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CROSS CREEK SETTLEMENT
INSECT SCREEN SURVEYS
Tenant Get Commitments from New Owners to Address Longstanding Problems
Leaders from Fairway Village Tenant Association and Santa Maria Village Tenant Association
organize to ensure the health and affordability of their homes for years to come.
"The tenants association is looking forward to seeing that the tenants’ requested changes are made. We will keep working to improve our community and are excited to build an open and productive relationship with the new owner." Dao, tenant leader at Santa Maria Village Apartments (SMV), supported the sale of SMV by testifying at May 10th's Austin City Council Meeting.
Neighbors at Fairway Village Apartments and Santa Maria Village Apartments organized into tenant associations (TAs) to deal with longstanding issues that owner and management company Sage Apartment Communities failed to address. Many of these issues persist today, like the lack of working A/C at Santa Maria Village.
When tenants heard about a potential sale of their homes they sprung into action to make sure that their concerns would be addressed if any sale were to happen. The tenants associations hosted meetings to compile and prioritize the changes tenants would like to see made at each property.
At those meetings members expressed frustrations with accounting problems, leaking ceilings, moldy apartments, inadequate security, community room inaccessibility, and parking.
The Fairway Village Tenants Association was concerned that the Section 8 contract on their property might not be renewed and that if major renovations would be made, residents would not receive adequate relocation assistance , which could result in the permanent loss of deeply affordable housing in Montopolis.
The Santa Maria Village Tenants Association wanted to make sure that all of its members were able to effectively communicate with management - including a large number of Vietnamese and Spanish-speaking residents. Each tenants association compiled their asks into a list and then gathered signatures from their neighbors to show resident support for the asks.
The tenants associations presented their asks to the potential buyer, Texas Housing Foundation (THF), and had meetings with THF and their Council Members Pio Renteria and Greg Casar. To proceed with the project, Austin City Council would need to approve Texas Housing Foundation working in Austin.
Over the next few weeks, the tenants associations and THF hammered out agreements where THF committed to addressing almost all of the associations’ concerns.
THF committed to completing longstanding needed repairs, keeping the properties affordable for at least another 35 years, providing additional support services such as computer labs, ensuring that any tenants will not incur additional expenses if temporary relocation is needed, assisting tenants with language barriers and literacy issues, and meeting with the tenants associations quarterly.
Insect Screen Surveys
Are insect screens necessary in Austin? The City of Austin wants to know your opinion..
The 2015 International Property Maintenance Code requires insect screens in dwelling units. While this model code was recently adopted by Austin, the City Council did not implement the insect screen requirements and asked for more public input before making a decision. Austin Code has come up with a survey to get people’s opinions.
Our tenant associations are filling out this survey to make their voices heard. Any Austinite can fill a survey out. Public input will be accepted until April 30th 2018. For more information on the ordinance, visit the Austin Code Department.
TAKE THE SURVEY
In 2016, they sued their landlords over illegal rent increases.
A year later, residents again face rising rents and issues with security and property maintenance.
When North Lamar Mobile Home Park owners Frank Rolfe and Dave Reynolds brought their 'investment bootcamp' to Austin, they were met by Asociacion de Residentes de North Lamar- and company. Watch it unfold here.
"WHAT DO WE WANT? MORE TIME! WHEN DO WE WANT IT? NOW!"
Tenants at 5020 Manor Rd chanted after being given 30 days to vacate following the sale of their homes.
Agreeing they needed more time, these tenants stuck together and leveraged their power with the support of BASTA, Blanton Elementary parents and students, Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, Council Member Greg Casar, and School Board Trustees Ann Teich and Ted Gordon. Watch what happens here.
Primrose of Shadow Creek residents were frustrated by inadequate lighting, broken gates and fencing, an overgrown retention pond with standing water, broken A/Cs and uneven walkways …
The Concerned Citizens of Primrose Tenant Association set out to conduct an inspection of the property and map out to show where problems were.
The residents submitted repair requests and contacted Austin Code. The Tenants Association accompanied Code
on its inspection of the property pointing out problems
they had identified. As a result of these efforts new lighting was installed, the front gate finally closes again, A/Cs and broken walkways were repaired and the
retention pond has been cleaned up.
The Tenants Association’s work is not done yet!
Elevators and pest issues remain problems they
will continue to tackle.
The City of Austin Code Department investigated the property described above. Austin City Code violations were found that require your immediate attention. A description of the violations and compliance timeframe(s) are provided in the attached violation report...
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.