Must be your area. I'm far from Texas, but I get nothing but compliments about my dogs when I'm out with them. Everyone either just loves the breed because they're so smart or they grew up with German Shepherds. If i had a nickel for every time I heard someone say they grew up with the breed. I don't think I've ever heard one negative comment about the breed from anyone ever around here.
When you live in an apartment complex, you have to follow their rules. They probably do it because of their insurance. Too much of a liability to have dogs off leash and just running around, so I can understand the leash rules. Just try your best to follow them if you want to stay or you can always break a few and get evicted if you want to get out of the lease.