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TX Apt complex suddenly raised rent substantially

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I have lived in an Apartment complex in Texas since 2010. I started out renting a 2b/2ba apt at $550/mo. (yes its cheap). then every 6 months onwards they would raise the rent by about $10/mo and i would either sign it or move out!!!. Obviously i signed into the lease with the extra $10/mo. In 2012, they offered me just a $5/mo increase on my rent and i went for a full year.(13 months).

 

Now, come 2013 renewal, they are asking for a $110 rental increase per month!!!!!!!!!. Can they really do that? isn't there such a thing as a reasonable increase. This rental increase for the same apartment is nearly 10 times what they ever previously offered!!!!!!.

 

I want to take matters legal with them for substantially raising the rental rate!!!!!. I believe they are intentionally inflicting injury to me & asking that i pay them what they are asking or leave? Its their claim that the market rate would be so much higher then what they are offering & that they are actually offering it to me at a substantial discount!!!!!

 

What do you think folks? I cant even have a satellite dish installed in the apartment complex i live!!!!!!. (there is a fee for that). they also are into a cable company which has exclusive rights of cable service for the apartment complex. So ATT U verse &/or COMCAST DISH or DIRECTV cannot be provided to any residents at this complex.

 

I so very much still after all its faults would very much like to continue staying where i am right now, but i am unable to truly to afford it. They are now asking me for $110/mo extra and they have made me offers they claim of $ 20/mo increases previously.(within 5 months of lease renewal; intermittently). My lease expires July 31, 2013. I have lived in the same apartment since August 2010. They do say on the contract that their market rate is substantially higher and you will pay that market rate should i ever default on it. In the last two years i have lived here, i have never ever been late on my rental payment.

 

I like to think this is discrimination against me. I know of no one in the apartment complex who has been offered so substantial rate increase just yet!!!!!!.

There are residents here who have stayed much longer than i have ever been here.

 

The legal forms they use are from the Texas Apartment Association forms & not the Texas Real Estate forms. (Apt/House Leasing).

 

I am seeking legal help in requesting that they substantiate the sudden substantial increase in my rent?

 

Please find it in your heart to help me out here? i very much appreciate anyone who can advice me what my next steps should be?

 

 

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I would look up any renter laws in your state to see if there is a percentage of yearly increase.  I know my state has them.  I would also comp the apts in your area that are similar, see what the going rate is.  You may be able to negociate with them, and if not, why not move?  (I know it is a hassle) Read your lease carefully and see if there is a cap on rent increases as well.

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The market comps fall within $ 30 of neighboring apartment complexes for exactly similar apartments. Look up renter laws in the state? where? i believe since they use texas apartment association forms thats the place to start, next best i see is their previous contract paperwork with me.

Negotiating with them is out of the question!!!!!

 

From the TAA.org (Texas Apt association)

 

Is there any limit on rent increases?

Texas does not have any rent control laws. Rents are determined by property owners and are typically market-driven.

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Here is another tip for next time. A couple of months before renewal, send them a letter with the following info:

1. Your perfect payment history,
2. Your excellent and examplary tenant record,
3. Information about lower rents in the area,
4. The costs to landlord associated with tenant move-out / move-in, including new tenant search, approval, apartment re-juvenation, etc,
5. Tell them that you will be willing to stay for $100 / months LESS. In essense, this is an offer to extend lease at $100 / a month lower rent,

Let them now worry about the rest.

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I like to think this is discrimination against me. I know of no one in the apartment complex who has been offered so substantial rate increase just yet!!!!!!.

There are residents here who have stayed much longer than i have ever been here.

 

The legal forms they use are from the Texas Apartment Association forms & not the Texas Real Estate forms. (Apt/House Leasing).

 

I am seeking legal help in requesting that they substantiate the sudden substantial increase in my rent?

 

Please find it in your heart to help me out here? i very much appreciate anyone who can advice me what my next steps should be?

 

You have been fortunate to this point that they have not increased the rent to market values.  However, given this economy I think any landlord would eventually be forced to get their rents within market range in order to pay their employees, maintain the property daily,make improvements, as well as taxes etc. 

While it feels discriminatory they cannot use a protected reason in raising rents (anything that violates fair housing laws) such as only raising rent for certain ethnic groups or national origin as an example.  If they are raising your rent because your lease expired and you are renewing that is legal.  While other residents may not have had their rent raised yet you don't know when their leases come up.  Some long term tenants sign multi-year leases which means it could be a while before they see a rent increase.

 

If the Texas Apartment Association form conforms to the real estate form it is doubtful they would pursue a violation there and all that might happen is it delay the increase by a month or two while they get the correct form filled out.

