Toxic, Polluted, Crowded, Boring & Expensive
Moving to Dallas TX was the worst mistake of my life. If I could give zero or negative stars I would. This review is from August 2019. Housing costs have skyrocketed in the 10 years since I moved here, so don’t rely on old reviews that talk about the “great cost of living” as that is now a thing of the past.
There so much bad I don’t know where to begin. I’ll start with what was the worst for me in particular.
Greedy slumlords everywhere. If you can afford a new house in a nice gated area you will have a better experience. From my experience and from reading reviews online, all Dallas apartments are run by slumlords. Even the newer ones. No oversight or regulations for the owners and no protections for the tenants. Thousands of new apartments are everywhere but they are overpriced at about $1500+ for a one bedroom, $1300+ for a 400sf studio, and they’re very cheaply built with breaking appliances, paper thin walls, fire alarms constantly going off for hours on a weekly basis, etc. The rental costs are completely out of line with the wages here which are low. From the looks of the newer apartments at night (no lights on) ¾ of them sit empty because no one in Dallas makes enough money to afford the ridiculous rent prices and they won’t budge on the prices. I’ve read that the empty apartments are tax write offs for the owners so they would rather let them sit empty than lower the prices so the people here in the market for an apartment can actually afford one. Who wants to spend over half their income on rent alone?
Even worse with the older apartments. Texas is the toxic mold capital of the US – search it online “which states have the most toxic mold”, and Texas is number one on every list. Older apartments that were mostly built in the 1980s can be had for about $950 (for the very smallest) and up, however nothing is fixed in the apartments properly (again, slumlords with zero regulations). Especially problematic are leaking AC systems which are rigged up incorrectly when they have leaking problems and then they develop toxic black mold in the inside part of the AC systems and in the ducts which are never cleaned. NEVER. And AC is required here for basic survival. But the real problem is rigging them up (by minimum wage maintenance guys with no AC experience) and not fixing them properly. I broke leases on 4 older apartments in a row due to becoming sick from toxic mold in the AC systems – which you can’t see when you move in until after a day or two later when you get sick. They look OK to the unsuspecting eye. The apartments are painted up nice and pretty, look clean and nice cosmetically and can be in nice areas, but they’re full of toxic mold in the AC systems. And the apartment managers will deny deny deny and won’t let you out of the lease unless you pay $500+ for mold experts to test the apartment and provide proof – you must hire these on your own, then you still won’t get your already paid money back, but may get out of paying thousands more to get out of your lease. I’ve lived in several other states before Texas and NEVER had a problem with toxic mold anywhere else, but it’s pervasive here and you cannot escape it unless you own your own house.
I suspect most people get sick and lose their health or even die before they figure out that it’s from the mold in the AC systems. Fortunately a co-worker of mine clued me in on this when I started mysteriously losing my health and I discovered it was toxic mold before I was dead. It did cause me serious health issues, a surgery and other health problems, some still lasting to this day. No one was ever held accountable and the slumlords literally get away with murder, and couldn’t care less.
60 day notice to move out of apartments. All apartments here require a 60 day notice to move out, even if you’re month to month - which costs hundreds of dollars a month more after you complete the first year lease, as an option. So basically you are forced to give your move out notice at least a month before you start looking for new apartment, or find a place and pay two rents for a month or two. Nobody will hold an apartment for you more than a week or two at the most so it leaves you in a bind, and ripped off again. Every apartment I lived in here, several, all required a 60 day notice to move out.
If you move here you better be able to afford $300,000+ for a decent house, something not condemned or in a ghetto and full of toxic mold. Half of Dallas seems to be dangerous ghettos. Almost all of the older houses have major foundation problems too, so good luck with that. Something about the ground here causes foundation problems.
Which leads me to property taxes. If you do buy a house expect to pay ridiculously high property taxes. For that 2 to 3 hundred thousand dollar house you can expect to pay an extra $6000 to $10,000 per year in property taxes. Good luck with that.
