Chocolate Brown?

I have a beach rental house in Atlanic Beach, NC for rent at $950 a month right now and a potential tenant (19 yr old Ashley) ask me if she was allowed to Paint the walls, dark brown, and maybe a room in Yellow, before she fills out the application.

Just wondering what other landlords who own multiple properties rules are in this case?

If it were you what would you do?

What have you done in this same situation?

What are the pitfalls?

Feedback welcome and appreciated. :cool

Our policy so far has been if we’ve rehabbed the unit, the tenant can’t touch it. In all cases, they have to have our permission to make any changes like painting. We still have 2 units that have not been re-habbed. One of our tenants moved down the hall into a unit we haven’t rehabbed yet. She asked if she could paint it. We agreed because if/when she moves out of there, we’ll end up having to re-do the entire unit anyway.

Some apartment complexes will let tenants paint walls as long as they paint it back to the original white when they move out. You could consider letting her do that.

What kind of job will she do? You could have very uneven lines, spots in the carpet, etc. If she doesn’t repaint when she leaves, you may be left with colors other people would not like thereby reducing your possible tenant pool.

Latex paint is water soluble and very easy to dab spots out of carpet with a wet rag. Oil based paint - not so much (brushes used for oil based paint have to be cleaned with paint thinner while the brushes for latex can be rinsed with water).

I’m pretty picky and mostly a perfectionist when it comes to things like this. I just don’t feel other people will care as much as me and will not do as good of a job painting.

If you’re having problems renting it, you might consider it. If you have other qualified applicants, I would rather save the hassle and just have someone take it as is.

I would allow it only if she paints it back to the original color before leaving. Otherwise, keep the security deposit. Make sure there is a clause for it. You might even request a 2 year lease.

Heck yes, I would let her paint it chocolate brown. It’s the latest “in” color on the decorating TV shows. Just ask her if she’s painted before, and to use a dropcloth, blue masking tape, and don’t pour paint down the sinks.

A happy tenant will stay longer. She is trying to nest, and this is a person who needs a certain environment and she might keep looking until she finds it.

We have one tenant who has stayed 5 years now due to the antique gold-wash walls that make her happy. She would have withered living with white walls. Or landlord Navajo White.


In my experience, tenants are GREAT at painting - EVERYTHING but what they’re trying to paint! They often slop paint on the floor, the ceiling, and the baseboards. I had one tenant paint (against the rules) and they didn’t get anything on the ceiling, walls, or baseboard…BECAUSE they didn’t paint within 4 inches of the ceiling or baseboards. It looked horrible. Tenants should never be allowed anywhere near paint (or crayons). If you assume your tenants are 3 year olds, you’ll be right 99% of the time.


Offer to paint it for her using your people, if she pays for the labor and paint.

Thanks for all the great suggestions!

This will give me food for thought in the future.

After a credit check this particular tenant
had poor credit and did not qualify.

This house is STILL for rent (Reduced to $925 a month)
and is 11 houses off the beach in Pine Knoll Shores, NC?

The market is so slow and my PM tells me there are a lot
of houses for Rent and also for Sale just setting there.

What to do? What to do?

Oh GO PHILLIES ~ World Series Champions! :biggrin

If it ever stops raining and snowing here :banghead

increase the marketing til rented or sold

Another reason why baseball should be done by September.

I had a situation like this when I was a tenant, so here goes. In college I lived in a 3 bedroom house with 2 other guys. One of the guys moved out and a girl replaced him. She painted the room only as high as she could reach, so it was very uneven, and left the ceiling white, with uneven walls that more of a brown color. The owner said it was no big deal as long as it was painted back to its original color by the end of the lease. This girl ended up dissapearing, she took off and never came back to school. Luckily her dad had paid her share of the rent through, but myself and the other guy living there were forced to pay the owner to repaint the room. If you’re the owner I don’t see it as a big deal if you let someone paint the room as long as theres some agreement on how good its going to look, and if you want, have an agreement that she’ll repaint it when she leaves, and if not, she won’t receive her damage deposit back. Or like the others said, market some more and find someone else

you mentioned that the person had poor credit but that is often the case with many renters (at least in my area).

it will be hard to find a 800 plus credit score on a renter unless your super lucky.

that said - if a renter has less than stellar credit then you can up the security deposit to hedge your bet.

especially in this current economic market where people are losing their jobs and apartments and homes are tougher to rent (as the market is flooded with everyone elses home and apartment for rent).

you may have to lower your standards - or not rent your unit.

you have to calculate the downside of not having someone in that unit for the next few months.

would you rather have someone in the unit with a 580 credit score that gives you $1500 security deposit, but has adequate income and steady job and can pay rent – or are you going to wait out the 780 credit score that gives you $900 security deposit?

tough decisions in a tough market.