Can My Landlord Paint While Occupied? [Incl. Tips on How to Respond]

If you have been asked to bear with the hassle of a painting job while you are living in your rental home, you may be wondering if your landlord has the right to insist on this.

It’s a legitimate concern, especially if the paint job is large and is going to span the course of more than one day.

In most cases, a landlord may ask for this in anticipation of the sale of their property (to freshen it up) or toward the end of your lease, so they can make it appealing to prospective tenants.

In this article, I am going to answer in detail whether a landlord may require painting while you are occupying the property, including the laws relating to such requests, and some tips on how you can respond when faced with this issue.

If you are looking for the short answer, though, it is as follows:

As a general matter, a landlord may not paint your rental while you are occupying it against your wishes because it’s an aesthetic option. But if repainting is needed to address a safety concern, such as peeling lead paint or mold on the walls that requires remediation, then they may have the right to perform the work promptly.

Ok, we’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get into it!

The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only.  It is not legal advice.  You should seek the advice of a qualified legal professional before making any decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.

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Is My Landlord Allowed to Paint My House?

As noted above, landlords may paint your home while occupied under certain conditions.

These include conditions that could impact the habitability of the unit. The most common examples include flaking lead paint and mold on the walls.

When habitability is affected, landlords have a duty to remediate it. Now, if the work is going to take longer than a day, they may be required to offer you comparable housing while the work is being done at no cost to you. That will depend on state and local laws.

Related Reading: For more info on whether your landlord may relocate you where there is mold present, check my article on the topic here.

When painting is required, your landlord should coordinate with you to find a time that works. Landlords shouldn’t have access to your house in your absence and without your permission unless there’s an emergency, and painting -in most cases- isn’t an emergency.

So when painting is not due to a safety or health issue, then it is optional and most landlords will wait to paint the premises after your lease ends if you have objections to doing it while you are living in the rental home.

What Should I Do If My Landlord Insists on Painting While I am Living in the Rental Property?

Well, the first thing to do is read your lease to make sure there is nothing in there that addresses this type of request.

If the lease is silent and you know that the paint request is not to remedy and health or safety issue, then you can politely tell the landlord that you would prefer they not do the work while you are living in the home.

If you have a good relationship with your landlord and want to work with them, you may want to consider offering the following options:

  • Payment: If the landlord wants to impose this on you and they do not have a legal or contractual right to do so, you may want to consider asking for reasonable compensation for the hassle.
  • Rent Reduction: A similar option is to ask for a reduced rent payment for the month during which the work will be performed.
  • Temporary Living Arrangements: If you don’t mind staying at a hotel for the relevant period, you can ask if your landlord would be willing to put you up in a hotel while the painting is going on.
  • Other Concessions: If there are things you don’t like about your lease or your living arrangement, now may be a good time to bring it up and see if your landlord would be willing to change it in exchange for the paint job. This could include getting a pet, asking for a longer term, getting some input on the color of the paint, and so on.

Can My Landlord Charge Me for Painting?

If you don’t damage the property, your landlord can’t charge you for painting or deduct it from your security deposit.

Normal wear and tear are expected, and you shouldn’t pay for it. However, some landlords and tenants get in conflict because of this issue.

Some tenants even prefer to paint the house before moving out because they’re concerned about the landlord deducting painting expenses from their security deposits.

That’s why you must communicate with your landlord if you see any signs of paint deterioration to avoid potential disagreements when moving out. 

Can I Paint My Rented Apartment?

You can paint your rented apartment with the agreement with your landlord. However, some landlords insist on repainting everything to the original color before moving.

We recommend asking your landlord about the paint’s quality and colors before deciding to paint the apartment.

Bottom line: While it’s nice to have a fresh coat of paint, you will likely be footing the bill for it if you do it on your own (and, as just mentioned, you may have to paint it back to the original colors, which will be a hassle and an additional expense).


So there you have it – a clear answer to whether your landlord may paint while you are occupying the residence and some helpful tips on what to do if you run into this type of request. Hope this has been helpful and happy renting!