 

What do you think folks? I cant even have a satellite dish installed in the apartment complex i live!!!!!!. (there is a fee for that). they also are into a cable company which has exclusive rights of cable service for the apartment complex. So ATT U verse &/or COMCAST DISH or DIRECTV cannot be provided to any residents at this complex.

 

It isn't their fault or problem that you cannot afford the required fee for a satellite.  It is not uncommon for complexes to have deals with a single provider.  If you are unhappy with the added or missing services you find a complex that offers what you do want.  This has nothing to do with the increase in rent.

 

I haveI so very much still after all its faults would very much like to continue staying where i am right now, but i am unable to truly to afford it. They are now asking me for $110/mo extra and they have made me offers they claim of $ 20/mo increases previously.(within 5 months of lease renewal; intermittently). My lease expires July 31, 2013. I have lived in the same apartment since August 2010. They do say on the contract that their market rate is substantially higher and you will pay that market rate should i ever default on it. In the last two years i have lived here, i have never ever been late on my rental payment.

 

I am seeking legal help in requesting that they substantiate the sudden substantial increase in my rent?

 

Please find it in your heart to help me out here? i very much appreciate anyone who can advice me what my next steps should be?

 

One thing that is possible is often when occupancy is low leasing companies offer substantial discounts on rents to attract tenants.  It is possible that since you moved in three years ago demand has increased and if they are running at > 90% occupancy they no longer have a need to offer the discounted rents are and going to charge market rent to all tenants as leases renew and new tenants sign.

 

Based on what you posted I do not see a legal basis to challenge the rent increase.  Your best option is to see if you can negotiate a lower increase for your unit based on the positive things you listed.  If they will not work with you and you cannot afford to stay then you are not left with any option but to find another apartment and move.  Unfortunately things like this happen.

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Here is another tip for next time. A couple of months before renewal, send them a letter with the following info:

1. Your perfect payment history,

2. Your excellent and examplary tenant record,

3. Information about lower rents in the area,

4. The costs to landlord associated with tenant move-out / move-in, including new tenant search, approval, apartment re-juvenation, etc,

5. Tell them that you will be willing to stay for $100 / months LESS. In essense, this is an offer to extend lease at $100 / a month lower rent,

Let them now worry about the rest.

 

1.  THIS always helps.

2.  This helps too.

3.  IF they even exist.  In this case the complex is within $30 of current market rents so it is unlikely to help in negotiations.

4.  The costs to the LL are fixed based on advertising budget and fees charged to each tenant as part of their lease to offset those amounts. The costs to the tenant are far more and they know it.

5.  If occupancy is greater than 90% for the complex this will NOT work at all.  

 

The problem with number five is that if there are tenants waiting for an apartment of similar size (and 2/2 are VERY popular) then the tenant has no leverage to say this and could easily be faced with "thanks but no thanks we are not renewing your lease."  In all my years of renting I have only twice had a landlord drop the rent and that was because occupancy had fallen below 85% and they were desperate to keep tenants.  The ONLY reason that happened that year was because three new large apartment complexes were built within 3 miles of ours.  Once they reached 90% our complex returned to market rate rents as their capacity returned.

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If you do move out, make sure that you take pictures of every room and the damage. hopefully you took pix when you moved in. Always do this when you move into a new place. Pix before and after with details.

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Well i researched it myself & i believe the rents everywhere around us have gone up. Not only that its very hard to even find a place with the space listed at the rent i was paying. However,

 

1) The reviews for the apartments are no good at all. Tenants living there scream and police/ambulance visits frequent it. Its like that in a 10mi neighbhorhood around my place. It is in a rough/rowdy neighborhood but the apt complex is secure with guards/gates. The apt itself is very very spacious.

 

2) I would still stay if i was halfway of what they r asking ($700) to what i am paying now ($590). The trouble moving is just overwhelming with an elementary school going kid.

 

3) I was gonna go up one ladder and instead of asking the property manager submit a letter to upper management (landlord/owner of apt complex).

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Sounds like you need to bite the bullet and stay where you are. Though I would ask if they could you you some kind of break.

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The only thing that would make a difference to them is how many people decline to stay.  The question is, have they gone above the price point that makes people move away?

 

FYI, I used to live in Texas back in the 90's.  My 1br1ba apartment cost more THEN than your LL's new ask price today for 2br2ba.  Must be location, location, or location.

 

Do you have internet there?

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Here in texas we have a consumer complaint center run by a professor at UH law center. this is one of his associate lawyers opinion to my complaint as shown in my original post. (OP). The complex is owned by ARRUTH ASSOC which is headquartered in Houston, TX and buys/owns very many similar apartment complexes in US.
 
 
Unfortunately, there is no Texas state law limiting rent increases to a "reasonable" amount.  This is a common problem right now, because in many places there is a shortage of rental units and landlords are raising rents because of that.  Once your current lease agreement expires the landlord can raise the rent, and the sad fact is that if the landlord wants to charge more than you want to pay your best bet will be to find a place to live at a price that you are happy with.
 

