Alarm systems at dozens of homes across Houston were tripped during Hurricane Harvey for a number of reasons when water began entering. For many, that meant the city charged them 'false alarm' fees for incidents they had no way to avoid. Others were charged fees for alarms that either were never installed or installed shortly before Harvey, but ruined in the storm. Still others wanted to transfer their alarm permits to temporary homes and weren't allowed, under those same city rules.
The changes approved by the council will reverse those rules, allowing the Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department to refund fees paid before a disaster or incurred when circumstances are outside the control of the owner due to a disaster.
ARA will now also allow transfers of those permits after disasters.
Mayor Sylvester Turner said the move was the right thing to do and the city is working on amending similar rules that regulate water bills.
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