Thursday, December 20, 2012
If you don't pay rent, there are several consequences your landlord can inflict on you by law. The Texas Apartment Association lays out what your landlord can do as a remedy if you don't pay rent.
First, your landlord will most likely inflict late charges onto your account, which will increase the amount you owe, as the late charges are in addition to your rent. Second, if your lease includes a clause giving your landlord permission, they can enter your apartment and take your belongings as collateral until you pay your rent. The items they can remove include items like televisions, stereos, sports equipment, etc. The items they take can even be sold to pay for rent if your landlord gives you notice as lined out in the statute.
If the landlord gives you notice as they are required by the Texas Property Code, you can be locked out of your apartment or house and will have to get in touch with the manager to re-enter your apartment. The landlord also has the right to file for eviction and report the fact you didn't pay rent to consumer reporting agencies. This can effect not only you being able to get credit, but renting another apartment will be very difficult if you have a non-payment on your record. Even potential employers may pull your credit report and red flags like rent non-payment can prevent you from getting a job.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Restrictive breeds are dogs that apartment complexes classify as aggressive breeds. Every property has their own list and it varies, but often includes dogs such as German Shepherds, Pit Bulls, Dobermans, and Chows. Some properties are also beginning to include large breed dogs that are not classified as aggressive, such as Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers. This is because even if you move in with a puppy that is one of these larger breeds and it is under the weight limit, before your lease term is up, that dog is going to be over the weight limit.
What does this mean for you? It means it is very important that you tell your apartment locator not only what breed your dog is, but how much it weighs or, if it's a puppy, how much it is expected to weigh when fully grown. Weights are also important because some apartment complexes charge different deposits depending on your dog's weight. For example, if you have a dog that weighs under 30 pounds, you will have to pay a smaller pet deposit than someone with a dog that weighs over 30 pounds.
If you do have a dog on the restricted breeds list, every property has different documentation they require you to submit to consider making an exception. Many properties require documentation even if your dog is not on the list. Some ask for vet records, some require a puppy interview, and still others require a puppy interview, vet records, and a picture of your dog.
This may seem overwhelming, especially if you have a dog you suspect may be a restricted breed, but your apartment locator knows what breeds and weights each complex accepts, and what requirements they have for documentation and deposits. As long as you let us know your dog's breed and weight, we can work with you to find a great place for you and your four-legged friend.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
How can apartment locators work for free is a question we often get from our clients and potential clients. While our service is free to you, the potential renter, we get a finder's fee from the apartment complexes when you sign a lease with them. Apartment Complexes have to advertise to get potential renters. However, radio, television, internet and print adds are very expensive and they offer no guarantee that a potential renter who comes to them from these sources is qualified to lease an apartment in their community.
When we meet with you, we are not only vetting apartments for the client, but we are also vetting the client for the apartment complex. When you visit our office, we discuss what your needs in an apartment are. We also discuss any roadblocks, such as a low credit score or a past broken lease, that you may have and will only take you to complexes that will work with you on these limitations. When you walk into an apartment complex with an apartment locator, the leasing agent at the complex knows that you at least meet their minimum qualifying guidelines to lease an apartment. You have already seen pictures, know the amenities offered at the complex and basically you have narrowed this down to a stop on your list. So the leasing agent can focus on really showing you around, and showing the amenities of their community.
An apartment locator can narrow down the choices to what works for you and will only show you San Antonio apartments that have units that meet your criteria. If you want wood floors and a garden tub, you may waste two days worth of gas and time going to 15 apartment complexes that have wood floors, but they don't all have garden tubs. With an apartment locator, we can rule out complexes that don't fit your criteria right in our office and spend our time only visiting in person those complexes that have what you want. We also know which complexes have vacancies, so we won't waste your time showing you apartments where there's not an available unit that meets your needs.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Water on the hike and bike trail has been provided for years by running stores, such as RunTex and Rogue, but the City shut down the water stands 3 weeks ago after learning that permits were required by state law, Statesman.com reports.
Health Department Officials are concerned about the water being safe to drink, not being tampered with, and that the containers are being cleaned out properly. Otherwise, drinkers could get very sick. The Parks Department sees the water stands as a great trail amenity and is going to work with the stores putting out the water to pay for the approximately $400 worth of permits that are needed. The City is also going to make stations that keep the containers secure and the lids locked. Stations should begin coming back to the trail in mid-January.
