Should Tenants Paint their own Apartment?

Painting can go a long way in turning your rental apartment into a home for you and your family. Unfortunately, in most jurisdictions you are not allowed to paint unless you have your landlord’s permission. The reasons are financial, as the landlord saves money by controlling what paint and colour goes on the walls. Sometimes just by asking, the landlord might approve it, as there are benefits when tenants live in a freshly painted apartment. Whether you own your condo or you rent, it’s just home to you, and you want your home to be comfortable.

Regulations about Tenants and Landlords Painting

Does the landlord have to paint an apartment before the new tenants move in? Landlords are responsible for the maintenance of the apartment. If the unit is left in good condition by the previous tenant, they are not obligated to paint it. Tenants are responsible for keeping the rental clean. If they are gentle with the painted surfaces, a good paint job will last a long time (source).

If you are not sure what rules apply to your tenancy as far as redecorating, look in your lease. Most leases have rules that will allow for some painting (with permission), but usually limit your colour selection. The main reason for the limitations has to do with the keeping down the turnover costs between tenants. There are savings in using the same colour paint for all the units. Landlords are also aware that covering over darker colours requires multiple coats of paint. Whatever the regulations are, keeping communications open benefits both parties. Why not suggest that you will repaint before moving out, and who knows, you might get some help with the cost of the paint.

Paint brightens apartment
A well painted apartment

The Benefits of Painting Rental Apartments

Benefits to the landlord: Some tenants want to paint their apartment before moving in, or at least soon after they move in. Landlords should encourage this, as it encourages tenants to care about the apartment, and treat it like it’s home. Painting can increase the value of a condo apartment, making it attractive to future buyers down the road. Landlords should allow new tenants to paint their premises and even help them with the process. Furthermore, they should help them with materials and even refer them to painters that specialize in apartment and condo painting. Tenants who take the time to paint their apartments properly are doing their landlords a big favour.

Benefits to the tenant: It’s no secret that painting your own apartment comes with a bunch of benefits. For one, it will help your rental feel like home. And who doesn’t want their home to look as good as new? But there are plenty more reasons why decorating your own place is a great idea.

Your choice of colours is a great way to express your personality and style. Whether you’re going for a bright and colourful look or something more subtle, the painting of your walls will make your place feel like you. Plus, it’s a convenient way to hide any blemishes and flaws in your walls. 

If you are on a tight budget, painting your place can be a cost effective way to give your apartment a new look. All you need is some paint, brushes, rollers and some basic tools. If the project is too big for you, maybe get a helper or two. So, what are you waiting for? Get started on turning your apartment into a home.

What Can Go Wrong with Painting?

Old plaster damage in apartment
This old plaster needs professional painters to fix it.

Painting is not as easy as most people think. Professionals spend years training and have the experience to deliver first rate results. Having said that, a non professional can do an acceptable job if they are willing to invest some time for learning and some elbow grease.
Even so, many things can go wrong with your painting adventure and it’s the kind of stuff that makes landlords nervous.

  • You might uncover damage in old walls and ceilings
  • You might do a terrible job.
  • Your choice of colours is terrible.
  • The floor and adjacent surfaces might get damaged.

How to Protect the Furniture and Floors from Paint

It’s important to take precautions to protect your furniture and floors from the inevitable paint spills. If possible, move the furniture out of the way, preferably to another room. If moving is not possible, cover the furniture with clean plastic and make sure it stays covered throughout the process. Finally, use drop cloths to cover every inch of the floor in the areas you are painting. At the end of the day inspect the floors and other surfaces for spilled paint. Even if you think you had everything covered, paint spills have a way of eluding you. Take the time to clean up.

Some Basic Tips for Painting your own Apartment

  1. Make a plan: Decide what colours you like and make a plan of how you will paint each room. This will save you from making mistakes and make the process go smoothly.
  2. Buy quality paint: Cheap paint is not washable and your walls will be impossible to keep clean, so it’s worth investing in quality paint.
  3. Use primer: If your walls are in bad condition, prime them before painting. Primers help the paint stick better and the walls will look more even.
  4. Wait for paint to dry enough between coats.

Hopefully you and your friends have done some painting before. Painting is a trade skill that takes years to master. A homeowner will never paint as well as a professional can. However, with hard work, some preparation and helpful resources, homeowners can achieve acceptable results. The following video by Lowes is full of helpful tips:

How to Paint a Room - Basic Painting Tips

Should You Hire Professional Painters?

The reason a tenant would decide to paint their own apartment is first and foremost to save money. Painting contractors have high overhead expenses and hire skilled tradespeople that get paid very well. This does not mean that a painting company is out of the reach of all renters. A professionally decorated home is an investment you will cherish for many years to come and represents amazing value. Keep in mind, there are painters that specialize in painting apartments, and have systems in place to keep costs down. Finally, if you don’t know anyone, ask your landlord or property manager to put you in touch with one of their contractors.

Let’s Paint that Apartment!

If you’re looking to add a little bit of personality and hominess to your rental apartment, consider painting it yourself. While there are regulations about tenants painting their own apartments, with proper communication with your landlord it can be done.

Alternatively, you can hire professionals like Ecopainting to do it for you. You might be surprised by how easy and affordable it may be.

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