Latest Blog From Apartment Living Locators in Houston

Noisy Neighbors?

How to deal with noisy apartment neighbors in Houston, TX

Does it sound like you are living underneath or above a herd of elephants, is it party central or just thin walls?

When it comes to renting apartments, its the luck of the draw hen it comes to neighbors, sometimes you have good luck but sometimes you can be stuck with the neighbor from hell.

It is a common occurrence, but how do you deal with it? And are there any noise laws in Texas that directly address this issue at your disposal?

The actual act confronting your neighbor can be more stressful than anticipated because you don’t know how they will react.

We are going to look at two possibilities that can help you with the noise at hand.

How to communicate with your noisy neighbors:

It seems like the simple and obvious solution right? Well not always, like we have already highlighted you cannot predict how your neighbor will respond to your complaint. Nine times out of ten you will have an empathetic and understanding neighbor, but occasionally you may have that neighbor who may take it the wrong way completely…which could be quite difficult, especially if you are in an apartment where you are bound to cross paths on a regular basis--Two completely different outcomes.

Before lashing out at your neighbors, even if the noise levels have been ridiculous, going in with a level-headed calm approach will guarantee a far better result than if you go in ‘hot’ headed…where you are more likely to receive the same unfriendly response in return, no matter how justified you may be.

So if you approach your neighbor in a calm and polite manner, you have a far better chance to get him/her to keep it quieter or at least work on a compromise.  

Speak to your Landlord

If speaking to your neighbors has crashed and failed, then the next option is going to your landlord/manager directly. He/she may speak to the noisy one on your behalf, because at the end of the day it’s the apartment responsibility to keep the peace between neighboring tenants, so it is in their interest to remedy the problem.

Also, you will find in most tenancy agreements in Texas there are certain noise limitations and restrictions, particularly in apartment complexes. Your landlord/manager should be well aware of state laws as well as their own bylaws at the specific complex and deal with the issue accordingly on your behalf.

However, whether you approach your neighbor directly or inform your landlord, you should make one or both aware of the problem. Too many times, renters tend to just let it slide” as to avoid being labeled the “complaining tenant/neighbor” but you pay good rent, work hard and more than deserve peace and quiet in your own home.

Doug Spector/broker

Posted by Doug Spector on May 10th, 2018 8:05 PM

Tips for Apartment Maintenance in Houston, TX

Although it’s usually your landlord’s job to look after their apartments when things go awry, there are some things you can do in order to prevent problems from occurring in your apartment in the first place. Renting an apartment in Houston, TX comes with challenges which may not exist in other cities, so it’s helpful to follow these tips and ensure that your apartment continues to run smoothly!

  1. Clean your floor regularly

    It can be easy to let your floor get dirty and dusty over time, but try not to allow this to happen! When dirt gets embedded into carpets and rugs, you can quickly begin to ruin the carpet itself. Wooden/laminate floors aren’t safe either, as dirt can easily cause scratches and discoloration in the wood, all of which tend to lend themselves to an unhappy landlord! Placing “welcome” mats around the entrance to your apartment may help to reduce dirt on your floors. Nevertheless, clean and vacuum your floors regularly, sweeping on a daily basis and mopping on a weekly basis.

  2. Look after your HVAC units

    When renting an apartment in a climate such as Houston, TX, you’re going to be encountering heat levels which might not be common in other parts of the country. As a result, it is imperative that you look after your heating and A/C units accordingly. The best way to do this, as a general rule, is to ensure that they are receiving proper airflow to all of their parts. Every now and then, it may be a good idea to vacuum your vents, as this prevents the air from getting dusty and unpleasant. If the filters need to be changed, don’t wait to do so! If you think that your HVAC units may need a professional clean/maintenance, don’t be afraid to contact your landlord.

  3. Keep your drains clear!

Keeping your drains clear of sticky debris is the easiest way to extend their lifecycle and avoid things such as leaks or blockages. Avoid pouring things into your pipes which could block them; they already have enough to deal with in terms of food debris and shower-hair! On that note, if your shower plug is clogged with hair, remove this hair before it makes its way down the drain completely. You should also ensure that your toilet is kept clear, using a plunger to remove any unsanitary clogs.