RunTex says it costs them approximately $3,000 monthly for the water, ice and cups and pay staff to put out the water. The owner is in the process of securing permits so he can keep putting out water and plans to put out jugs that cannot be tampered with in January. He sees the permits as a benefit because they will demonstrate that RunTex is "complying with health standards." He also says now is the best time to deal with this because people are much less likely to suffer from heat exhaustion in the cooler winter weather.
Rogue Running, in contrast, says they will not pay for permits, seeing their free service as something that benefits the community and shouldn't incur additional expense.
Park officials would prefer more water fountains over water coolers along the trail, but fountains that are currently on the trail often don't work and the city turns them off when the temperature is below freezing to prevent frozen pipes. For now, the city and RunTex advise people to stay hydrated by bringing along their own water.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Trading funds between streetcars and 1604 could help both projects get on track quicker, My San Antonio.comreports. The San Antonio Bexar County Metropolitan Planning Organization Board met on the proposed change Monday, and will make a final vote at the end of January.
The proposal involves three main changes: swapping the money allocated for the streetcar project and a Loop 1604 plan to add express lanes between Bandera and Potranco roads, changing what the parts of the Loop 1604 plan are, and swapping the funding between Loop 1604 and US 281, which is also scheduled for more lanes.
The change would eliminate federal money from the Loop 1604 project, thereby getting rid of the need for federal environmental studies that can take years, but would still have to be approved by the Federal Highway Administration. The U.S. 281 project would still see some federal funding, but a federal environmental study has already began on that area.
While money is often moved around in this fashion, it is unusual to have money sources switched up between transit and road projects. Under the new plan, $92 million allocated for the streetcar lines from Bexar County's advanced transportation district revenue (ATD) would go to the Loop 1604 project. That money would then be replaced by $92 million in state funds that had been allocated to Loop 1604.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Holiday lights can be a big hassle: to buy, to put up, to figure out which bulb is causing the entire string to go dead. It's enough to make you throw your hands up in the air and say Bah Humbug! Luckily, Apartment Therapy shares some dos and don'ts to help you get out of your Scrooge mood.
Buy the exact amount of lights you need. If you have floorplans or blueprints of your apartment or house, use them to get the measurements for how many light strings you'll need. On your Christmas tree indoors, you'll need 100-150 lights per linear foot. Also, be sure to be a good neighbor if you cover your house in lights, ala Clark Griswold. These rules will help you respect your neighbors.
When you unpack last year's lights, be on the lookout for broken bulbs and put new ones in right away. You don't want holiday decorating to turn into a trip to the emergency room or get blood all over your tinsel. Also, be sure to turn your light string into something one-of-a-kind by adding ping pong balls or cupcake liners to look like flowers.
Make sure you have enough outdoor rated extension cords, and don't risk fire or tripped breakers by putting more than five strings of light into one extension cord. Also, be aware that lights will increase your electricity bill and plan accordingly. Better yet, go for LED lights, which are more durable, give off more light, and aren't energy hogs like traditional lights. For even more energy savings, put your lights on a timer.
After the holidays, take your lights down in a timely manner or else the elements may ruin them more quickly than you would like. Also, you should store your lights untangled in a dark cool place after the holidays. Merry Lighting!
Monday, December 3, 2012
The Mill Street Townhomes have been torn down so that construction can begin on a new student apartment complex called Wildwood, The University Star reports. The new complex is expected to open August 15, 2013.
The Dovetail Companies, a developer from Atlanta Georgia, purchased the townhomes from their owner Tim Olwell in July. The eight lots will be added to the area behind the townhomes which Dovetail already purchased. The property's convenient location, close to campus and on the Bobcat Tram bus route, made it highly desirable for students.
Olwell said most residents just let their leases run out, but he did have to buy a couple of renters out of their leases. Residents were not penalized if they moved out early and if they didn't owe any back rent, they got their full deposit back. He tried to help people who had to move out before July 1st by giving them extra funds to help them find a new apartment.
The two bedroom, one bath townhomes were popular with young unmarried people with children and retired people, but no Texas State students lived there. The owner says he tried to be as fair as possible with his tenants as they left.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Indoor gardens aren't impossible, but it's important to choose plants that are well-suited to an indoor environment. Zillow helps you turn your brown thumb green and have a luscious apartment garden!
You can place your garden wherever it works for you, just be sure you have enough light. If you do not have a space with ample light for your plants, you can use HID, high intensity discharge, lights to grow your potted friends. The best locations for your shelf or table of plants is one that has durable floors such as tile. If you much place your garden on carpet or wood, put down plastic or a tarp to protect your floors from water damage. Whatever you decide to grow, plant it in potting soil specifically designed for indoor plants.
