What Rental Property Owners Should Know About Paint Sheen and Quality

What Rental Property Owners Should Know About Paint Sheen and Quality

When it comes to painting your investment property, choosing the right paint sheen or paint finish is important, perhaps even more important than selecting just the right color.

The cost of repainting can be charged to the tenant’s security deposit *if* it results from the tenant’s damage (large holes in wall) or excessive wear and tear (heavy marks or scuffing). But if your walls were painted with cheap paint or has a flat paint sheen or flat paint finish, then even normal wear and tear will leave enough unsightly scuffs and smudges to require a repainting, at your cost, to attract a new quality tenant.

 

High quality paint costs less over the long run.

 

HIGH QUALITY PAINT SAVES YOU MONEY

At Valley ONE Property Management, our goal is to maximize your property’s net income over the long term. Using a higher quality paint will save you money in the long run by lasting longer. For example, a cheaper $30/gallon paint may only last 2-5 years, compared to a $50/gallon paint that lasts for 10-20 years. And the less often you have to pay labor rates and experience vacancy delays due to re-painting, the better off you’ll be. That’s why we recommend using a quality brand paint recommended by industry professionals, such as Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, or Kelly Moore.

THE PROBLEMS WITH FLAT PAINT

While a flat paint sheen (or a flat finish) is the cheapest paint available, and is often used on ceilings and in closets, it fails on durability, maintenance, appearance, and return on investment.

Flat paint falls “flat” and shouldn’t be used anywhere in your rental property.

Here are the five drawbacks of flat paint and why a satin or eggshell sheen is the better choice.

1.  Vulnerability to Stains and Scuffs
One of the primary drawbacks of flat paint is its susceptibility to stains and scuffs. Due to its matte, non-reflective finish, flat paint lacks the protective barrier of higher-sheen options, making it more prone to absorbing stains from spills, fingerprints, and general wear and tear. Cleaning flat-painted walls can become a frustrating and challenging task, as attempts to remove stains may lead to further discoloration or damage.

2.  Limited Washability and Durability
Flat paint’s lack of sheen translates to reduced washability and durability. Regular cleaning or scrubbing can cause the paint to wear off or create shiny spots, making it unsuitable for tenant use. Eggshell and satin finishes, on the other hand, offer a smoother, more washable surface that can withstand normal wear and tear while maintaining its appearance for a much longer period.

3.  Difficulty in Touching Up
Flat paint can pose challenges when it comes to touch-ups. Due to its porous nature, even slight color variations in touch-up applications can become glaringly noticeable, resulting in uneven patches across the wall. When this happens, it becomes an eyesore and is a turn-off for future potential tenants. Eggshell and satin finishes are more forgiving in this aspect, allowing for seamless touch-ups that blend in with the existing paint, maintaining a consistent appearance.

4.  Lack of Reflectivity and Light
Flat paint’s matte surface tends to absorb light rather than reflect it, giving rooms a dull, darker appearance. In spaces where natural or artificial light is limited, this can make the room feel smaller and less inviting. Choosing eggshell or satin sheen enhances any room’s brightness, as they reflect light more effectively, creating a sense of openness and brightness.

5.  Lack of Scrubbing and Stain Resistance
High-traffic areas or spots prone to frequent contact, such as hallway walls or areas around doorknobs, demand a paint finish that can withstand scrubbing and resist stains. Flat paint’s delicate nature renders it ill-equipped for such scenarios, as scrubbing can remove the paint or create permanent marks. Eggshell and satin finishes offer improved resistance to scrubbing, making them a more practical option.

SEMI-GLOSS FOR BATHROOMS, LAUNDRY ROOM, AND THE KITCHEN

Rooms such as the kitchen, laundry room, and bathrooms have higher moisture requiring an even more durable paint finish. For these rooms we recommend a semi-gloss finish or sheen, which is better at resisting moisture that can lead to growth of mildew and mold. It is especially important these rooms have a tougher and longer-lasting barrier with a washable (and dryable!) surface. Semigloss paint helps guard against the dangers of these more humid areas of the home.

CONCLUSION

Valley ONE Property Management uses a high-quality paint that will last longer, and we will be sure the walls of your property or unit are painted with an eggshell or satin paint finish. For doors, baseboards, and other areas of wood trim we use a semi-gloss paint sheen, and we also use a semi-gloss paint finish in bathrooms, the kitchen and the laundry room.

With these standards, we’re able to help you reduce costs and expenses in the long run, shorten turn times between tenancies, and provide long-lasting and attractive walls that quality residents will appreciate and enjoy for everyday living.

Why Owners Should Add Property Managers As Additional Insured on Property Insurance Policy

Why Owners Should Add Property Managers As Additional Insured on Property Insurance Policy

Our job is to help minimize the risks of owning investment property in the Central Valley, including having all necessary protection from your homeowner insurance policy.