Keeping your Houston, TX apartment well-maintained is one of the easiest ways to ensure that you build a positive rapport with your landlord, so be sure to use these tips on a regular basis!


713-783-1441

Posted by Doug Spector on May 2nd, 2018 11:15 AM

Tips When Applying For An Apartment in Houston

  Doug Spector/broker

After asking numerous Houston apartment managers what advice they might have for anyone wanting to rent an apartment at their complex, the number one answer they gave was that the applicant be "upfront and honest."

Chances are, in this "information age", that there's a great chance that any falsified information given either verbally or written on the application, will be caught anyway. 
And if that happens, the person applying will most likely lose their application fee, admin fee and many times even their deposit.

Most managers are helpful when the applicant is upfront about any previous rental or credit problems.  They can usually tell the person right away whether their past issue(s) would prevent them from being approved at their place, thus saving time and money.  Also, managers can possibly assist by referring them to another property they might know that would work with them or refer a good reputable Houston apartment locator.

Something else potential renters should  do when applying for an apartment, is to fill-out the application as thoroughly as possible, leaving little to none of the questions blank.

" Leaving a lot of blanks sets off red flags," says Charles Bruce, manager at Tanglewood Place Apartments.  Another manager at the Whittfield Apartments, strongly advises to fill out the entire application, both current and previous information that is requested.  "We have a point system and sometimes you need the previous info to have enough points [to qualify]; having to keep calling to get info holds up the application."

Manager Charles Bruce also suggests to be "neat" on the application.  By "neat" he means, try not make mistakes when entering information... this may come back as a negative result which could delay the application approval.

He also says it's a good idea to bring 2-3 recent check stubs or financial information and current ID .  Obviously, this not only speeds up the whole process but it also impresses the leasing and property manager staff as it shows the applicant is a serious candidate and deserves quick service in return.

When the applicant tours the property and later fills-out the application to rent, whether on the same day or not, it never hurts to dress nicely.  You know...first impressions!  Applying for an apartment should be taken almost as serious as applying for a job...both could be viewed as "selling yourself."

Posted by Doug Spector on April 18th, 2018 4:12 PM
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HOUSTON APARTMENT LOCATOR INDUSTRY


Most of the Apartment Locating Companies in Houston don't charge any fees to their clients (people looking to rent).  However, usually they do get a referral fee or commission from the apartment complex where they send their clients who end-up renting there. This is how most apartment locators in Houston earn or supplement their living...much like the travel agent industry.

A very important thing to keep in mind is that the apartment's rental price remains the same whether renters are referred by a locator or not, so clients should never feel they could get a better "deal" going at it alone.  On the contrary, many times locators know which complexes are offering "specials" and even in some cases can in fact negotiate better prices on rent, deposits, application and/or admin fees for their clients. 

So if you're looking for an apartment in Houston, there's no reason to not take advantage of the truly great FREE service offered by a legitimate apartment locating company that is well established, licensed by the State of Texas and keeps up to date with the ever changing rental data.  A good locator will save you a ton of time, energy, money and frustration at no charge!

Also note that some good locators will (at your request) escort you to the properties, tour them with you, assist in filling-out "properly" the application and even celebrate your securing your new home by treating you to lunch like Apartment Living Locators!

Doug Spector/broker
Posted by Doug Spector on March 3rd, 2018 4:37 PM

Tips When Applying For An Apartment in Houston

 
Doug Spector

After asking numerous Houston apartment managers what advice they might have for anyone wanting to rent an apartment at their complex, the number one answer they gave was that the applicant be "upfront and honest."

Chances are, in this "information age", that there's a great chance that any falsified information given either verbally or written on the application, will be caught anyway.
And if that happens, the person applying will most likely lose their application fee, admin fee and many times even their deposit.

Most managers are helpful when the applicant is upfront about any previous rental or credit problems.  They can usually tell the person right away whether their past issue(s) would prevent them from being approved at their place, thus saving time and money.  Also, managers can possibly assist by referring them to another property they might know that would work with them or refer a good reputable Houston apartment locator.