Herbs are great for growing indoors. Just fill a pot with the right type of soil, plant your chosen herb seeds, and place in an area that sees approximately six hours of sun daily. Tomatoes are also wonderful to grow indoors. Cherry and grape tomatoes are the best for this and you can even grow tomatoes upside down from the ceiling if you don't have a lot of extra space.
Salad greens are another tasty option for your apartment garden. They're easy to grow and are short-season crops, meaning you can continually harvest them by just planting a little more every couple of weeks. Lettuce does need to be in soil that is moist throughout without being soggy. Watering from the bottom using a watering tray every other day will work in most environments.
Radishes are simple to grow, so they make a great choice for beginner gardeners. You can grow them in almost any pot that's at least a foot in diameter. You'll have radishes ready to enjoy in 3 weeks and can continue enjoying them by just planting more every week or two.
Finally, green beans can be grown indoors, but they do need at least six hours of sun a day. If you don't have that level of sun, grow lights can do the trick and you'll have tasty green beans to eat in a couple of months! Happy gardening!
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Incentive deals will be required to pay at least $11 hourly in Travis County, Statesman.com reports. In other words, companies who want to set up shop here and get a tax break will have to pay a living wage to their employees.
The new wage will apply to construction workers as well, who currently only get roughly $7.50 an hour. The new rules came about after both Austin and Travis County were criticized about the incentives they gave to companies such as Apple and Marriott. Tuesday's rules marked the first official policy governing incentives.
A City Council committee also said that Austin should make the $11 hourly rate standard for any companies they give incentives to as well. Mayor Lee Leffingwell is against the minimum, which he believes will push companies to relocate in other cities and that it might hurt Austin's economy. The Austin Chamber of Commerce and minority contractors also spoke out against the changes.
The Austin Chamber of Commerce Vice President said that among the most recent incentive deals the city and county have engaged in, the only one that would meet the new hourly wage requirement is the one with Apple, who will be paying $12 an hour for construction at its new North Austin location.
Friday, November 23, 2012
The Emily Morgan Hotel in downtown San Antonio is in the midst of a $5 million renovation, My San Antonio.comreports. It will also become a Doubletree by Hilton Hotel when the renovations are completed in December.
The entire interior will see upgraded floors, furniture, tubs, tile, beds and paint, from the 177 rooms to the lobby and restaurant. The 1920s Gothic revivalist exterior will not see any changes. The building was originally called the San Antonio Medical Arts Building when it opened in 1926, but has been a hotel since 1985. A $3 million renovation was started in 2000, but stopped when the September 11th attacks happened and was never completed.
The Emily Morgan is the official hotel of the Alamo and sees the seven-year agreement with Doubletree by Hilton as a way for the hotel to become more visible, especially to business travelers. All of the hotel employees will be required to go through at least 100 hours of hospitality training under the deal.
The hotel saw an increase to almost $5 million in revenue for the three month period of July through September, which was up roughly 7 percent from the same period last year. Hotel occupancy also went up 5 percent to almost 65 percent and revenue per room was also up 5 percent to $77.12, a figure still below downtown's average of $91.17. However, it is expected that the reboot of the hotel's interior will improve all revenue figures for the Emily Morgan dramatically.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
The holiday blues can really get you down this time of year. Perhaps it's the first year since a loved one has passed away, or you have lost your job or broken up with your significant other, but whatever the reason, the holidays can be a lonely time. Apartment Therapy helps you keep your chin up and your spirits high during the holiday season.
If you can't travel to be with your family for Thanksgiving or Christmas, host a holiday potluck! Ask around to see if others you know also aren't leaving town and throw a big party full of food, people and fun. You may find yourself coming up with excuses to skip the family dinner next year and stay home with friends!
If you feel like your tight finances prevent you from giving gifts, think again! Use your skills to make, bake or craft gifts for loved ones that will be adored because you put a little of yourself into giving it. If you won't be putting up holiday decorations, consider an interior design make-over for your apartment. Paint a room, sew some new pillows for the couch, or rearrange your furniture for a fresh take on the place you call home.
Make a plan for the New Year, whether it's a trip, learning a new skill or making another exciting goal come to fruition. That way you'll be looking forward to the turn of the calendar rather than dreading a less-than-exciting New Year's Eve. Another way to feel better about your situation is to volunteer to help out the less fortunate, whether it be at soup kitchen, a toy drive or other event. United We Serve is a great way to find volunteer opportunities in your area.