In addition to coverage, premiums, and deductibles, it’s also essential that your property manager be listed as an Additional Insured on your homeowner policy.

What does “Additional Insured” mean on an Owner’s Insurance Policy?

As the owner of the property, you are the “Named Insured,” and are the only one that receives the full benefit and all protections available in the policy. Because the property manager acts as your agent regarding the property, naming them as Additional Insured extends property liability coverage (only) to them as well.

Additional Insured is NOT the same as Additional Interest

Many people, even insurance agents, get confused and think that Additional Insured and Additional Interest are the same thing. They are not.

As we described earlier, naming us as “Additional Insured” extends property liability to us as well. “Additional Interest “doesn’t extend any coverage at all–it only means we’d get a copy of your insurance and be notified if you cancel or fail to renew your policy.

Why is it important to add my property manager as Additional Insured?

One of the many great things about a professional property manager is that we take care of all tenant communication for you. But if the tenant or their guest(s) get injured on the property, we’re virtually always included—alongside you, the owner—in any resulting lawsuit.

That’s why virtually every property management agreement includes a clause stating that the “Owner shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless Property Manager” from any litigation from the tenant.

Listing the property manager as “Additional Insured” on your homeowner or landlord policy extends the liability and legal defense costs to include the property manager as well, in addition to you as the “Named Insured.”

Simply put, you want your insurance company to cover your property management company. Here’s why..

What if I my property manager is NOT listed as Additional Insured on the property insurance policy?

Let’s continue with the same example as before: suppose your tenant negligently lit several fireworks in the garage, causing the natural gas-powered water heater to catch fire; damaging the house, their property, and causing injury to them and/or their guests. Even if it was their own fault, they may choose to sue you—and us—for several hundred thousand dollars. Not pretty.

Imagine having an agreement requiring you to “indemnify, defend, and hold harmless” the property manager, but your property liability coverage protects you but not your property manager.

Without being named as the Additional Insured on the homeowner policy, the property manager could end up seeking reimbursement for all costs from the owner, either through their insurance or directly, for all related losses. It makes the process much more painful, takes more time to resolve, and is significantly more expensive for everyone involved.

Nobody wants that.

How do I add my property manager as an Additional Insured on my property insurance policy?

In theory, it should be as simple as contacting your insurance company or agent to make the request. In real life, it’s anything but simple. Sometimes they get confused, or imagine you’re confused, and incorrectly add us as Additional Insured instead (which is not the same at all, as mentioned above). Other times, they just won’t do it at all.

To make the process as efficient as possible for you, we’ve developed a specific form to provide to your insurer, making the formal request in writing. We’ve found this avoids confusion and misunderstanding. And you can always have them contact us directly.

What should I do?

1.   Have your current insurance company add us
Download and complete this form and send it to your insurer. We’ve found it helps avoid confusion and misunderstanding. Hopefully they’ll add us. If so, great. If not, you can also..

2.   Change to an insurance company who will add us
Obtain a quote from one or both of these online-based insurance companies that make it super-duper easy and simple. Seriously—it only takes like 3 minutes to get a quote. And they both make it easy to list us as Additional Insured.

Obie Insurance – obieinsurance.com
Steadily Insurance – www.steadily.com

If you’d rather keep your existing insurance company but they won’t add us as “Additional Insured” on your policy, we have one other available option for you..

3.   We’ll handle it for you
Do nothing and let us take care of it for you! If after 30 days from onboarding (or notice) we haven’t received evidence of insurance naming us as Additional Insured, we will automatically add you to our Master General Liability insurance policy that provides $2 million of liability coverage with a $0 deductible for you and us, specific to your property, at a cost of $24/property/mo.
(NOTE: This policy adds liability coverage only and would be in addition to your existing policy. It does not replace it.)

What insurance companies are willing to include property manager as Additional Insured?

Please keep in mind, the following information is at time of writing (mid 2023) and is subject to change over time.

Insurers that do not write homeowner insurance policies in California AT ALL

At time of writing, the following insurance companies no longer offer new homeowner insurance policies in California at all (and some are cancelling even existing ones at time of renewal).

    • AIG
    • Allstate
    • Chubb
    • Nationwide
    • State Farm

Insurance companies that WILL NOT add property manager as Additional Insured

    • AAA

Insurance companies that WILL add property manager as Additional Insured

Based on our experience and knowledge, the following companies are willing to do it:

    • American Family Insurance
    • American National
    • Century National
    • CSE Insurance Group
    • Progressive
    • Safeco
    • Travelers Insurance
    • USAA
    • Travelers Insurance