Is it time to repaint? If so, what colours should you choose?

Every landlord needs to repaint their properties from time to time. Those who rent to students may find that they need to paint every year, but for most properties you can go 4 to 5 years between paintings.

Finding a convenient time to do it, and choosing the right colours can be tricky, though.

If you are between tenants

This is the most convenient time to repaint a flat or rental home, and many landlords paint only between tenants. For one reason, there is no one in the property to inconvenience, and no arguments about how it gets done. For another, you will generally want to do as much light refurbishment as possible between tenants to keep the property at its most appealing. A lick of paint goes a long way to making a space feel clean and new, and makes it possible to charge what the property is actually worth.

As to the colour, you will want something fairly bland, that will appeal to the broadest possible selection of new tenants. Something they will see as a ‘blank canvas’ which they can decorate around. Pale, soft colours give them the most potions, and make the empty space seem that much brighter and larger.

But that does not mean you have a choice of white, eggshell or magnolia! There are a great many gentle, neutral colours out there, and you can certainly throw a little personality into it, so long as it isn’t overpowering. Choose two different (but compatible) neutral colours, and set one wall off as a ‘feature’ wall with the second colour.

Of course, if you expect to be painting every few years (such as with a student flat), you probably don’t want to use particularly expensive paint. Less expensive types of paint tend to be available in a great many rental-friendly colours, specifically to appeal to the rental market.

If you have a long-term tenant

If you have a long term-tenant, things become a bit more complicated. A good tenant is a real resource, and you don’t want to risk them either by failing to repaint when it is needed, or by being to draconian about it when and how you do it.

The key is communication, and compromise. If the tenant has approached you about painting, half your job is done. If it was your idea, let them know that you would like to have the property painted sometime in the next month or two, and try to find a mutually convenient time. They may be going away on holiday, which would be the perfect opportunity. Just remember to ‘sell’ them the idea, as something you’d be willing to do ‘for them’.

Choosing colours may be more complicated as well, as the tenant may want something specific. If they’ve been around for years and have no plans to move on, you can let them have a great deal of input. Just remember that you have the final say, and the painter works for you. Don’t chose anything that would make the property unappealing to many potential renters, or you might find yourself having to paint it all again sooner than you thought.

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