Should You Give Renters Permission to Paint Interior Walls?
The relationship between renter and property owner has always been a complicated one. There have always been rules about what renters can and cannot do with the property including smoking, pet ownership, certain hobbies, and home improvement projects. It's often agreed that some rulesets take things too far, like preventing renters from putting up wall art, while others are incredibly free-handed with their renters as long as any changes are an improvement or returned to their original state by the move-out date.
While it's understandable for the homeowners to discourage renters from trying to DIY install a kitchen island or take out a wall, what about simply repainting? In many cases, landlords and property managers neither notice nor care if a resident scuffs a wall then paints it back the exact same color, so the problem isn't with renters picking up a paintbrush but there are arguments on both sides of allowing renters to completely repaint a wall, cabinets, or a room.
Protecting the Property
The first concern, and the reason interior painting is not generally allowed, is protecting the property. Wall paint, if treated haphazardly, can ruin everything other than the walls. The last thing you want is wall paint on your carpets, floors, counter-tops, appliances, and so forth. Since you can't trust every tenant to know and use proper painting procedures, you cannot by default allow or encourage them to paint.
However, in many situations, a property owner will make an exception if their resident is clearly level-headed, has a plan, and can enumerate how they will protect the rest of the house while repainting. It all depends on who will be wielding the paintbrush.
Changing the Wall Colors
The second concern that property owners tend to have when it comes to allowing tenants to repaint is their choice of colors. Renting a house on the current market is competitive and your choice of wall colors is often strategic to appeal to current home decor trends and flattering your floor plan. You can't guarantee that your residents will choose their colors so carefully or even be happy with the colors they choose once the paint dries.
If you've decided to seriously consider letting your tenant paint, there are generally two approaches for how to deal with color choice. On one hand, you can allow them to paint any lighter color they want as long as the walls are back to your color at no cost to you when they move out. Alternately, you can work with them to agree on colors you both like so they can provide some improvement to the home.
Working With a Property Manager
Most of the major concerns about allowing renters to paint are based on worrying if the renters can be trusted with paint tidiness and strategic color choice. However, for homeowners currently working with a property manager, a third option neatly presents itself. You can ask your property manager to step in on color selection and lend a hand in ensuring paintbrush and splatter control. They can help your renters choose colors that would still help the house remain competitive on the market and assist in the laying down of protective covering and painter's tape. They can advise on painting best practices and even remind tenants to repaint before move-out if that was the agreed-on solution.
So should you let your renters repaint the interior walls? This is a question that can only be answered by knowing your renters and/or working with your property manager. In your ideal situation, your current renters will be incredibly happy after repainting and by the day they move out, the walls will either be back to normal or more appealing than ever.