Horrible climate. Summers are like living in a polluted oven where AC is required for life itself – and good luck finding an apartment without toxic mold in the AC system. You can always pay $1500 for a new tiny 1-bedroom “glorified broom closet” but reading apartment reviews tells me that even some of the new ones already have toxic mold issues. From mid June to mid September you will be living in a toxic polluted oven. Dangerous ozone days almost daily. Relentless heat day in and day out, with July and August being the worst. Winter can do anything with some years getting iced up roads and snow repeatedly, and other years no snow or ice. Spring brings the storms and hail. Fall lasts about 2 weeks usually, and it goes from too hot to too cold.
HAIL. Every spring there’s hail storms and tornadoes, mostly hail storms that can blow through with no warning at all. My first car was totalled from a hail storm, including all the windows and moon roof being smashed out from hail. My current car has hail dings all over it. If you can’t afford a house with a garage, expect hail damage on your car, all over it. My second car was actually parked under covered parking and I watched as huge hail bounced up from the ground into the hood and front fenders of my car. That’s right, your car won’t even be safe under covered parking – the hail bounces from the ground and still dents your car. You must have a garage to live here, and garage parking at work if you don’t want hail damage. Even then there’s still a chance it will get you while you’re out driving. The last straw was when I read an article in the Dallas news gushing and happy about all the hail damage people suffered as it’s “good for the economy”, and hail repairers, house window repairers and roofers replacing hail damaged roofs will make lots of money from the hail, and stimulate the economy!
Pollution. All over Dallas it smells like you’re breathing gasoline, oil and car exhaust. All the time. Everywhere. You better have some good air purifiers in your house or apartment and keep it closed up.
The roads. Potholes and bumps everywhere. These are the worst roads I’ve ever had to deal with. Even the “good” roads are full of bumps that slam your car constantly. The roads are laid in sections like a sidewalk, with cracks going across the road every 6 or 10 feet where the sections were laid. The problem is they are laid unevenly with huge 1” drop downs and bump ups (slam ups more like it) from section to section. And the “bad” roads are so full of potholes it’s not even funny. They’re also full of huge bumps where concrete was dumped into potholes but they didn’t bother to smooth it out. So your car will need new struts, shocks, motor mounts and other suspension parts in no time, and these are not cheap repairs. After spending thousands to repair my car from the bad roads (struts and motor mounts+), I’m now trying to avoid driving anywhere unless I have to, until I can get out of here for good.
In addition to the masses of potholes and bumps called “roads” here, there’s railroad tracks crossing the roads all over the city from far north to far south. About half of them aren’t too bad to moderately bad and the other half are horrible with huge dips and bumps that will destroy your car after a few times going over it, if you don’t slow down to almost a stop going over them. On top of the railroad tracks, potholes and bumps are a bunch of idiot drivers that fly over the bumps and potholes at 40 or 50 MPH, and will get mad at you if you slow down for them and they are behind you. You might get shot for slowing down to avoid tearing up your car.
Traffic. Traffic is just about at Los Angeles levels now in 2019. I lived in LA years ago so I know. Now in 2019 traffic at 10 PM on any given night is equal to how rush hour was in 2009 when I first arrived in Dallas. At anytime you are likely to run into a traffic jam on the freeways. And people still keep moving here for the “great cost of living and jobs”, poor souls have no idea what they’re in for. Tailgaters are everywhere. I constantly have tailgaters behind me, and I drive 5 miles over the speed limit. About 25 percent of the drivers in Dallas drive at night with their bright lights on all the time. Large pickup trucks tend to do this too as well as cars. It’s bad enough with the cars but with the huge jacked up pickup trucks it’s even worse if you drive a normal car. Huge 4-wheel drive jacked up trucks will tailgate you with their brights on. So their lights are already at the level of your rear window then they have their brights on so massive bright light is flooding the inside of your car from the tailgating pickups using their brights. If it’s not a truck or car an SUV is doing the same thing. Road rage is very common here.
The tolls: Highway robbery literally. If you live in the northern Dallas area, the “better” area, you have to pay tolls to drive on the freeways. Most of the freeways on the northern half of Dallas are toll roads. If you don’t pay for their “toll tag” and instead use “zip cash” based on your tag, then it will cost you approximately 25 cents per mile to drive on the freeway, I calculated it once on the “George Bush Toll” freeway. It’s slightly less if you pay the “toll tag” extortion fee to use the the freeways. Someone is making millions of dollars a day on this while the people get ripped off just to use the freeway. The toll freeways are generally in better condition than the potholed side roads, and I have finally given in and pay the extortion fee tolls to use the freeways to avoid tearing up my car on all the “bumps and holes” filled side roads.
