Apartment Complex Goes to War Over Dented Chevy
One of the worst things about being an adult is that you’re constantly inundated with legal agreements you don’t have time to read. But you’d best read them all the way down to the fine print because, as every old crank knows, “that’s where they get you.”
A sterling example of this phenomenon cropped up in Texas this week, where a man is at risk of being thrown out of his apartment complex if he doesn’t fix the dent on his first-generation Chevrolet Traverse. While the complex doesn’t have a policy around owning a battered automobile, it does have one about them occupying the property — and management is swift to enforce it (through towing) if owners don’t fix them. That’s a problem, as the man with the dented Chevy, one Sontlux Sukhavachana, says he can’t afford to take it into a body shop and can’t make rent without a car.
The dent itself is indeed unsightly, though relatively modest in its overall scope. It looks as though someone had a serious parking mishap or sideswiped a concrete barricade. More ugly than debilitating, but it’s unsightly enough for the Ohio-based Fath Properties, which owns the Biltmore Apartments in Dallas where Sukhavachana lives, to want it taken off the premises.
“I got this notice on my car saying that they were gonna tow my car tomorrow,” Sukhavachana told CBS 11 (Dallas-Fort Worth) on Wednesday, before adding that Fath is “expecting tenants who barely have enough money to make ends meet to invest money in cosmetic damages.”
Despite receiving an extension in December, Sukhavachana said he still won’t have enough saved for repairs by the new deadline of January 4th. According to CBS 11, the vehicle image rubric has caused problems in the past. One renter claimed his car was towed over chipped paint, while another resident said his car was towed because his car was painted “two different colors.”
Fath Properties, which owns more than 30 complexes across the country, said its vehicle condition agreement is applied universally. It’s even outlined on its corporate website in “ A Word From The Owner.”
From the website:
One of our unique policies is the Vehicle Condition Agreement that is part of our Rental Criteria and an Addendum to the Lease Agreement. Amazingly it came from our applicants consistently telling us the first thing they looked at were the cars in the parking lot. If the cars were disabled, heavily dented, rusted, unsightly, they assumed the property was poorly operated and their neighbors would be unacceptable. We understand that your automobile is a personal item and as such is your right to drive whatever you want, however from our research, this is something most good customers requested and we do have the right to provide.
If you truly want a clean, quiet, well-maintained place to live and will abide by the rules, I believe we are your best option. If you do not care and do not wish to follow the rules, then you will not be happy living with us.
While we can bemoan the lack of choice and freedoms caused by corporate interests and curse how things keep getting worse all the time, Fath appears to be well within its legal rights. That does not, however, make the practice anything less than a dick move.
It also doesn’t appear to be helping their appeal. CBS noted that the Biltmore Apartments has accumulated lackluster online reviews. After looking for ourselves, we were confronted with dozens of negative reviews pleading with potential residents to look elsewhere — often written in all caps. Complaints included everything from bug infestations to burst water pipes. While there were some positive assessments, even most of those cited a not-so-mild annoyance the renter had to contend with early on.
“While it might not be illegal, it doesn’t mean that it’s not outrageous,” said Sandy Rollins, the executive director of the Texas Tenants’ Union. “They seem to hold tenants to a much higher standard than they hold themselves.” Rollins said she was already aware of Fath because her non-profit received complaints about the company ranging from towing to poor maintenance.
Fath declined an interview request, instead pointing to its website and renters agreement to show it had done nothing illegal. Perhaps not, but we wonder how others feel about the practice — and whether they’re subject to similar mandates from their own apartment complex or local homeowner association. Should this dude just fix his damn car by any means necessary, adhering to the agreed-upon rules, or is management being wholly unreasonable?
[Images: CBS 11]
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Individuals failing to maintain their own possessions won't respect others possessions.
They should have told him they were kicking him out for his hairstyle.