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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 37800
Experience:  16 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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Living in Texas... Had renters move out. Question is they

Customer Question

Living in Texas... Had renters move out. Question is they touched up a wall with the wrong color paint. Not a small area. Almost the middle 1/3 of the wall. Now this particular room was a fireplace room that led into a kitchen. All with the same color. I had 1 wall as an accent wall. The whole area minus the accent wall was repainted to match because unable to get the same color. My question is am I allowed to charge for entire repainting or just the 1 wall and have none matching walls. The also did this in a bathroom making 1 wall a red accent wall. Again the other 2 walls had to be repainted to match.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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Can you tell me how long the tenants lived there?

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Did you not have the original color paint to repaint with?

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When were the walls last painted prior to the tenant moving in?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Tenants lived there 5 yrs
I specifically told renter to go to ***** ***** with a paint chip and to get eggshell finish.
Walls were painted 1-2 yrs of them moving in
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Ok, are you saying that the paint was 6-7 years old?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
instead of taking to ***** ***** to get match they purchased gladden grab and go paint to touch up
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Glidden
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Ok, here is your problem... paint has a "depreciable life" just like carpet, vinyl, flooring, appliances, or other improvements to a rental. This means that after its depreciable life is exhausted, it is essentially valueless and a tenant can't be charged for any damages.

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The general rule that judges use in landlord tenant cases is that these items have a 5 year depreciable lifespan. So after one year, if a landlord had to repaint due to tenant damage, they could only charge the tenant 80% of the cost. 4 years....20%... over 5 years then the entire depreciable life is exhausted so the landlord can't charge at all.

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So here if you are at 6-7 years, it is past its depreciable lifespan and if you charged the tenant any repainting costs and they objected and filed suit, they would win...

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As an aside, in addition to being an attorney, I have also been a landlord for over 26 years...

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I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They r now in Canada. Hmmm
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
But how is putting a different color on the wall returning it to the state it was in? I would expect that maybe the shade be off but to have a red wall in an otherwise tan room?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also originally I left them with the left over original paint and they took it upon themselves to throw it all out
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Honesty, it doesn't matter if they painted it pink with purple spots... Once the paint that is on the walls is over 5 years old, it has exhausted its depreciable life so legally you can't charge them for repainting.

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So you can roll the dice a bit and try to charge them some amount because they likely aren't aware of depreciation in a rental property and they probably wouldn't come back to sue you for it if you did. But you just need to be aware that legally if they did, they would win. So if you did try it, I wouldn't hit them for enough to make it worth their while to come back and challenge it.

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thanks

Barrister