Tenants fight North Austin apartments in court

We're hearing from tenants of a North Austin complex that's been at the center of several safety complaints.

Once again, tenants of a North Austin apartment complex that has been at the center of several safety complaints are speaking out.

People living in Cross Creek Apartments said since the complex's owner died last month, conditions have worsened. However, those handling the property said they've spent more than a million dollars making changes.

Wednesday, tenants said there's still a lot of problems that need to be fixed and this morning they headed to court with their legal representation, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, to try and make some changes.

Attorneys with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid asked the Travis County District Court to take control of the complex following the owner's death last month and give it to a third party. The third party would collect rent money and use it to make repairs that were court-ordered more than a year ago. Texas RioGrande Legal Aid Attorney Robert Doggett said they didn't get that outcome, but are still satisfied.

"The judge at the end ordered them to make a bunch of repairs," Doggett said. "That included a six-page order that the judge is going to enter probably later this evening. The judge did not sign an order authorizing the removal of them as controlling the property, which is what the tenants requested. All in all, good day. What we went in for is to get the defendant's attention, get some repairs started and send a message that if this isn't done we're going to go to the next level."

The defendant, Jim Ewbank, Cokinos Young, issued the following statement Wednesday: 

"The Owners of Cross Creek Apartments have spent over $1,600,000 in repairs and replacements over the last 18 months, and strongly believe that all “safety issues” have been successfully repaired;  what remains to be done are  essentially cosmetic, non-structural repairs and completion of the permit process to close out the notices issued by the City.  Cross Creek was a troubled and difficult project when purchased, and the current owners have worked hard to respond not only to its residents but also the City Code Dept.  The Owners are studying the Court’s Temporary Order to make the decision on how best to resolve the outstanding issues.  The Court denied the motion to appoint a Receiver, which was sought by several of the residents."

Doggett said the judge let everyone know that if repairs aren't made in a timely fashion, he will once again consider who has control of the complex.

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