If you plant a smile on your face and reach out to help others, you will instantly lift your mood and the moods of those around you. Helping others releases happy-making endorphins, just as taking a walk will, another simple way to put a spring in your step. Other great ways to perk up your mood include taking a solo trip during the holidays, and sending a letter, making a phone call, or having lunch with an old friend. Finally, if seeing other's (mostly manufactured) happiness during the holidays gets you down, break up with social media until the new year. Don't worry, it will still be there when the calendar rolls over to 2013!
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Securing your apartment is your first line of defense against getting burglarized or worse. Zillow.com helps you make sure your castle is a fortress.
The most important life-saving items you need to have in your apartment are smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide detector. However, they won't do you any good if the batteries aren't working. Be sure to test your detectors when you first move in and to change the batteries when the time changes in the Spring and the Fall.
If your building has a single outer door, call your landlord immediately if the locks don't work. Those outer doors are the first bit of security keeping ne'er-do-wells from entering your apartment. Also, if you have buzzer and a stranger buzzes and asks to be let in, don't do it. Either don't answer the buzzer or go and see who is trying to get in. If you just let anyone in, you are inviting solicitors at the best and criminals at the worse to harass yourself and your neighbors.
If your door doesn't have a deadbolt, ask your landlord to install one that extends into the door frame far enough to keep burglars out and always use it. When someone comes to the door, look through your peep hole to see who it is and if you don't know them, don't open the door. If your peephole has paint on it, scrape it off or put in a maintenance request.
Additionally, if you live on the first floor, be sure all your windows can lock or have grates. Also, never leave your blinds or curtains open when you're away from home, just as you wouldn't leave valuables out in plain sight in your car. Finally, get renter's insurance just in case you are the unfortunate victim of a break-in.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Two more West Nile Virus deaths occurred recently in Travis County, Statesman.com reports, bringing the total for 2012 to 5. Before 2012, there had been two West Nile deaths in Travis county in 2007 and one in 2003.
Both of the newest deaths occurred in people over 50 with other medical conditions, risk factors for West Nile, and occurred October 31st and November 6th. The season for the virus was at its peak at the end of August and the number of cases continue to decrease. In fact, the medical director for Travis County said that people no longer need to use insect repellent when they venture outdoors.
Statewide, we've seen 79 West Nile deaths, not including the two new Travis County deaths. Across the state, there have been 1,754 human cases this year, which is a sharp increase from last year's 27 cases and two deaths. A third of the country's 2012 West Nile deaths were in Texas. Nationally, there have been 5,054 cases and 228 fatalities this year.
Dallas County had the most cases and the most deaths, with 18 deaths and 383 cases.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
San Antonio hoteliers saw an increase in revenue and were able to increase the price for a hotel room because of a strong summer season, My San Antonio.com reports. This was the best summer since the economic downturn and the opening of a bunch of new hotels combined to make the San Antonio hotel industry cut their room rates in 2009.
Demand for rooms in the summer of 2012 increased by an average of 6 percent over last year, according to statistics from the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Simultaneously, occupancy rates increased to 75 percent downtown. the highest since 2006, and 73 percent across San Antonio, the highest since 2008.
Hotel and motel revenues were over $271.3 million for the summer tourist season, an increase of 12 percent over last summer. An increase in government group meetings, a new water park at Sea World San Antonio, and improvements along the river have all attracted tourists who are now adding extra days to their visits.
Downtown hotels are at the highest levels of revenue per available room since 2008. This metric, called REVPAR, examines both room rates and occupancy to show how good a property is at getting its rooms filled and what it can charge for them. The higher the REVPAR, the better the city's hotels are doing. REVPAR was down 21 percent in 2009, but is projected to grow 6 percent this year and 9 percent in 2013.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Choosing the perfect paint color can be a nail-biting experience. Sure, it's only paint, but painting is a lot of work and you don't want to have to re-do it as soon as you're done. With Apartment Therapy's tips on picking the perfect paint, you'll never have to repaint a second time again.
Your first step is to be practical about what colors will work best in your particular space, and a lot of that depends on whether you have a bright room or one that doesn't get much natural light. Generally, white and light colors look the best in a room that's full of light and warmer, darker colors look best in a room that doesn't see much light. But no matter what color you want, you can find a shade of it that fits your space.
