Building And Strengthening Tenant Action
Buscando Acción y Solidaridad Que Transforme el Arrendamiento
Cross Creek T.A. Reaches Settlement With Owners
October 15, 2017
In December 2015, The City of Austin sued the owner of Cross Creek Apartments because tenants were living without consistent hot water and the property had multiple other code violations in common areas.
In June 2016, the tenants of Cross Creek decided to form a tenant association. Soon after, over thirty families received notices that they would need to leave their units in a month’s time. The tenant association sprang into action advocating for its members. Armed with the knowledge that previous city financing prohibited such evictions, tenants rallied to prevent the evictions. The tenant association marched through the property generating media coverage and it reached out to local council member, Gregorio Casar for support. Tenants and the tenant association joined the City’s lawsuit adding lease violation claims, including attempting to terminate leases unlawfully. After two weeks of intense pressure, the owner agreed to withdraw the eviction notices.
Over the next year, tenants continued to push for improvements at the property. Tenants spoke at court hearings, testified in front of the Building and Standards Commission, gathered evidence, collected and delivered dozens of written repair requests, and conducted a “community inspection” of the property to highlight violations that still needed to be corrected.
As a result, many repairs were made and hot water was partially restored. In October 2017, the owner, the City and the tenants agreed to settle the case As part of the settlement, the property was sold, the City received its $2 million loan back with interest, and the new owner agreed to make repairs, honor tenants’ leases, renew those leases into the future unless there is good cause, provide tenants a rent credit, cancel out all late fees and fines, and provide relocation assistance if tenants needed to be moved temporarily to make repairs.
The Cross Creek Tenant Association continues to be active and is now working to make sure the new owner complies with the agreement and addresses other tenant concerns.
BASTA is a non-profit project dedicated to helping Austin renters work together to improve the conditions of their homes and communities.