Here is a good breakdown of Texas Landlord/Tenant law:


http://www.peopleslawyer.net/legal-topics/landlord-tenant-law-general.html

 
As far as the exclusive cable provider deal, the law says that they cannot prevent you from getting another cable or satellite provider, but you may still have to pay the provider with which they have the contract so long as your lease requires it.
 
To prove discrimination, you would need to establish that you have been treated differently in the process because of a “protected classification,” such as your race, national origin, disability, etc.  For example, if you can prove that the landlord routinely charges one ethnic group more than another, then you may have a valid “discrimination” claim.  That said, a defense to such a claim is that the difference is explained by “legitimate business reasons.”  For example, in your case if the landlord can establish that because of market conditions all new leases of units like yours have similar increases, then the landlord has a “legitimate business reason” for the difference in rent increases.
 
If you believe that you are the subject of discrimination there are a number of places to file a complaint about such discrimination, such as with:
 
The City of Houston:
 
 
The Texas Workforce Commission:
 
 
and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development:
 
 
If you want to continue to live at the complex, however, you may want to think carefully about filing such a complaint, because in general there is no legal way to force them to renew a lease if they want to end the relationship.  

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so with a very clear understanding that without a real discrimination cause there is not much that i can do here.

 

To prove discrimination, you would need to establish that you have been treated differently in the process because of a “protected classification,” such as your race, national origin, disability, etc.  For example, if you can prove that the landlord routinely charges one ethnic group more than another, then you may have a valid “discrimination” claim.  That said, a defense to such a claim is that the difference is explained by “legitimate business reasons.”  For example, in your case if the landlord can establish that because of market conditions all new leases of units like yours have similar increases, then the landlord has a “legitimate business reason” for the difference in rent increases.

 

 

Now, what exactly must i prove here. Most people would just simply opt & leave it alone and move on to where its more easier & cheaper to live at what i was paying.

I am of asian origin & almost 85% of residents at my complex is ghetto/black. There are upto 12 Apartment complexes in this ghetto area within a 10 mi radius. I have always paid on time for the last 3 years & never once defaulted. My research shows that until now most apartments my type 2b/2ba have not had a rental increase of more than $25 (however, my rental increase is $110/mo )in the last 6 mos Also, if a new rental was issued it would be much less than what i will be paying in renewal. Apartment Managers claim that i was given a $10 raise notice back in Mar 2013 (my lease renews in aug 1 2013) of just $ 15/mo increase & i did not take it.

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The only thing that would make a difference to them is how many people decline to stay.  The question is, have they gone above the price point that makes people move away?

 

FYI, I used to live in Texas back in the 90's.  My 1br1ba apartment cost more THEN than your LL's new ask price today for 2br2ba.  Must be location, location, or location.

 

Do you have internet there?

 

You have to buy your own internet (I have aT&T DSL) although i could use their Cable company's internet service as well. Just like telemundo & other spanish channels we r also restricted to some chosen Asian channels only available on either DISH or DIRECTV/COMCAST; and since other cable company has exclusive rights for another 3 years, the complex is working on bringing them (aTT-Uverse, Comcast ) also but i doubt the apartment complex could do anything about it. Its not so much that I cannot put Dish/Directv my apartment is surrounded by big big Tree that pretty much covers the apt i live in & to get directv/dish signals you have to point the dish only in a certain direction and that direction is definitely covered by trees (even on the roof ; the complex would not allow placing the dish anywhere other than our patio). I had signed up with DISH before and asked/requested apt complex management to be able to place the dish on/near my front door from where i could comfortably watch cable shows, however, few months later upon my next lease renewal they forced me to move out the dish from its location and terminate my agreement with DISH causing me a substantial 2 year agreement loss ( I signed 2 yr agreement with DISH & was able to only use it for upto 4 months) and as of now i have the receiver and the dish but no cable for they would not let me place it anywhere. Their claim is city ordinance calls it a fire hazard to have a dish placed in the front door. The dish was placed in a bucket filled with cement around it to hold it tight. Not allowed to attach it to any structure of the building. ( will post pictures when i can).

 

If ghetto area is location, location location Torden, hmmmm... i'd say fewer apartment complexes & substaintially more residents ready to move in is more of the areas problem.

have they gone above the price point that makes people move away?

It only seems to me that there aren't that many residents left in the complex that use to stay there for long long time. everyone i know of is experiencing a substantial rate increase from the apt management company that they just rather move somewhere else versus stay at this complex. At time of renewals, they increase the rate substantially but if someone has signed a 6 mo lease they will experience the rate increase much sooner & hence move out.

