Hey Hosts: Here’s What You Need to Know Before Painting Rental Walls

Young female backpacker renting apartment

As the owner of a rental property – whether that’s a long-term or short-term rental – proper maintenance is key to attracting quality renters and protecting your financial investment. And paint plays an important role in maintaining your property. So, let’s talk about painting rental walls and whether it’s worth hiring someone to do the painting for you.

How Often Should You Repaint?

Unless your rental agreement states otherwise, as the landlord, the responsibility of painting rental walls falls to you. The good news is that paint doesn’t cost a lot, it’s an instant refresher for tired spaces and it protects your walls from damage. The less-good news is, in a residential home, your paint job could last up to 10 years. But in a rental, which gets more wear and tear, you’ll have to paint more often.

For long-term rentals, inspect the paint job between tenants for everything from smudges to holes in the walls. If damage is minor or limited to certain areas, a patch-and-paint job will help you save money while keeping your space in good condition. How often should you repaint the whole rental? As a rule of thumb, most landlords repaint the entire space every three to five years, coinciding with turnover. However, some local or state laws may require landlords to repaint under certain circumstances, so make sure you’re operating according to those guidelines.

Since you or a cleaning crew are inside a short-term rental between guests, you’ll know when something needs to be repainted. Otherwise, depending on traffic and wear-and-tear, you can repaint every two to four years in these busier spaces.

What Color Should You Paint Rental Walls?

When you repaint, look at color trends in your area. Your colors should go with a variety of décor types, but they should also reflect what’s currently popular. So, if you’ve been repainting that rental the same shade of Tuscan gold for the last 25 years, it might be time to switch to a new color scheme.

Short-term rentals follow the same rule of thumb, with popular neutrals reigning supreme. But if you’ve got a beach rental, you can break that rule with bright accent walls to reflect the fun, relaxing vibe of your location. Similarly, cabin rentals can take darker, earthier hues, reflective of their environment.

Painting Rental Walls: Should You Hire Someone?

When you’re faced with painting rental walls, you’re probably wondering whether it’s worth it to DIY the project. Doing it yourself can save the cost of a professional paint job. But professional painters typically paint faster and better than most amateurs. When budgeting, take into consideration the cost of downtime between renters and the quality of the paint job. A better paint job lasts longer, meaning you may pay more up front to have it done professionally. In the long term, though, you may save money.

Need help picking a color scheme for your rental property? Get help from our professional color consultants — including free 8″ x 8″ paint samples. Or, if you’re ready to find out what it would cost to get a pro to help with painting your rental walls, reach out to our house painting services. They’ll give you a free, contactless estimate for a house painting contractor near you.


Kelley Rebori

Kelley Rebori has written for national brands like Paintzen, HGTV, the DIY Network and Trulia for more than a decade. She loves home renovation projects, chocolate icing and small poodles. She and her husband split the year between their homes in Tennessee and Italy.