Unhand that paintbrush!

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September 13, 2004 // UPDATED 4:02 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Brian Voerding
Brian Voerding

Management is understanding at the Oak Street Towers, Palmer said, which is why she was allowed to paint her apartment walls. Her only stipulation is that she repaints them white before she vacates the space.

This isn't always the case, however, and permissive landlords are not the norm. Tenants should be mindful of responsibilities detailed by the office of the Attorney General, which disallows modifying a rental unit without the landlord's consent.

If you're intent on redecorating, plan your idea and pitch it to whoever gives it the final approval -- your management company, caretaker and/or landlord.

If you're willing to put in the work and pay for supplies, there's a chance they'll be receptive. (Some landlords will even split costs on significant improvements.)

A word to the wise: get the agreement in writing. You don't have to draw up some sort of contract and have your landlord sign on the dotted line, but management can change hands (or even just change their minds) and you could find yourself in a tough spot. Consider pitching the idea in person and then following up with a hand-written note that asks them to sign off on the bottom and slip it under your door.

Should they refuse your offer, take heart, there are other ways to spruce up your walls.

One local caretaker recommends that tenants hang fabric, possibly from a curtain rod so it's both easier to take down and wash and easier on the walls.

Also, white walls can easily be warmed with colored lights; amber-tinted bulbs, for instance, cost little more than regular bulbs and are available at most hardware stores.