Sunday, December 23, 2012

Repair Rights

Your right to repairs by your landlord does not authorize you to withhold rent.  There are also several other rules governing your right to have repairs done on broken items in your apartment, as well as rules for what remedies you can seek if your landlord does not make necessary repairs.  The Austin Tenant's Council lays out these guidelines.
Repairs are categorized as either ones that threaten your health or safety or ones that do not.  If your dishwasher or garbage disposal doesn't work, then it is not a health/safety threatening repair.  Texas law requires that your landlord: provides an apartment that is decent, safe and sanitary, repairs items threatening your health or safety, provides hot water heated to a minimum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit, provides working smoke detectors, and provides locking doors and windows, including a keyless bolting device.  
In addition, Austin Housing Code requires heat that can maintain at least a room temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, hot water supplied to plumbing fixtures at a temperature of at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit, and a kitchen sink, a shower or bathtub, a toilet and hot and cold water.
If any of these requirements are not met, you can request repairs, but you may not withhold rent.  If you don't pay rent, you can be kicked out of your apartment and give up the right to have repairs made until you pay rent.  
If your landlord doesn't get back to you when you make requests by phone or verbally, send a letter by certified or registered mail with the date, tenant's name and address, repair problem description, declaration that the broken item is a threat to health or safety, a request that repairs be made in a reasonable time period (a week for non-emergency repairs, 24 hours for emergencies), ask for a written answer if work can't be completed by the deadline, and a signature.  If no repairs are made by the deadline, you can file suit in court against your landlord.  
Hopefully, at this point your landlord will begin repairing your problem.  But if they don't, The Austin Tenant's Council outlines further steps you can take, such as terminating your lease and moving out.

Monday, December 10, 2012

West Lake and Homeowner Square Off Over Tree Removal

West Lake Hills is in a legal fight with the owner of C3 Presents over scores of trees he cut down along his property line.  The city requires permits for any trees that are cut down in its city limits, whether they are living or dead, and is debating over inforcing legal action and heavy fines on Charles Attal, the homeowner, reports.
Attal says that the juniper trees were dead and he had them removed because he was worried about wildfire danger.  However, the city says he has to replace the trees with new ones or pay fines of as much as $2,000 per tree.  They also maintain that they have proof that many of the trees were not dead and have said they will sue if Attal does not comply.
Attal says that West Lake's figure of 338 inches total in diameter of the trees is incorrect and he only wants to replace 200 diameter inches.  He says that replacing what the city wants would cost over $100,000 and that there's a chance he'd have to get rid of $40,000 of new landscaping and trees to follow the order.  
The city said their number was drawn from the number of stumps on the property and the West Lake Hills City Council will make their decision on what action to pursue at their meeting Wednesday evening.
Looking for a great apartment surrounded by lots of trees?  Apartment Experts South can help!

Austin Best Cheap City to Visit

View this article on Austin Apartment Specialists' Slideshare account

 Food and Wine magazine named Austin one of its best cheap cities to visit.  Check out why our weird city is increasingly getting a reputation as a real foodie destination.
Food and Wine magazine was a real fan of First Thursdays on South Congress.  This monthly extravaganza was praised for its plethora of drink and food specials courtesy of the restaurants lining SoCo.  They also gave a special shout-out to our infamous food trailers for their culinary marvels that are at once well-priced and unique.  Peached Tortilla was a favorite for its worldly tacos and tasty creative sliders that marry Southern and Asian flavors.
24 Diner, located at Lamar and 6th Street, just across the street from the Whole Foods World Headquarters, was home to one of Food and Wine's top rated grilled cheese sandwiches.  Andrew Curran, chef at 24 Diner and a contestant on last season's Top Chef Texas, goes for a sophisticated approach to this old favorite, with sourdough bread, cheddar and Fontina cheeses, and roasted tomato.  
Franklin Barbecue, on 11th Street just one block east of 35, gets yet another best barbecue nod for its brisket plate.  The editors were not deterred by the line at the establishment, which often lasts for two hours or more.  Finally, Curra's Grill gets a recommendation for Mexican food.  Food and Wine mag loved this East Oltorf gem for its plethora of tasty tacos, including the al pastor.
After you sink into a food-induced coma, Food and Wine touts the Hotel San Jose on South Congress as the place to lay your head.
Did you come for the cheap eats and stay for the fantastic living?  Apartment Specialists can help you find the perfect apartment to start your Austin life in.