Something else potential renters should  do when applying for an apartment, is to fill-out the application as thoroughly as possible, leaving little to none of the questions blank.

" Leaving a lot of blanks sets off red flags," says Charles Bruce, manager at Tanglewood Place Apartments.  Another manager at the Whittfield Apartments, strongly advises to fill out the entire application, both current and previous information that is requested.  "We have a point system and sometimes you need the previous info to have enough points [to qualify]; having to keep calling to get info holds up the application."

Manager Charles Bruce also suggests to be "neat" on the application.  By "neat" he means, try not make mistakes when entering information... this may come back as a negative result which could delay the application approval.

He also says it's a good idea to bring 2-3 recent check stubs or financial information and current ID .  Obviously, this not only speeds up the whole process but it also impresses the leasing and property manager staff as it shows the applicant is a serious candidate and deserves quick service in return.

When the applicant tours the property and later fills-out the application to rent, whether on the same day or not, it never hurts to dress nicely.  You know...first impressions!  Applying for an apartment should be taken almost as serious as applying for a job...both could be viewed as "selling yourself."

Posted by Doug Spector on April 13th, 2017 7:41 PM
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Doug Spector

If you're looking for Houston apartments to rent, one of the things you might want to consider is the security of the apartment complex.  While there is no such thing as a crime-free apartment, there are certain things you can do while pursuing your Houston apartment hunt that could possibly help you be more aware of your surroundings and try to get the most secure place for the money. 
 
Recently, The Houston Police Department has instituted the "Blue Star Multi- Housing Program" which is a joint effort between the police and Houston apartment managers and residents to help lower the crime rate in apartment complexes.  
 
The police train the managers in a class in various ways to make the complex more secure and the complex has to have a survey of the property to qualify which takes into effect such things as lighting, onsite security and other such necessities.
You can see which complexes have been certified by visiting their website online: https://www.haaonline.org/BlueStar/ and to also learn more about this three phase program.
 
 
Online apartment rating web sites can be helpful too. You can check Houston crime data including crime rates by neighborhood online with Neighborhood Scout https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/tx/houston/crime
 
Another website is Spot Crime https://spotcrime.com/tx/houston
which has an interactive map showing what crimes have been reported via Google Map. 
 
You can also call the local library and have their research staff help you with finding out how accurate the information is on these web sites.
 
Once you've narrowed your search to a handful of places, you can also check with the police for the crime rate on that apartment complex itself.  You might do a walk of the community yourself, looking at the same kinds of things the Blue Star survey does. 

If it's a gated community, check the statistics of the gate, as to how often it's been repaired.  That could be a sign of a potential crime issue. 
 
Also many apartment complexes now run criminal background checks on incoming residents.  Check too, if the apartment has the "Blue Star Lease Addendum" which cites specific actions that will be taken by management if a resident or someone under the resident's control is involved in illegal or dangerous activity on or near the rental property. 
 
Once you find an apartment, you might consider getting renter's insurance, just in case.  It's usually not very expensive for the amount of coverage it offers. 
As always, remember, if you need assistance in finding an apartment in Houston, contact a good reputable apartment locator.


Posted by Doug Spector on April 5th, 2017 8:36 PM



Doug Spector
Apartment Living Locators

"ALL BILLS PAID" ARE YOU SERIOUS? 

Back in the 60’s & early 70’s, seeing apartments in Houston with signs and banners advertising their rental prices along with the words “All Bills Paid” (ABP) or “Utilities Included” was commonplace.  These days however, apartments that still boast of such deals are few and far between. 

If I had to guess as to why the change, I’d suppose the main reason probably was it just started getting too expensive for apartment owners. They saw electric prices steadily soar from only $.02-$.04 cents per kilowatt hour from the 60’s thru the early 80’s up to $.12 cents and higher in the following three decades. 

Also, it’s a fact that most tenants knowing that their electric and water are “on the house,” they tend not to be too concerned about conserving energy…you know like letting the a/c run all day and not turning off lights when not needed.

