HOUSTON -- An apartment complex in northwest Houston is fining parents if their children are caught playing outside on the property. Management at the Aspenwood Apartments says it is for the kids’ own good.
Parents say they are being fined $25 for their kids being outdoors, and in some cases, double that amount.
Rachel Lundy, who is a mother of an 8-year-old and an infant, doesn’t think it’s fair.
“Why can’t a kid go out and be a kid,” asked Rachel Lundy. “Two years now we’ve been here, you guys haven’t had an issue. What’s happening now?”
Rachel’s 8-year-old son, Austin, says someone who works at the front office handed him a ticket.
“She gave me the ticket, and it said, pay $25 dollars in seven days,” said Austin Lundy. “It said no kids playing outside, no bicycle riding, no soccer playing, and no jogging.”
He isn’t the only kid on the property who has been fined.
The parents of Etzel and Ashley Aviles are dealing with a $50 dollar fine.
“I said do not play outside because it’s going to be $50 bucks, and my mom doesn’t want to pay that,” said Ashley Aviles.
The property manager says the complex is trying to protect the children that live there.
“I physically seen a child hit by a truck. That’s our main concern, not anything else. I have three kids and live on the property,” said property manager Rosa Lopez.
Lopez pointed out the lease that residents sign. It clearly states that the property “is not a playground” and suggests that parents take their kids to a nearby park.
“When there’s one kid, there’s two. By the time you know it, there’s 30 outside,” explained Lopez. “We’re a small property. We’re only six acres. When kids run around, they are coming out of nowhere.”
Schwartz Park is in walking distance from the Aspenwood Apartments. There’s one problem: the playground is currently blocked off for construction.
Rachel Lundy says she’s so frustrated by the whole thing, she plans to move somewhere else.
“It’s a bunch of boloney. Kids are supposed to play outside. Kids have so much energy to burn off,” she said. “I’d rather him be outside getting exercise and being fit than being stuck inside watching TV and playing video games.”
Property manager Rosa Lopez says the complex has only collected fines from three people so far. She says the complex mainly wants to send a strong message to parents to watch their kids.
KHOU’s legal analyst says the decision to enforce this is perfectly legal as long as it’s included in the lease.