Painting for long-term tenants

2 Replies

Hi folks!

Here's the situation. We bought a building last year with this particular inherited tenant.  She was on a year lease and paying under market, so when her lease expired in the spring, we raised her rent $30 (she is still under market by about $20) and put her on a MTM (which is what we universally offer to all our tenants).  She's been living at the property for about 6 or 7 years or thereabouts.

She recently asked if we would paint her apartment as part of "upkeep."  I have not responded to her request as of yet.

I'm looking for feedback on what you would do in this situation.

Some factors to consider:

(1) I am not willing to offer a year lease to her (or any of my tenants) in order to lock in a higher rent in exchange for the paint job (which will probably be very costly - we're in NY and it's a large apartment - about 1000 sq ft).

(2) Raising the rent to market in exchange for painting increases my risk because it's a MTM tenancy.  There is no documentation about the move-in condition of the unit so I will most likely have to give all of her security deposit back unless there is something significantly damaged that I can document as occuring post-acquisition.

(3) I'm not keen on painting the apartment while occupied because if I am going to invest that cost, I will want paint prep done to improve the quality of that investment over time.  The job would be lengthy and difficult with the unit occupied.

(4) There is no guarantee that if she moves out 6 months after the painting I will not have to re-paint portions to make it look move-in ready again.  I also anticipate a moderate amount of updating upon turnover (whenever that may be).

(5)  She pays her rent on time, but as an inherited tenant, her relationship with us has not exactly been problem-free.  "I would not label her as a "problem tenant", but she is at least one standard deviation lower than the mean on that continuum.

What do you think?  Thanks in advance!

If I wanted her to stay, I would paint. If not, I wouldn't. More or less, if the apartment hasn't been painted in 6 or 7 years, it is due. We do not generally paint any occupied units, but if we did we would require the tenant relocate everything in each room as it was painted so there wasn't complaints about the tarping job done by the painters, inability to access tenant's materials, etc. 

Does she want the entire apartment painted or just a living room/kitchen/bathroom type thing? 

I the property I managed offered to paint 1 room if a tenant had lived there over 2 years, and signed a new lease for 12 months, and we also offered to clean carpets, main traffic areas.

We usually painted the main living room or kitchen, and they were required to move items and cover any large items.

Our owner felt if was the thing to do and we had over 3000 apartments in the portfolio.

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