Should landlords pay to paint my apartment?

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Topic: Should landlords pay to paint my apartment?

Public Safety February 12, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Should landlords pay to paint my apartment?

I have been living in my current apartment for over three years now (after replacing a previous tenant . . . and i know it’s been at least five plus years since a full “turnover” in the apartmnt where the lease ended, everyone moved out, and management showed/rented the apartment)
when i moved in, there were plenty of marks and smudges on the walls (especially in the hallway by the door) but over the years more have obviously appeared and I think I have hit the point where a nice fresh coat of paint would be amazing.
My question is, is it reasonable to request that my building manament group paint the apartment for me? or at least pay for the paint but paint myself?
what are the rights as a DC tenant?

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First point, if you thought the place needed a coat of paint before you moved in, and didn’t say anything or request it, then you are stuck.

It isn’t “unreasonable” to ask, you’ve been a long term tenant and them buying the paint would keep you happy, but don’t be surprised if they say no. After all, the wear and tear is (admittedly) yours.


As far as I know, none of the DC tenant’s rights relate to paint.  Paint generally doesn’t affect the habitability of the apartment (unless it’s lead).
Your best bet here is to kill them with kindness.  I doubt they will pay to have someone paint it, knowing that they would just need to repaint it after you moved out to cover up any subsequent damage before re-renting.  I think it’s fairly likely you would be able to get them to pay for the paint, however, if you ask nicely.

The cost of paint would be around $100.00.  The cost of hiring a painter would be closer to $5-600.00.  If you were the landlord what would you do?

I don’t think they will do it, but you might as well ask to be sure. You never know.


Have you checked your lease?

It is DC law that the apartment needs to be painted when there is a new lease/tenant.  Since it seems they did not do that before you moved in, one would hope they would be open to it now. 

I am not aware of any DC law that requires a landlord to paint an apartment when it turns over.  If I were you I would first check your lease to see if painting it permitted at all (many buildings/landlords ban this outright).  Even if they ban painting, you could check with them and I imagine that they will permit you to paint it yourself to the “approved” color (you could reasonably ask them to provide the paint to you, the worst they can say is no).  If they do allow tenants to paint, check to see what restrictions they might have (some places require you to leave it primed before you move out so it can be painted over when the next tenant moves in, for example, and if the new tenant likes the colors you chose then you don’t need to do anything). I highly doubt that they will pay for professional painters to do it for you, but I suppose it couldn’t hurt to ask.  That said, I painted an apartment I was moving into because the landlord had promised to have it painted before we moved in and didn’t do it — it was fun!

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