How Often Do I Have To Paint My Rental House?

Property Manager with HomePointe Property Management, CRMC 00691121

Every time a vacancy occurs the owner/landlord will have to evaluate the walls.  It is always best to start a new tenant off with walls in perfect condition.  This perfect condtion will help attract a better tenant and will also give a good starting point from which to evaluate the condition upon move out.

Whatever the condtion is at the start, it should be documented in writing, photographs probably will not help that much, and signed by both the landlord and the tenant.  If the walls have new paint, write that down.  If there are marks, write that.

Upon move out, you can go back to those original notes and compare to the current condition.  If money has to be spent to bring the property back to original, the tenant may be held responsible to pay.  They are entitled to normal wear and tear, so you should have a policy to depreciate the paint job, probably over 3-6 years.  We lean on the nice guy side and use 3 years.  If a tenant lives in the home for 1.5 years, they pay half of the cost to bring the walls back to original condition.

If you get into a dispute with the moved out tenant, you will  have to convince a judge if they sue you.

With ongoing tenants, I would not repaint more often than about 6-10 years.  It all depends on what you want to do in this area.  I know I don't paint my walls more often than that.

Posted by

Robert A. Machado, CPM, MPM

HomePointe Property Management

Sacramento, Yolo, El Dorado, and Placer Counties

We manage residential and commercial property.

916-429-1205 x 105


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Monique Combs
Royal Shell Real Estate - Bonita Springs, FL
Royal Shell Real Estate - Monique Combs

Robert ~ I have it painted almost every time a  tenant moves in. It gets costly if they are moving every year. I have good tenants now and I think they all are going to stay for a long time.

Mar 03, 2010 05:48 AM #1
Brian Luce
HomeStarr Realty Inc. - New Hope, PA
Associate Broker



I look at fresh paint at the start of the lease as kind of a form of risk management.  In addition to starting out the new tenant in a clean place, I think the pics and receipts clearly show "starting condition" should there be an issue at the end of the lease.

Mar 03, 2010 05:51 AM #2
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease


Paint is a realtor's best friend!  It makes everything look nice, fresh and clean with the best ROI.  

All the best, Michelle

Mar 03, 2010 12:12 PM #3
Stephanie Renauer
I am moving into a new rental. We the new tenants have changed the color of 3 rooms. We volunteered to paint them ourselves. We did a top notch professional job. The landlord has been doing the rest of the touch ups and patching of the remaining 6 rooms. Well, he is not sanding flat or doing half the job we did. We have givin our deposit, but have not moved in. Do we have room to request he fix his walls? Or do we have to grin and bear his mediocre work? Or should we just pull out?
Feb 20, 2012 07:35 AM #4
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Robert Machado

CPM MPM - Property Manager and Property Management
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