Q: We have lived at my apartment complex for nearly 16 years. Recently, I have heard from many friends who have moved out that the property management company has some rather stringent restrictions regarding the painting of walls upon moving. The rules state that the "tenants upon vacating their rental unit must submit a paid receipt from (a particular painting contractor) or they will not be considered for a refund of their deposit(s) of any kind."

I did paint some accent walls in vivid colors with the understanding that when we moved out we would have to repaint the unit back to the drab "Navajo white" that was used throughout our 2-bedroom rental unit when we moved in. I called and have found that the proposed cost of repainting our rental unit with this particular painting company is not out of line.

But I have heard rumors that this company is owned by the owner’s son, which is the real reason behind their requirements. Is it proper for the property management company to demand that people moving out must utilize only one painting contractor that they recommend?

A: I don’t believe it’s reasonable for your landlord to demand that a specific painting contractor is used regardless of who owns the company. I do think the landlord has the right to be concerned that the restoration of the painted accent walls is done in a professional manner.

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