Do I have to paint

I have a tenant who has lived in my property for 3 years. Our expectation is that she will be there for 20 years (hers and mine). Even though they were late a few times in the last year because of family issues, I did not evict them because the rental market is softer and we did not want the expense of painting, etc. to move in new tenants (also other costs since we now live in another state).
Now she is telling me that the house needs to be painted and work done due to regular “wear and tear”. I am not happy about this. But what is the legal requirement? Everything is in working order. I have always tried to be a good landlord and like to take care of my properties, but I am almost thinking that if I have to paint, I might as well ask her to leave. Is painitng after 3 years reasonable?
I really think the problem is that her unemployed husband was the “babysitter” for 4 kids this summer and he probably let them run wild.
Any advice?

The short answer is YES, i.e. PAINT it.

The longer answer is in a soft market, “top of the line” stuff with good value moves the fastest. I not only charge 10% below market, but clean, paint, recarpet if necessary, and tenants been telling me that only 2 out of ten landlords, especially owners of SFH, and 1-4 families are too lazy, usually wait for new tenants to paint.

And by doing all of this, I not only move it fast, but get a pick of the best tenants, especially those in busy professions that wants to move in, get back to work, rather than repair, clean and paint for another week or two, assuming they can even do it right. This is the world of “instant coffee”, “fast food”, so a tired unkempt place will definitely NOT move.

Landlording is a business like any other. Good customer service means good clean apartments.

Figure it another way. It cost me a little over $2,000 to paint a 3/1. and losing a months rent is $2,200. You might wait longer in a soft market.

Just try saving a few bucks, and you’ll miss out on the busy Aug and Sept season, back to school when people with kids look for rentals, and come Thanksgiving, if the place is still vacant, it’ll after February before the market picks up, and you wished you painted the place in August.

I understand that when she moves out, I would paint. Before she moved in I repainted everything. What I am not sure is whether I have to paint in the middle of her lease.

OK, I read it more carefully. I thought she was in the process of moving out.

I have on many occasions through the years had such requests. Keep in mind it COSTS MORE to paint a unit moving furniture around with 4 kids, as opposed to an empty unit.

My answer depends on if I like the tenant or not, the state of the market. If I paint, keep her happy, and I the place won’t be empty for another few months, in a soft market, then I might be ahead.

Another way I do it is to give them a painting allowance, for a little more than the value of paint, but only after they paint. I explain that they can get the paint, paint it themselves, or put a few doillars in, themselves, and hire a painter.

For instance, the SFH I have, can cost from $1,550 and up for professional painters in an empty unit. The paint itself runs $450.00 for top of the line paint. So if someone’s been there three years, and the paint job is all that important, I would provide a paint allowance of say $600.00 towards painting the place. This compares to my hiring a painter, and have the place empty for a short while, plus the cost to advertising etc.

And if they squawk about the low allowance, explain to them that’s what they qualify for in three years. Had they been they over five years (or whatever number you want to use), you can go higher.

One reason why I might go for it is my average tenancy is two to three years, and I would’ve had to paint and clean anyway, so if it looks like I can extend the tenancy to five years for a few hundred bucks, it’s well worth it.

This solution might move the “unemployed husband” to move his butt and make a buck or two.

But if you feel you need a change of tenants, as I said before, move on it now, and don’t wait till Thanksgiving.

Check your state laws…In New York, where I’ve been a landlord for just over one year, the landlord HAS to repaint a unit every 2 years, even with the same tenant in place…In Virginia, there’s no law to that effect…

Maybe explain to the tenant that you’ll do it this time, but to have the kids take it easy in the future so it doesn’t have to be repainted every 2 or 3 years…Buy some 5 or 10 year guarantee paint, and make sure she knows how long it’s guaranteed,…that could give you some leverage later…And leave a couple of gallons with her for future touchups…But if she’s planning on being a tenant for the next 20 years (I gotta love her life goals there), paint the whole place with semi-gloss so it cleans up easier…Or maybe install some wainscotting in the kitchen, and tile the bathroom…

buffinvestor what cheap paint do you use if you have to leave a couple of GALLONS for touch up isn’t it morecost effective to buy better paint i wuoldn’t use paint with only a 5 yr gaurantee to paint a dog house no wonder you have to paint so often how many coats do you need to cover

Kevinweb - I use Glidden…Not even sure what the guarantee is on it…Might actually be 10 years…It’s inexpensive and looks great…if the tenants are going to mess up the paint job with their “rough housing”, doesn’t matter what kind of paint is on the walls - cheap or expensive - you’ll end up repainting no matter what…

As for leaving a couple of gallons of paint (okay, maybe I should have said one gallon), that was just to set it in the tenant’s mind that she would be doing the paint touchups, not the landlord…And that way maybe the tenant would be much more prone to touchup the paint as it got damaged, rather than wait until the place looked like hell before telling the landlord it’s time to do another paint job…

Thank you all for your great advice. I am going to check the law, but still let them do it for credit on their rent. :biggrin