Off Campus Housing: ACT and ACT Ally

ACTBanner

Achieving Community Together (ACT)

ACT is a collaborative effort between Texas State University and the City of San Marcos to reduce common sources of conflict in a university town: noise, parking, trash and the upkeep of rental property.

ACT Ally

ACT Ally is a program of ACT in collaboration with the Department of Housing and Residential Life. Through ACT Ally, innovative approaches are used to address quality of life issues for a successful off campus living experience. Resources are available to assist with roommate disputes, landlord disputes, maintenance concerns and leasing issues to help resolve conflicts.

 


 

Are you looking for off-campus housing? ACT Ally is here to help.

ACT Ally connects students to the rental housing industry through Members and Affiliates who promote a healthy living environment plus demonstrate a pattern of fair and equitable business practices in the delivery of affiliated services and products. As a participant in the ACT Ally program, an apartment complex, rental property, product or service provider is included in a select group to help students and parents make more informed decisions when choosing off campus housing. In addition, each year a peace officer performs a crime prevention survey at participating properties checking the quality of doors, locks, windows, plus the lightning and grounds maintenance.

For a list of ACT Ally participants, go to our Members and Affiliates page.


Expand or Collapse all.

What is ACT?

Achieving Community Together (ACT) is a collaborative effort between the City of San Marcos and Texas State University to reduce common sources of conflict in a university town: noise, parking, trash and the upkeep of rental property.

 

ACT is overseen by the ACT Committee, comprised of representatives from the university, city and community.  The Committee includes the Vice President for Student Affairs, Dean of Students, Director of Housing and Residential Life, offices of Off Campus Living, Attorney for Students, Student Health Center, University Police Department, Student Diversity and Inclusion, and Parent and Family Relations.  Representatives also include the City of San Marcos Assistant Chief of Police, Community Liaison, offices of Code Enforcement/Neighborhood Services, the Central Texas Dispute Resolution Center plus members of the Council of Neighborhood Associations and community-at-large.

What is ACT Ally?

ACT Ally is a program of ACT in collaboration with the Department of Housing and Residential Life at Texas State.  Through ACT Ally, innovative approaches are used to address quality of life issues for a successful off campus living experience.  Resources are available to assist with roommate disputes, landlord disputes, maintenance concerns and leasing issues to help resolve conflicts.   

ACT Ally connects students to the rental housing industry through Members and Affiliates who promote a healthy living environment plus demonstrate a pattern of fair and equitable business practices in the delivery of affiliated services and products.  As a participant in ACT Ally, an apartment complex, rental property, product or service provider is included in a select group to help students and parents make more informed decisions when choosing off campus housing.

What are the goals of ACT Ally?

The goals of ACT Ally are to promote a healthy living environment as a good neighbor; demonstrate fair and equitable business practices; improve and enhance the quality of relationships between students, owners/managers and the community; and provide a communication forum among owners/managers, Texas State University and the City of San Marcos.

Who are ACT Ally participants?

Participant categories include Members and Affiliates.  A Member is an operating multi-family community located within the San Marcos city limits.  A newly constructed property is eligible to submit an application to join ACT Ally no sooner than six months from the issuance date of the Temporary Certificate of Occupancy.  An Affiliate is a product or service business that supports the rental housing industry.  Examples are property management, locator services, furniture rental, utility bill management, insurance companies, storage facilities, movers, etc.

How many Members and Affiliates participate in ACT Ally?

In 2015 – 2016 there were thirty-five (35) Members and eight (8) Affiliates.  The Member properties accounted for 17,000+ beds in the San Marcos apartment communities.  The ACT Ally program year runs from June 1 – July 31.  An up-to-date list of Members and Affiliates is on the Members and Affiliates page.

Are ACT Ally participants evaluated for membership?

