Painting and Allowing Tenants to Paint

By Josh Kattenberg

Many times when a property is put up for rent, it requires a new coat of paint. Because tenants are in a hurry to move in, and because the landlord is out of time, an agreement is reached that the tenant will do the painting for something off the first month’s rent.  Is this a good idea? Consider the risks of allowing tenants to paint your property:
1) An owner does not know the quality of work the tenant does. Even the most well intentioned person is not a professional painter. Even homeowners who love their home and have a vested interest in doing a good job, often get paint on the ceiling, woodwork, and carpet. While not difficult, doing a professional paint job requires practice. Painting is the easy part–doing all the prep work is difficult. Many tenants do not lay down drop cloths, tape off the wood work, or property wash and scuff sand the wall. In addition, property “cutting in” a ceiling takes many hours of practice to do a good job. YouTube clip of proper painting technique.  Painting part 2.

2) The tenant is not insured. If they spill a gallon of paint in the carpet, the owner may think the tenant should pay for the damage, but now the owner is in a difficult position of trying to get the tenant to pay for the damage right at the beginning of the lease. Is the tenant the owner’s employee or a subcontractor?  What happens when the tenant falls off the chair they are standing on and breaks a leg?  Who is liable? They are working for the owner. The owner is compensating them for their work. This could bring up some interesting insurance issues.
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