Own Rental Properties? When and Why to Paint

As a Howard County painting company, we get this question a lot. It’s a good one. If you own rental properties, whose job is it to repaint the interiors, and how often should they be painted? There are a number of factors. Let’s start with the practical questions and go on to the more theoretical:

What Does Your Contract Say?

While there’s no law on the books in Howard County (or anywhere else except in private HOAs), it’s considered a best practice to repaint your rental units every 3-5 years, usually in between tenants. However, this is one detail you’ll want to put in your lease. How often will you pay for painting? Make it clear. And what conditions could alter that schedule (damage that’s not the tenant’s fault, for example)? If tenants stay longer, you can probably get away with waiting longer to paint, unless there’s obvious wear and tear – or if they demand it. If you notice on the annual inspection that paint is peeling, or walls are dirty or scratched, you might want to tell them you’ll be sending a painter around. Above all, make it clear in the lease that you want the space “returned” in the same condition you gave it to them. (And make sure your security deposit is sufficiently large to deter recklessness.)

What Kind of Landlord Are You?

Tenants are your customers. Good customer service always attracts and retains people who respect a good value. Let them know that, yes, the new paint job is in service to them—but that it’s also just part of your maintenance plan. The way you treat your property speaks volumes to tenants. (It communicates also to neighbors, who may be as interested in their property values as you are in yours, and may be happy to keep an eye on your place for you.) Nothing refreshes a space like new paint. While some tenants may consider it a hassle to prepare for painters in the house (a busy two-job household with kids, perhaps), others will consider it a perk.

What Kind of Tenants Do You Have or Want?

Most people will value something that’s handed over to them in pristine condition over something that is not. That said, research shows that people treat a thing they’ve rented differently from a thing they own. Sad, but true. If you rely on your rental properties’ income, you will have done your due diligence to get the best people possible. By “best” we mean those who will treat your property like their own. They will pay their rent on time, every time, and stay more than 10 years. Those are the dream tenants everybody wants. Now, this kind of tenant may also be self sufficient when it comes to painting. They may want to create their own style – and they’ll probably do the painting themselves. Dream tenants, generally speaking, get to do whatever they want – within reason. Make sure your contract is clear about what you’ll expect it to look like when they move out – back to plain white walls like nothing ever happened? Whatever. Write it down.

STB Knows Commercial Painting, Inside and Out

At STB Painting, a Howard County painting company, we work with a lot of Maryland landlords. We paint commercial spaces, apartment properties, and single family homes of every size and style. We get trained professional crews in and out fast — and a project manager is on site at all times. We promise you’ll remember your paint job — for all the right reasons. Call today for a free estimate.

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