Yes, there is an annual application and evaluation process for both new and renewing participants.  The criteria includes marketing strategies do not promote excessive alcohol consumption or behavior disruptive to other tenants and neighbors; cooperation in resolving ordinance violations and complaints; compliance with university policy for solicitation on campus; and, no pattern of unresolved complaints of unfair or inequitable business practices. 

 

In addition, each year a certified peace officer conducts a crime prevention survey at Member properties.  The quality of doors, locks, windows plus the lighting and grounds maintenance are checked. 

Does an ACT Ally designation guarantee physical safety and security?

The City of San Marcos and Texas State University can never guarantee that accidents and criminal activity will not occur. Rental owners remain solely responsible for the operation, physical condition, maintenance, safety and security of their properties. Neither the City of San Marcos nor Texas State University guarantee or warrant the safety or security of any properties participating in the program.  Crime prevention surveys are limited in nature.  They do not purport to find every potential hazard or violation and are based upon conditions at the time of inspection.

Does the property have to pass all the survey criteria to be designated an ACT Ally property?

The property must score at least 80% compliance with the annual survey.

Will all apartments in a complex be inspected?

A sampling of apartments for each floor plan will be inspected.  The officer conducting the survey will also evaluate the grounds, talk to tenants and spend time with the on-site manager and/or maintenance staff during survey visits. Although Texas law does not require a property owner to give tenants advance notice before entering a dwelling, we will respect the wishes of any non-consenting tenants to refuse inspections.

Can a Member or Affiliate lose the ACT Ally designation?

Yes.  Participants in the ACT Ally program are viewed as a select group to help students and parents make more informed decisions when choosing off campus housing and services.  A Member or Affiliate may be involuntarily removed if they are found to have significantly violated any expectation, evaluation criteria, or are responsible for an event or situation that brings discredit to the ACT Ally program, Texas State University, and/or the City of San Marcos.

Will students be notified if their off-campus housing loses its ACT Ally designation?

There is no list of students in a specific location and it is not possible to notify students if a property loses its ACT Ally designation.  However, properties would not be able to display the ACT Ally designation on-site or in advertising. And, students can check Texas State and City of San Marcos web sites for an up-to-date list of ACT Ally properties.

Are students encouraged to live only in ACT Ally properties?

Students need to make housing decisions that work best for their particular situations. However, we do encourage them to look at ACT Ally properties first to help them make more informed decisions about off-campus options.

What if my landlord does not want to participate?

We encourage students to use the property survey criteria and the Guide to Living Off Campus to help them make more informed decisions about off-campus living. Guide to Living Off Campus

Will ACT Ally help with maintenance issues such as leaky faucets or air conditioner problems?

Maintenance issues are not a part of the property survey criteria.  For maintenance repairs, submit a request in writing and mail it to the manager.   Online requests, email and phone calls are not sufficient by Texas  law.  If management fails to fix maintenance issues within seven days of receiving written notice, contact the Texas State Attorney for Students at 512-245-2370 for assistance.

What if my apartment has an ACT Ally designation, but my landlord will not fix a health and safety concern?

We will refer any health or safety concern to the City of San Marcos Code Enforcement Office, 512-393-8470.

Do students have any financial or legal recourse if a property loses its ACT Ally designation after they move in, or the property owner/manager will not fix something that is on the list of criteria?

There is no guarantee a complex will maintain its ACT Ally membership.  Texas law does give tenants avenues of recourse in matters of maintenance, health, or safety issues.  Contact the Attorney for Students Office at 512-245-2370.

What if I have a dispute with my roommate or property manager?

Start by having a conversation with your roommate or property manager.  Often times conflict can be resolved just by talking.  If the dispute cannot be settled, contact the Attorney for Students Office or the Central Texas Dispute Resolution Center (CTRC).  There is no charge to resolve a dispute referred to the CTRC from ACT Ally.

Where can I find out about local housing ordinances and codes?

The City of San Marcos Neighborhood Services maintains a site with information of local ordinances and codes related to off-campus housing.


ACT Events