Neutrals like beige, taupe and grey aren't as easy to use as you might think. When picking a neutral, you have to pick carefully to make sure it looks good with the undertones of any large pieces in the room, like furniture or the floors. Now that you know generally what to pick, go to the hardware store and grab fistfuls of paint swatches. Pick anything that looks appealing to you and head home to determine what works.
Once you've got the swatches in your room, put them vertically against all the walls and at all points on the wall, near the floor, by the window, next to the couch, etc. Do this in the morning, afternoon and evening to check out what the colors look at all points of the day. Through this process you'll be able to narrow down to your top 2 to 3 choices.
Now that you've got your choices narrowed down, get a small sample can of each and paint swatches at least 10 inches square of all the colors on the walls throughout your room. Over the next couple of days, pay attention to how the colors look throughout the day. Hopefully one of the colors will jump out of you as a favorite and it's time to get to work! If not, go back to the swatch step.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
A clean house might not always be in our reach, but with About.com's tips, you can fake one in just a few minutes. Say a friend calls and says they're going to stop by in a few minutes. Rather than panic or meet her on the front porch, you can take 10 minutes and get your house presentable for company!
First, focus on odor control. Spray an air freshner, especially around the trash areas (for that matter, take out the trash if it stinks!). Turn on a fan or a/c, or open the windows to get the air moving. Another great idea is to put something to bake into the oven. Not only will it make your house smell great, you'll have something to serve your guests!
Clutter is the number one thing that makes a house look messy. So get a receptacle like a laundry basket or grocery bag and start throwing misplaced stuff into it. Don't worry about where the things belong right now. Just keep the basket or bag in a room or closet until your guests go home.
While you're at it, straighten yourself up. A change of clothes, hair brushing and addition of perfume will make you even fresher than your house. Next, focus on the living room, since that's where you'll be receiving your guest most likely. Quickly go across the room from left to right straightening up each surface and getting rid of any missed clutter. Run the vacuum over the main walkway of the floor as well.
In the bathroom, quickly wipe down the surfaces and mirror, remove any misplaced items, change the trash and check for hand soap, a clean hand towel and toilet paper. In the entryway, your guest's "first impression" of your house, remove the clutter, and use a broom or dust buster to clean up.
In the kitchen, put dirty dishes into the dishwasher or at least stack them neatly in the sink. Then wipe down the counters. If you have any time left over, keep doing small things until they arrive, only in the rooms they'll see. You could vacuum floors, dust the ceiling fan, or straighten books and magazines.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
AISD's all-boys school proposal has not been particularly popular with parents, Statesman.com reports. This past Saturday, AISD held a meeting at Crockett High School to discuss one proposal being put forth that would put the school at Covington Middle School.
The school district maintains that AISD is still listening to feedback from parents and community members on where to put the school, if it is established at all. The Moody Foundation has said they will pay as much as $4.6 million for the first five years the school for young men is open.
Most parents weren't sure that there really are benefits to single-gender education and vehemently opposed co-locating the campus at Covington for as much as three years until the boys' school takes over the campus entirely. Instead, parents suggested that AISD look to a philanthropic organization that would be able to raise the $30 million necessary to build a new single-gender school.
AISD has also suggested using a middle school that is under-enrolled or the Alternative Learning Center as possible locations for the school. The ALC was thought to be a less disruptive and good central location for transportation, but some thought that using a campus for disruptive students wouldn't appeal to West Austin parents.
AISD continues to strongly push the concept of a young men's school, nearly denying that the research on the benefit of single-gender schools has been mixed. This led to a lot of skepticism on the part of parents.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
The Alamo will get a letter written by Lt. Col. William Barret Travis, My San Antonio.com reports. It is the famous "victory or death" letter and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission voted 6-1 Wednesday to allow the loan, over objections from the Texas General Land office.
The Texas Land Commission is now responsible for coming up with approximately $100,000 to pay for transportation, security and other costs related to displaying the letter, largely a custom-built shatterproof display case. The Texas Department of Public Safety has promised to be in charge of transporting the letter safely and helping to protect it while it is displayed at the Alamo from February 23rd to March 7th.
The Alamo Rangers, who are in charge of security at the Alamo, have a plan that moves the letter to a secured vault if an emergency comes up. They also will enforce a strict ban on electronic devices because of worries that flash photography could damage the letter. Even iPhones won't be allowed in the Alamo while the letter is on display.
The letter is dated February 24th, 1836, and in it, Travis, the Alamo commander, called on "the people of Texas and all Americans in the world" to come to the aid of Texians in their fight against the Mexican army in the fight for Texan Independence. The letter has been put on display eight times, but never in San Antonio.