Painting Clause

Last Updated: November 16, 2023 by Savannah Minnery

A painting clause is a legal statement outlining the rules or restrictions surrounding the painting of a rental unit. This clause clarifies whose job it is to repaint at the end of a lease, any non-refundable painting deposits, or additional terms.

Sample Painting Clause

Below is one example of a painting clause that could be incorporated into a residential lease agreement:

The landlord reserves the right to determine when the premises may be paintedunless otherwise specified by State or local law. Tenant(s) are not allowed to paint the rental unit without written consent from the Landlord. If the Tenant(s) paints their rental unit, they must return the unit to its original condition upon move-out. If the Tenant(s) violates the terms of this clause, the Tenant(s) shall be held liable for re-painting costs to restore the premises to their proper conditions.

Why Should Landlords Use a Painting Clause?

Since wear and tear is bound to happen, landlords should clarify in the lease agreement who is responsible for returning the unit to its original condition. Some landlords prefer to leave painting to the professionals, while others don’t mind if tenants take on DIY projects. What’s important is for both parties to be clear on the rules and expectations ahead of time.

What Should a Painting Clause Include?

Landlords should clarify the following information in their painting clause:

  1. If tenants can or cannot paint inside their rental units
  2. If there are any rules or limitations surrounding what they are allowed to do

If a landlord would like to be flexible in painting options for their tenants, they should be sure to specify what’s allowed. For example:

  • When a repainting cost would be deducted from the security deposit
  • Which paint colors are allowed
  • Certain paint finishes that are required (e.g., matte or glossy)
  • Any required paint types or brands to ensure that quality paint is used

Certain state laws require rental units to be painted every two to four years. Landlords should familiarize themselves with laws in their area before including a painting clause in the lease agreement.

Should Landlords Let Their Tenants Paint?

Landlords will always be taking a risk when allowing tenants to paint their rental unit. Depending on the tenant and the project, giving tenants this freedom could end up benefiting the landlord or creating more problems.

Benefits of Allowing Tenants to Paint

Tenants are likely to stay longer if they are given creative freedom to make their space feel like home. Depending on the project, allowing tenants to paint (with certain restrictions) may increase the property’s resale value. This could also result in less work for the landlord and cut down on future repainting costs.

Drawbacks of Allowing Tenants to Paint

A tenant’s paint job can sometimes lead to more complications rather than benefits. For example, some tenants may be careless while painting and end up leaving streaks, lumps, or splattered paint on the floor. Additionally, if there are no color restrictions in place, they may use dark or obscure colors that will decrease the property’s value. Many landlords do not allow painting altogether to prevent these issues and maintain building uniformity.