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Do I have to paint?

NYC Rent Regulation: Rent Control/Rent Stabilized, DHCR Practice/Procedures

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Do I have to paint?

Postby Alexandermalie89 » Tue Jul 17, 2018 6:16 am

I will be moving out of my DHCR rent stabilized apartment. I have painted it other than white. I have been in the apartment for 3 years or more and never requested the landlord to paint. When I move do I have to paint or does the landlord paint based on the law that they must paint every 2 or 3 years? If you answer this question please be able to tell me where I might fing the information in writting if I need to show it to my landlord.
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Re: Do I have to paint?

Postby TenantNet » Tue Jul 17, 2018 6:36 am

When you say "other than white," does that mean day-glow red, or perhaps a light, pale or pastel color?

There's nothing in the rent stabilization code or other housing statutes on this. However you should be guided by your lease and common sense.

Some LLs will tell tenants they will withhold the security deposit so they can paint before a new tenant moves in. That is bogus. Painting is considered regular maintenance and covers normal "wear and tear." As such, that is covered by your rent money. It's the same thing for worn carpets and such.

But some tenants will paint room(s) a loud or outrageous color, and that is difficult to cover or return to white, beige or some other light tint without multiple coats. If that's the case, the lease and common sense should tell you that you have some work to do.

If what you did was something not very loud, then there's an argument that what you did might be acceptable.

That the LL never painted the unit while you were there is immaterial in our opinion, but try it as an argument - maybe you'll convince him.

If you chose to paint using a loud color, then you should probably return it to a light color. BTW, when I say light, pale or so on, it does not mean that has to actually be white. Just Google "light paint colors" and you'll find a long list of images of light colors that are not white.

As a guide, put yourself in the place of a new tenant. Would you rent the place with the color that you left it as?

From a practical standpoint, there is no law on this. If you can't come to an agreement, the LL might take the cost of painting out of your deposit (of course inflated beyond reason). Then you can sue him to the unreturned money, at which point it's up to a judge.
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Re: Do I have to paint?

Postby BubbaJoe123 » Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:55 am

As tenantnet notes, there's no hard and fast rule here, so it makes sense to be reasonable, which would serve you well if the issue ever did come up in court. If the apartment hasn't been painted for three years, it's reasonable to assume that the LL would paint it before the new tenants. So long as your paint job doesn't increase the cost of the LL's repainting job, then you've got a good argument that you haven't caused damage beyond normal wear and tear.
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Re: Do I have to paint?

Postby Sky » Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:57 pm

I can't advise what to do but if I was in your shoes I would paint.
(Btw, in college I had a roommate that one day decided to paint his room black).

Dark and bright colors are more difficult to restore to white, usually they require a quality primer with good covering properties and then 1-2 coats of paint.
The one coat of cheap watery paint that many LL's use on a repaint will likely not cut it. It's more work to restore back to the default white/off-white so you might get billed out of your security deposit.

Is there a lease provision regarding alteration of apartment and/or painting? Some places don't permit tenants to paint.

You could email the LL and state what you've said here and ask if it's OK for you not to paint without any penalty as it's been 3 years.

Some LL's don't care, they just send in their super or a couple guys and they patch and paint the place, quick and dirty, and look for a new tenant, or some slumlords may not even bother to paint. Others do care. Then there's the unscrupulous that will look for any reason to charge you and keep your security deposit.
[I recall reading accounts, not necessarily rent regulated apps. or even in NYC, of LL's who if a tenant left a shower curtain would bill for 'cleaning service to remove dirty shower curtain'. Another who would do a cheap and dirty wood floor varnishing job prior to the tenant moving in, then the floor inevitably got scratched from moving in and walking on it, and upon move out the tenant would be billed for floor damage/refinishing costs!]
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Re: Do I have to paint?

Postby TenantNet » Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:34 pm

Funny, I also had a college roommate who painted his room black. That was so he could get a black light and Jimi Hendrix posters that lit up under the UV light. You don't think...

Of course it didn't matter to that particular landlord as they didn't rent out the place ... they demolished the building (and only gave us 3-days notice).

BTW, the OP never said what the non-white color was, so we're just speculating. It might be that the current non-white color is a light pastel beige or pink, in which case I would recommend the tenant do nothing. Restoration does not have to actually be to white.

In my opinion, I would not ask the LL (if it's a light color now). Why beg the question? Why give the LL ideas?

And what we've often observed about security deposit situations, is that some tenants decide to not pay the last month's rent in order to recover the deposit. That could be justified in some eyes if the LL has been a jerk and has improperly withheld deposits from other tenants in the past by inventing fake damages. It really depends on the circumstances. And of course, recovering the deposit by not paying the last month's rent does not get a tenant off for any real damages.
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