Repainting/refacing kitchen cabinets (tenant versus landlord)

11 Replies

Hello my landlord is suggesting I owe 3000 dollars for kitchen cabinets refacing/repainting. Attaching some pictures here.  

I rented this house for 4 years, it was a new home when I started renting. 

Do I have to cover this fully, is landlord responsible for half the charges or something like that? Thanks for your responses. 

Here is their comments: 

Cabinets surface excessive filth and original enamel is completely gone. Estimated cost to fix: $3K

Here are some pictures.

@Ram Venkat

That could be repainted for 3-400$ by a handyman painter and one or two gallons of sherwin Williams paint . Highly doubt any judge would make you pay anywhere near 3 grand . However The landlord would have the right to retain the deposit for the damages incurred above normal wear and tear

  • Excessive filth remedy = cleaning.
  • Original enamel is completely gone = I see the enamel, it looks white. From the photos it does not appear to be completely gone.

Good Luck!


Have you already moved out?  If so, you'll probably lose your security deposit.  Dealing with normal wear/tear of a property is just part of being a rental investor.   But "excessive filth" - that's on you.  Tenants need to return the property in what is called "broom swept condition."  That means cleaned and in a condition that it reflects your respect of the property. When that doesn't happen, you lose your deposit.  This does not appear to be a $3k repair - just one the owner didn't expect and it delays him in being able to rent it again quickly.  

Thank you all for the responses. I assumed painting after 4 years of stay is landlord's responsibility and did not take care of cabinets. I agree there is dirt on the cabinet doors that needs cleaned. I did not understand the term enamel gone completely either. Based on responses above, Am I correct to assume the term painting only covers walls and dirt on cabinet doors are tenant's responsibility. Yes I have moved out.  I am planning to take my handyman painter to give me an estimate and potentially fix this using him. 

If he charges you full price for resurfacing the cabinets, I would seek legal counseling.

Normal wear and tear is part of doing business as a landlord. Personally, I do not feel like you took good care of his property and he’s probably a little upset about that. 

If these cabinets are laminate, the enamel may be peeling in some places because of the quality combined with your negligence. 

To your success!

@Ram Venkat your handyman is not authorized to make a repair on the landlords property . His estimate would be worthless unless he is licensed and shows up in court to be crossed examined .  Second , if you have already moved out and turned the unit over to the landlord . DO NOT ENTER THE HOUSE . You would be breaking and entering and subject to arrest . 

OOPS, I am definitely not walking in without the landlord's property manager. I do not have any keys as well. 

Both me and landlord want to settle this amicably. I am okay with making the changes and repairs if the rules says I am responsible. But this looks like fine print stuff. so just looking for expert opinions. I did maintain the property well, except for the paint as it is tough to keep that in good shape with kids around. I did move out cleaning and carpet deep clean before moving out. so based on our discussion if they agree my handyman can do the job at a cheaper price, I am planning to take that route. The landlord is taking care of painting the walls without charging me as that was clearly defined in the books as re-painting walls is land-lords responsibility after 4 years of renting. 

Is there any rule for useful life of kitchen cabinets? 

I must be missing something here. The cabinets look a little dirty. Some surface cleaner, a rag, and half an hour of time will fix that. If there is paint missing, that is likely the result of lousy quality to begin with. You didn't use sandpaper gloves when opening the cabinets, so if paint has rubbed off from your hands opening and closing the cabinets, that is the result of normal wear and tear.

Tell the landlord that you'll drop by to clean them, but as for the enamel, he needs to buy better quality if he expects it to last.

@Ram Venkat

This stinks, Ram.  If this is what the landlord got back after four years of renting and thinks he needs to charge $3000 for, the landlord has all kinds of problems that you didn't create. On the other hand, if there's something ELSE the landlord's talking about, well, that's a whole different story.

It would cost about $3K to replace all the cabinet doors and drawer fronts of that kitchen from an online custom cabinet door supplier. I cannot imagine a landlord in his right mind of any experience who would insist that's the only solution to his problem that would do and that it's your responsibility to reface his whole damned kitchen after four years of renting it.