Crooked mechanics. I’ve never dealt with so many dishonest crooked mechanics in my life. The big thing here is sabotaging your cars AC and then charging thousands to fix it, or other mechanics will lie and try to charge you thousands after another one has sabotaged it. It’s happened to me more than once and I have proof there was nothing wrong but valves loosened so the coolant leaked out or various other tricks. They know you will pay, or die from the heat. It took me 10 years of misery to finally find a shop I can trust, so they do exist but it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. Good with that if you drive a car not under warranty.
The icing on the cake: One time my older car (had two at the time) was towed by the city of Dallas even though it was parked perfectly legal outside of my apartment on the street. On the city of Dallas towing report they actually lied about where the car was parked, and said it was on a different street than where it was towed from, a couple streets over from where it was actually parked. When I picked up my car from the towing yard they make you wait about 6 hours to get it at the place, it’s a huge joke, very crowded with thousands of people trying to get their towed cars. Pick a number and wait for hours to get your car. Then when I got my car back it had a huge dent in a rear fender and a broken windshield. I am not kidding. Of course they denied damaging my car. I almost filed a claim but finally gave up and ate the cost myself.
Employment. I can’t speak for all jobs but I can speak from my own experience. UNBELIEVABLE! Extreme favoritism at work. If you’re not a “Texas boy” (born and raised here), expect to be discriminated against just for being an “outsider”. I also dealt with sociopath co-workers that lie, smear campaign and sabotage anyone that is smarter, more skilled or better at the job than they are. And some of these people were actually protected by management and kept on as “favorites” of management even after being exposed. This is not an exaggeration. I can only assume that management are a bunch of sociopaths too. Also I was actually lied to about my starting pay, went 7 years without a raise in spite of the fact that I ran circles around everyone else there in skills, knowledge, work ethic etc. Most of the other employees also went 7 years without a raise, but not the “favorites” who were also the worst ones there performance-wise.
Boring. Nothing to do. The most boring place I've ever lived. Horrible place if you like outdoor activities. There are none other than White Rock Lake and the weather is horrible for any outdoor activities, and the air extremely polluted. Oh by the way “NO SWIMMING IS ALLOWED” in White Rock Lake – IT’S TOO POLLUTED!!! This is the truth. Most of the people here are either pretentious snobs ($30,000 millionaires), fake judgemental religious Christians, or toothless illiterate rednecks. There doesn’t seem to be much in-between these extremes. A lot of meth heads too. Maybe with all the newcomers there might be better people here? Hopefully. Don’t expect to have any friends here unless you’re just like them. The only things to do here is shop, eat at restaurants or go to the Indian casinos in Oklahoma and literally throw money away on the rigged slots. There are a lot of stores and chain restaurants here.
Racism is alive and flourishing in Dallas. Every race seems to hate everyone else but their own race. It’s not just whites either. The blacks hate the whites, the whites hate the blacks, the Mexicans hate the blacks and whites. Of course there are exceptions to this, but this is the general vibe here. Expect to be treated badly by service people in the stores on a daily basis if their race isn’t the same as yours.
Suffocating oppressive extreme right wing politics from the majority of the people too, although I am generally not into politics. If you're an extreme right winger christian with lots of money you may "fit in" and like Dallas, but there's still the rest to deal with.
I guess if you have a lot of money to throw away on property taxes and an expensive house, and live in a nice new house in a protected gated community you may like it OK here. But if you are making less than about $100,000 annually you’ll be hurting financially and be in a bad living situation (see my apartments comments). As soon as I think I’m done here I keep thinking of more things to add, so I will stop here as this is getting too long. I want to leave very badly but I am now trapped in a low paying job and don’t make enough money to save anything to leave. BEWARE. You’ve been warned. Dallas is a sh--hole place I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I WILL escape here one way or another even it means homelessness. It’s that bad.
David | Dallas, TX