Low-Rent Apartment Complexes are Hot!

Fire at Compton Courts Apartments, 419 Richey Rd., Pasadena, Texas, April 11, 2008Reflecting on the recent attention drawn to State Rep. Hubert Vo‘s tenement-quality apartment complexes — as well as three more local value-priced apartment structures that burst into flames over the last few days — local blogger Slampo says the quintessential Houston residence is finally getting the attention it deserves:

We’ve long contended—in barrooms, on Metro buses, while walking our dog late at night—that the signature Houston residence is not the River Oaks mansion or the Heights cottage or the Westbury suburban rambler or the Randall Davis “loft” apartment or the Pulte Home in the Outer East Jesus Subdivision (we just love the ones with paddle boats on the man-made “lakes”) but rather the one- or two-bedroom unit in a two-story complex, usually but not always situated outside The Loop, that was constructed anytime from the late 1960s through mid-’80s and whose population typically has gone through one or more pronounced demographic shifts: say, from all-white to mixed to mostly black to predominantly Hispanic . . .

Slampo also makes note that Houston Chronicle readers online have taken up reporter Matt Stiles’s suggestion to identify similar “problem properties” around town:

The finely detailed and descriptive comments affixed to Stiles’ posting confirm that there’s nothing like the topic of “crappy apartments” to arouse the local populace. You don’t have to be a really perceptive sort to see that many of the bright-line social divisions in Houston—over crime, schools, “changing” neighborhoods—neatly align with the divide between apartment renters and owners of single-family homes and townhouses (and while race and/or ethnicity is a factor in these divisions, class is the underpinning). This is partly due to the proximity of subdivisions to sprawling complexes, a phenomenon that we assume is somehow linked to the city’s lack of zoning (but one that, come to think of it, we’ve noticed in other, newer-type Sunbelt cities). But mostly it’s because landlords allow these places to go down the toilet and become magnets for crime and gangs.

After the jump, that list of low-cost apartments Chronicle readers have come up with. And some of them still have vacancies!


Here’s a condensed version:

Photo of Compton Courts Apartments, 419 Richey St., Pasadena: Pasadena Citizen

3 Comment

  • Heh. Sadly, no, the Skylane Apartments at I-10 and Beltway 8 are still standing, although I can’t understand why. They’ve been a rathole since I was a little girl, and that was 20 years ago. 20 years!!!

    These are all fair — almost too fair — assessments. Especially when it comes to the crap lining Briar Forest. That used to be a nice part of town, but as soon as the apartments go up…everything else goes downhill. Such a shame.

  • All I am saying when you have abusive lying cheating managers who lock people out of apartment complexes then you have not choice but to live in complexes like skylane, no matter how much we have complained skylane has helped those who needed it at the time it was needed. I stayed in skylane years ago and never experienced any thing talking about. Don’t get me wrong things change over time however the problem is not skylane apartments its these damm managers who take your deposit on a 495 dollar a month apartment, you make arrangments to move into that apartment you go sign your lease and at that time they tell you they don’t have your apartment ready a whole week goes by no call nothing while your confident every thing is ok, full time student and work full time, not one phone call from them, your forced to take a apartment you can’t afford or be homeless then your humiliated every month from not being able to afford it in the first place when they set you up all bills paid you get a extra bill in the mail over one hundred dollars saying this amount it due while now your 495 apt. is now over 1000 dollars a month. This is bull crap, if apartment managers are allowed to keep getting away with this and abuse of their authority acting like black codes and jim crow laws still exist, treating people as if they have not rights sending their names to black lists and the hard working people end up suffering to their abuse and miss treatment. I don’t blame skylane apartments for being a stepping stone away from any one being homless,I blame our system who keeps allowing this other behavior which hurts our community, hard working people like my self and making us homeless. I am a single woman I have had to fight men off of me married mostly and I had to tell a married man in a not so friendly letter to stay the hell away from me I was a good neighbor to him and every one else, every chance he got he took a sexual pot shot at me I got damm sick of it, my manager called me to her office made me cry because I told her was harrasing me after he showed her the letter he played like the victem. She said call the police, what am I doing to say, my nighbor likes me so he harrasses me,bull crap I cussed him out, as a woman she could have at lest understood no she humiliated me.Then told me never to come into her office saying God bless, all because I told that snagga tooth man to stay the hell away from me. Then one day I was sleep at home had a day off from working and school they came to put a notice in my home harrassing me always coming into my house abusing that right, I was there asked the man to place it on my door I wasn’t dress he told me I don’t care open this door you better put something on, all becasue they placed my personal information on another persons door and I was embarrassed and told them please make sure that doesn’t happen, I have never cussed them any thing, maybe I should have, I was shocked I told him leave it on the door I am home I will get the notice later. I mean I had to leave after this. Broadway Square aparts did this to me. I will not pay to live like that ever and the law says I have a right to protect my self and me cussing that man out in a letter telling him to stay away and back off is not so bad in my eyes when when he was sexually harrassing me every chance he got.It wasn’t her job to step in the middle of his crap., She called me horrible names I left her office in tears yelled at me humiliated me in front of her staff to throw her weight around. I could have just went off, it was better for me to move I have resentments behind that whole experience I still pray God keeps helping me get over that situation however, today I am homeless I moved I would have rather been homeless than to suffer mental and emotional abuse by managers who preyed on me in the first place, and skylane does not seem so bad…Its not only Skylane that has issues, its the system, its flawed. This is my side of the story and I will tell my side..

  • If it is any consolation some of the managers of the complexes with the $1,495 one-bedrooms aren’t much better than the managers of the complexes with the $495 one-bedrooms. And they do the same nasty things and get the same cheap thrill out of refusing rent and then filing for eviction for non-payment of rent, although some will be bold and file for “lease violations” and claim you’re a prostitute or a drug dealer, and lying to judges and hoping the person ends up homeless after they ruin their credit.

    It would be nice if tenants had an advocacy organization to go to bat for them. They don’t.

    Of course if you buy a condo or a home that has an HOA then you have the management companies who run everything for the HOA. They aren’t much better either. Miss a maintenance fee payment and they tell you not to worry about it and then a month later send you a bill for the fee plus late fees plus fines plus of course attorney’s fees and then they foreclose on you.

    You can thank the Texas Legislature for it all. They write the codes that are supposed to protect everyone. But of course they often put little loopholes so the attorneys, often themselves, can continue the rip-offs.

    Sorry you’re homeless. There’s always Skylane. Of course they rip you off on the “all bills paid” as well. In violation of state law. Not that anyone cares. No one does.