetics, a high-quality paint job is critical to attracting the right kind of tenant. Simply put, high-quality tenants (those who rent for long periods of time and have no issues paying on time) will not rent a place with worn, chipped and otherwise dirty paint on the walls and baseboards. So if you own a rental property, it’s practically a guarantee that painting is something you’ll have to deal with at some point during your ownership of the property.

Fresh paint is very attractive to prospective tenants. If your rental unit is on the market, a fresh coat of paint can brighten up the place and make it seem newer. This is especially true when it comes time to show your rental property. A freshly painted unit simply shows much better than an old, dingy one.

A new paint job is surprisingly affordable for landlords. Think about it this way – a small investment in painting can potentially secure you a lease with a new tenant for one year. You are investing a few hundred dollars to return many thousands. This is a good thing considering landlords need to paint their properties much more frequently than an average homeowner. Rental property tenants turn over quickly due to many reasons, and this turn over tends to create dings, nicks, and holes in the wall due to the constant move-ins and move-outs. Even the best tenants can mistakenly damage a wall while moving their stuff!

It’s not necessary to repaint your unit every time a tenant moves out, but it’s much easier (and cheaper) to paint a vacant unit. Often, the best way to plan a thorough re-painting of your unit is to coordinate the painting work with other repairs. That way, you can give your painter a specific set of dates to work with in order to get their job done. Professional painters are often busy and booked well in advance, so planning their work to coincide with a tenant moving out is ideal. If you update other aspects of the property along with the new paint job, you can market your rental property at a higher price point for the next tenant. So consider having the property vacant for one month to allow you to complete the necessary work and then put it back on the market for a higher price. You’ll lose one month of rental income, but easily gain it back plus more by charging a higher rent in your next lease.

Another factor landlords should consider is not allowing their tenants to paint the unit. This should be clearly stated in the lease. Tenants often paint in colours that only they find appealing (like black and neon green, eeek) and after they skip town, you’re left with an undesirable unit that will be more difficult to put back on the market. Not only do you have to pay for a new paint job to replace their unappealing colour schemes, but the job itself might also be more expensive due to the tenant’s inexperienced work and additional coats of primer needed to adequately cover certain paint colours. So do yourself a favour and build paint protection into the lease by way of an addendum that clearly states the tenant cannot paint the unit whatsoever.