I remember as a kid growing up in my parents’ house that it was 'law' to turn off the lights and if I ever forgot, I’d get the same lecture that always started with, “do you know how much money it cost to run the lights… It’s not free little man”

With this in mind, i
n 1973 the Texas legislature passed a law that there could be no more "All Bills Paid" apartments. This was because of the oil embargo and energy crisis that was going on. Some properties that were already ABP were grandfathered so they could stay ABP. This is why you never find ABP properties built after 1973.

Also in the early 2000's the legislature mandated that properties had to charge for water and that's why most apartments charge for water now.

With all that said, believe it or not, there are still a few apartments in the Houston and surrounding areas that include all utilities.  My recent count that include both water and electric is 24 complexes (three of which are in the Galleria area) and 9 others with the free electric but not the free water. 


Their rent prices vary depending on location but many are actually very reasonable.  For example, the three above mentioned complexes in the Galleria area start at only $705 for 1bd, $925 for 2bd, $1,225 for 3bd & $1,685 for 4 bd.
 

 

For a list of these rare Houston apartments still offering No Electric Bills, some with No Water Bills also, contact a good reputable Houston Apartment Locator who knows about these and other great apartment deals in general.



Posted by Doug Spector on March 15th, 2017 11:34 PM
 
Doug Spector 
Apartment Living Locators 


How Important is Rental History Anyway?

When applying to rent an apartment in Houston, your rental history is super important being at the top of the criteria list of what management companies and owners look for when considering you as a potential tenant.  In terms of importance, rental history ranks just below criminal history. 

The main reason why your rental history is so major is mainly because apartment management figures that whatever you’ve done in the past, you’re prone to repeat and thus sees you as a higher risk than someone with ‘good’ to ‘excellent’ rental history.

You could be the nicest, kindest and greatest person in the world but if you have bad rental history, those wonderful traits most likely will be overshadowed by the simple fact that you also unfortunately possess a flawed rental background.

  

BROKEN LEASES-

Though not as bad as evictions, previous broken leases are a big red flag to most complexes. Still, some apartment managers might work with you if you are up front about it upon your first visit to or contact with the property. It just all depends on their company policies, usually set forth by the owner(s).

Sometimes, 
they’ll look at the underlying circumstances as to why you had broken your lease. If it's something they feel is legitimate,such as "Job Relocation" or "Family Emergency" as examples, then there are greater odds they’ll take that into consideration in the approval process.

There might be other circumstances too which will give them cause to take a second look. So, if you feel you had a good reason for breaking a prior lease, by all means explain your case in detail and it's best to do so in person as opposed to text, phone or email. Go dressed professionally as if you were applying for a job...you know, first impressions.    

They’ll also take notice if you broke your lease owing money to any previous landlords. If you don’t owe anything, then your chances are a whole lot better; however, if you do have an outstanding balance, that makes things worse. The new place certainly doesn't want the same kind of treatment.

If you’ve broken a lease in the past and know you still owe that landlord, then it’s a good idea to pay it off first before even applying for another rental somewhere else.  If you’re unsure if you owe anything or don’t know the amount, simply contact the manager where you broke the lease and ask.  Also, if you’re unable to pay the amount in full, ask if you can start a payment plan.

Either way, complete payoff or payment plan, be sure to get it in writing and signed.  Then bring that receipt or letter (as proof) with you to the new complex you’re applying for...it will make a huge difference in your favor!

There’s no guarantee that any given complex will approve you with a broken lease even if you follow the advice above but it will definitely improve the probability greatly!

Also, if you have a broken lease, it never hurts to have someone go to bat for you and speak kind words on your behalf.  A good reputable Houston apartment locator who has a good rapport with lots of management companies, would be the perfect choice for that situation. 

 

EVICTIONS-

If you’ve been evicted (asked to vacate a property) in the past, that is much harder to negotiate than a broken lease.  Once again, be up front about it.  In either case, a broken lease or eviction, if you try to “slide it by them” by omitting it on your application, the likelihood of their "catching it" is high, especially these days with advanced technology and shared databases.  And if they find out that you've falsified that vital information on the application, they’ll probably keep your app fee along with your deposit.  Trying to get your money refunded, will probably be an uphill battle which you’ll most likely lose.