The public reviews on yellow pages & other review places is not exactly good for this apartment complex but i guess it doesnt matter to the management of this complex so much. In 2011, there was one building that had a break-in in their apartment & all four residents of that building left within a month or two of staying there.

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This sounds very might like a "find another place to live" situation.  And it sounds like that will be very hard to do (to find a new place, even with worse conditions, that you can afford).

 

The economy of the past few years has pushed more people from being home owners to being renters.  There are reports now of the demand slowly shifting back to home ownership.  Maybe that will ease the rental pressure in the coming future.  Your city may vary.  But your problem is right now.

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You have to buy your own internet (I have aT&T DSL) although i could use their Cable company's internet service as well. Just like telemundo & other spanish channels we r also restricted to some chosen Asian channels only available on either DISH or DIRECTV/COMCAST; and since other cable company has exclusive rights for another 3 years, the complex is working on bringing them (aTT-Uverse, Comcast ) also but i doubt the apartment complex could do anything about it. Its not so much that I cannot put Dish/Directv my apartment is surrounded by big big Tree that pretty much covers the apt i live in & to get directv/dish signals you have to point the dish only in a certain direction and that direction is definitely covered by trees (even on the roof ; the complex would not allow placing the dish anywhere other than our patio). I had signed up with DISH before and asked/requested apt complex management to be able to place the dish on/near my front door from where i could comfortably watch cable shows, however, few months later upon my next lease renewal they forced me to move out the dish from its location and terminate my agreement with DISH causing me a substantial 2 year agreement loss ( I signed 2 yr agreement with DISH & was able to only use it for upto 4 months) and as of now i have the receiver and the dish but no cable for they would not let me place it anywhere. Their claim is city ordinance calls it a fire hazard to have a dish placed in the front door. The dish was placed in a bucket filled with cement around it to hold it tight. Not allowed to attach it to any structure of the building. ( will post pictures when i can).

 

I feel your pain on the inability to position a satellite.  Unfortunately the complex is right to not allow you to place the dish on common property.  If you do it then they have to let everyone do it and then the entire property is at risk for being littered with dishes.  Then there comes the issue of them possibly having to maintain it since it is on their property or being liable if it gets damaged while doing maintenance near it.

 

I wanted a dish in my condo and could not get one because I had a unit that faced east.  They would not even allow dishes to be mounted to a balcony if that was the only way to get a signal.  I don't know of ANY complex apartment or condo that allows residents to mount them to the roof due to the damage it causes.

 

I lived in one complex that had one of those guys who had an "exclusive" deal for cable service.  I had U-Verse.  He tried to tell me I HAD to use his cable company.  I argued I did not and that I would be more than happy if he sued me and we went to court.  I also let him know that I planned to bring the local investigative news channel with me at the time.  He backed down really quick.  Leases cannot mandate you only use one service but they aren't obligated to allow you to mount equipment just anywhere either.  They can mandate you use their official representative if you do choose the company they have a "deal" with.

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well that day has come now when the rent has gone up by $110. I did not have it writing until June 24th, 2013 but now i have it in writing their offer of $110 more.

 

I want to stay here and sign a lease for 12-13 mos.

 

My options

 

Negotiate

 

threaten with discrimination? filing complaints with HUD (Equal Housing) &/or City of XXXXXX Housing division.

 

I only have until June 30th before which i have to give notice of accepting their renewal or leaving!!!!

 

Suggestions? comments???

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My numerous efforts to be able to qualify and eligible & obtaining a section 8 voucher thru 20 years have very significantly FAILED only becoz i have always fallen behind or on a waiting list where i never really got a section 8 approval.

After having tried for so long i just gave up on it.

 

if you know of a faster way to section 8 approval i am all ears? i will listen ?

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It has always been my quest that while others have paid very significantly different rents at apartment complex, and i do not consider $700 for my location actually that bad either, but up until now i have never known an apartment complex who history of raising rents by upto $20/mo would take such drastic step of raising the rent all the way to $110/mo. thats a huge jump!!!!. it can only happen if occupancy reaches almost 90% or better and demand for the place is very high? neither one of them is actually true of this complex. 

 

I very much object to it. I think if it was even $60/mo i would still feel ok so be it. With $110 increase in rent i am just shocked/amazed and knowing what i know now with apartment complexes and their abilities it doesn't surprise me about their lobbying efforts to TX legislature!!!!!

They supposedly win most of their battles.

 

In researching my complex with almost similar size apts and finding what residents here r paying they r so close to $700 but not exactly!!!!!! $645-$665 is pretty much everyone i know living here pays for my size apartments.

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Could this be a case of typo error? I have typed 110 when I meant to type 10 before. You might want to check that first before doing all this work. Just saying if you do a lot of huffing and puffing and then find out it was a typo it will be awkward.

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its definitely $110 no way it is just $10. gurantee

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