Apartment Owners Who Fail To Register Properties Face Fines

May 10, 2007 - Apartment owners and managers who fail to register their properties with the Houston Police Department face fines under a new security ordinance implemented by Houston City Council.

In November 2006, Houston City Council passed the “Apartment Security Ordinance,” requiring apartment communities located within the city limits to register their properties with the Houston Police Department by March 8, 2007. The ordinance applies to properties with 10 or more units and excludes privately owned condominiums. The HPD apartment registry will allow Houston police officers to analyze crime data and identify those properties with the highest per capita UCR Part 1 and Part 2 criminal activity. The ordinance will require owners of apartment communities that fall under that category to submit to a mandatory inspection by police personnel. Specially trained officers then help apartment owners develop a custom-tailored action plan to implement strategies proven to deter crime in apartment communities. The City will issue fines of $500 to $2,000 per day to apartment owners who fail to register or implement security recommendations.

Crime prevention strategies to be implemented in identified communities include but are not limited to:

Management and business practices such as screening, eviction procedures, and trespass prevention.
Security strategies such as security guards, off-duty police officers, lighting, fencing, gates, and landscaping with Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED).
Education of apartment managers and residents.
Resident involvement programs.

According to Sergeant Jim Babb, of the Multifamily Administrative Unit, “This is intended to be a cooperative effort between police, residents and apartment owners/managers to address crime and to improve the quality of life for residents living in multifamily communities.” Sergeant Babb adds, “Being a new process to all involved, we have not been in an enforcement mode. Rather, with the assistance of the Houston Apartment Association, we are trying to get the word out about the ordinance.” The enforcement phase of the ordinance should begin in late May.

Apartment owners and managers may register their properties by going to www.houstontx.gov/police/apartment_registration_form.htm or call the HPD Multi-Family Administrative Unit at 713-308-3900.

VHS/JGA 5-10-07

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.