AUSTIN, Texas — Tenants of two Austin-area apartment complexes are protesting after they claim their developer is skirting the law.
According to Building and Strengthening Tenant Action (BASTA), the tenants association of two 39-unit apartment complexes in East Austin – the Clayton Lane and Santa Fe apartments – secured a victory when the Austin City Council amended a relocation ordinance to clarify that tenants being displaced because of remodeling are entitled to 120 days notice prior to the start of construction work.
BASTA said this amendment came after the apartments' speculator/developer Patrick Duke "engaged in unpermitted work, threatened a tenant with an illegal lockout, and told the tenants association that he would terminate the leases of everyone who signed a petition."
Now, the organization claims that while Duke did give residents a 120-day notice, he also terminated all leases by the end of June and increased rents by $650 in the meantime. According to a report from KVUE's news partners at the Austin American-Statesman, the residents' 120-day notice really gave them until the end of August to vacate.
The report states that because their lease requires a 35-day notice before a rent increase, that increase was delayed to July 1, with that incentive reportedly coming with a waived rent for June if they are moved out by then. However, the residents claim they have now been told that all leases are terminated effective June 30.
Now, residents like Sandra Brown say they are scrambling to afford the $650 increase for July and August.
“Everyone is getting worried and trying to look for a new place as soon as they can,” Brown told the Statesman. “But it's been hard to find a place that will be available that soon. For some people, it’s hard to meet the (rental) requirements, too.”
To read the Statesman's full report, click here.
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