But even with an eviction, there’s still hope. Once again and more than ever, you’ll want the help of a good reputable Houston apartment locator who already knows which management companies and complexes might work with that situation and save you time, money and lots of aggravation--but still no guaranties.

Also, in either the case of a prior broken lease or eviction, once you find favor with an apartment willing to give second chances, don’t be surprised if they ask for a higher deposit and/or two or more month’s rent up front.  

SUMMARY-

It is so important to always do everything possible to protect your rental history.  Keep open communications in a friendly civilized manner with your manager/landlord before breaking a lease or getting evicted (even if you feel justified at the time).  Try to work things out first.  If that still goes nowhere, then you might contact The Houston Apartment Association (https://www.haaonline.org) or file an online complaint with them at: https://www.haaonline.org/Custom/RR_Complaint_Form/default.aspx.  You may also consider obtaining legal counsel. 

Simply put, try to avoid at all costs getting bad rental history--it will most likely come back to haunt you if and when you ever want to rent any type of home again, not only in Houston but the entire country.

Posted by Doug Spector on March 12th, 2017 9:57 AM

Paul Murany
Apartment Living Locators

Hi there... Paul here...just some random thoughts about various apartments in Houston and related subjects...
Did you know there is an apartment complex in Houston that borders Addicks reservoir and has an access gate to the reservoir and about a zillion acres of wilderness and trails?
Paul 713-478-7755

Did you know that there is a very nice complex in the Memorial area that has a house in the middle of it? And you can lease the house?
Paul 713-478-7755
Along the same vein...there is a luxury apartment complex in the Medical center that is built completely around a house because the owner of the house held out and refused to sell, so the complex was built around the house.
Paul 713-478-7755
Did you know there is an apartment complex in North Houston that is all houses and duplexes? You rent them and they are treated like apartments including having 24 hour maintenance and having the complex mow your lawn.
Paul 713-478-7755
Did you know the oldest complex in Houston started life as a cotton warehouse in 1880? They are now lofts and the massive beams you can see while there came from trees on site that were cut down and used for the original construction.
Paul 713-478-7755
Did you know that legendary Mayor and County Judge Roy Hofheinz once had a ranch “outside the city” that is now an apartment complex in the middle of the Galleria area and one of the swimming pools was the original one on his ranch?
713-478-7755
Did you know if you were curious about any of these you can call or email me and I will gladly tell you where they, or any other properties, are?

Posted by Doug Spector on March 7th, 2017 2:16 PM

Doug Spector/broker

Apartment Living Locators

 credit score is a statistical number that depicts a person's creditworthiness. Scores range from the worst being 300 and the best being 850.

Credit score is a number assigned to a person that indicates to lenders their capacity to repay a loan.  Originally, this was used in the housing market for obtaining mortgage loans. Then it started being utilized in the vehicle purchasing and leasing industry.

--And now, guess where it’s being used…In the Apartment Rental Business.

Many Apartments in Houston are now using credit scores to determine the likelihood of a potential tenant to pay his/her rent in full, on time, and throughout the life of the lease.

It is not a personal attack. It's simply a business decision. Most individuals or companies renting Houston apartments want credit scores from applicants to be around 620 or higher.

On occasion, complexes might make exceptions if you were to fall slightly short. Some might ask for a higher deposit, others might offer for you to pay two months rent up front and still some could possibly ask you to get a cosigner.  It never hurts to ask if they fail to offer.

There are ways to improve your credit score but that usually takes quite some time—months and even years. Get more information about repairing credit by visiting myFICO.com. Also, you can review all of your credit reports for free each year at annualcreditreport.com.

If you're not sure if you'll qualify to rent an apartment because of low, bad or borderline credit, call a good apartment locator in Houston.  They can possibly assist in overcoming credit issues you might have by talking to and/or working a deal with the apartment manager on your behalf.  Also, a good locator, will also know places that aren’t as strict about credit scores and might be willing to work with it pending other positive attributes such as good job security, long time employment, good income, good rental history, etc.

In my next blog post on Qualifying For Renting A Houston Apartment, I'll discuss how previous rental history can affect your chances of qualifying, both positively and negatively.

Stay tuned.....


Posted by Doug Spector on February 26th, 2017 2:03 PM

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