In Dallas, You Need to Make $29,000 Per Year to Afford a Decent Apartment

Categories: Housing

Dustin Gilbert
Look hard enough and you should be find a quality place like this for $722 per month.
The Washington Post's Wonk Blog yesterday published a county-by-county map of what a worker needs to make to afford a decent one-bedroom apartment.

In Dallas (and Collin, and Denton County) the figure is $13.88 per hour, assuming 40-hour weeks and a full 52 weeks of pay. Annually, that comes out to about $29,000 per year.

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Troubled Patriot's Crossing Development "Back at Ground Zero" After HUD Denies Funding

Categories: Housing

On paper, Patriot's Crossing is still going to be a pleasant, 162-unit development on Lancaster Road offering military veterans affordable housing with easy access to the VA Medical Center. The problem -- one of them, anyway -- is that the generously subsidized project is can't seem to make the jump into physical being.

The latest in the ongoing saga, which has already raised plenty of concerns about city housing policy (a $4.5 million "forgivable" loan?), is that developer Yigal Lelah can't get HUD to provide the loan he needs to finance the project.

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Dallas Is Sitting On Hundreds of Tax-Foreclosed Properties, Almost All in Southern Dallas

Categories: City Hall, Housing

City of Dallas
The city's stock of tax-foreclosed properties is clustered heavily in neighborhoods in South and West Dallas and Oak Cliff. See the end of the post for the entire map.
It used to be that, four or five times a year, Dallas would have an auction and sell its tax-foreclosed properties to the highest bidder. The last one happened on June 13, 2013, two weeks before the City Council complained that the houses were falling into the hands of slum lords and shady boarding-home operators.

Since then, Dallas has been sitting on the properties it owns -- about 400 parcels in all -- while it figures out a way to keep them from dragging down surrounding neighborhoods. And by "surrounding neighborhoods," we mean West Dallas, South Dallas and Oak Cliff, which, with a few exceptions, is where the tax-foreclosed properties sit.

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Arlington Puts Hippie Garden on Trial for Tall Grass, Shows Jurors a Picture of Poop

Mark Graham
GoE's Quinn Eaker. He was kicked out of the courtroom for using his cell phone.
It turns out that Arlington, of all places, is home to a sustainable garden/hippie residence called the Garden of Eden. Naturally, Arlington does not approve.

Suspecting that the hippies were growing weed, officials first sent a manned aircraft over the Garden of Eden last year. Undercover officers paid a visit in person. It all hit the fan in August, when a SWAT team stormed the place looking for drugs.

The SWAT team didn't find a single bud. So instead, a bunch of city code enforcement officers showed up later that day. They cited the residents for having tall grass and storing inside furniture outside, among other violations. Code enforcement also mowed the lawn.

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Dallas Has Been Openly Funneling Affordable Housing Money Out of Downtown for Years

Categories: City Hall, Housing

Enjoy the view of downtown all you want, poor people. Just don't defile it with your presence.
HUD spent four years building its recently unveiled case against the city of Dallas, compiling statistics and gathering evidence to show that for years the city been illegally promoting residential housing segregation.

Evidence that the city was steering affordable housing outside of downtown, the claim that formed the seed of HUD's investigation, was right out in the open all along.

Dallas' City Center TIF, a redevelopment zone that encompasses most of downtown, has a $5 million pot of money earmarked for affordable housing. The condition? It had to be used outside the TIF district.

Karl Zavitkovsky, the director of the city's Office of Economic Development, offered a brief explanation.

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Texas Landlords Will Forced To Be Slightly Less Abusive in 2014

Categories: Housing

Amy Silverstein
Don't miss this tempting offer from an apartment where all of the tenants were recently forced out in a mass-eviction.
Greedy slumlords have a lot of leeway in Texas to stomp on renters as they please. But starting Wednesday, that will change -- slightly. Under new legislation that went into effect yesterday, landlords are no longer allowed to hide your own lease from you or retaliate against you. Landlords, we think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Anyone who knows anything about contract law might be surprised to learn that hiding a lease from the very same renter who signed that lease is, in fact, a thing.

But there was never anything in the Texas Property Code that explicitly banned hiding the rental agreement. So, naturally, certain landlords saw an opening there and just went for it.

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On White Rock Lake, An Architect is Building a House Out of Shipping Containers

When Google's Street View car rolled by 422 Peavy Road in late 2011, it captured a spacious but ordinary four-bedroom, ranch-style home that was all but indistinguishable from its neighbors.

No more. The structure that's being erected in its place is a strikingly modern, 3,700-square-foot box whose third-story penthouse will afford sweeping views of White Rock Lake. It also happens to be made of shipping containers.

Candy's Dirt first caught wind of the plans back in May. Contacted by Unfair Park at the time, the builder acknowledged the project but declined to give details.

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At This Dallas Apartment Complex, the Rent's Cheap but Your Car Better Not Be

Categories: Housing

Stephan Ridgway
Do not even think about getting near any Fath Properties with that thing.
Renting a place at the Cambridge Apartment Homes in Dallas won't put too big of a dent in your bank account--the complex, on Northwest Highway just off of Greenville Avenue, advertises studios for as little as $515 a month. But you might not know it from the parking lot. That's because the apartment's parent company, Fath Properties, has an unusual policy: No beat-up or otherwise unsightly cars allowed.

The management company, which owns 10 properties across Texas, explains right on its website:

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Longhorn Wrecker Illegally Towed a Car, Called the Owner the Night Before Court, and Still Lost

Categories: Housing

Greg Houston
Chris Stoffers regularly sees tow trucks from Longhorn Wrecker trolling the parking lot of his apartment complex, the Pecan Tree Apartments at 3012 Storey Lane. On August 19, they came for his.

He paid $168 to retrieve his car and then forked over an additional $26 for something called a "tow hearing" -- a trial that gives tow victims a chance to win their money back, if they can prove that the tow was illegal. His trial was scheduled for September 13, last Friday. The night before, he got a strange phone call.

See also: The Kings of the Apartment Lot Tow

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A Dallas Couple's 75,000-Pound Treehouse Is Going to Be on TV

Categories: Housing, Media

Animal Planet
Jimmy and Sandy Martin live in a 4,000-square-foot McMansion off Inwood Road in Bluffview. Architecturally, it's completely unremarkable. The home they recently built in Central Texas, on the other hand, is much more interesting: It's a 75,000-pound treehouse.

The structure, perched on an isolated clump of trees on their ranch outside Waco, is the subject of tomorrow's debut episode of Animal Planet's Treehouse Masters. The show follows Pete Nelson and his "family of traveling treehouse builders" as they criss-cross the country, building ridiculously ornate treehouses.

"The energy that a tree emits is undeniable," Nelson tells the camera in a preview for the show. "It's the kind of energy where the small hairs start to stand up a little bit, and I know that trees are beings, and they've got something to give us as we have something to give them."

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