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City of Austin passes items that expand renters rights

Items 39 and 40 recently passed by the Austin City Council are aimed at helping renters.

AUSTIN, Texas — Jeanne Luttral, an Austin renter, didn’t know her health issues could put her at risk of being homeless. But being in the hospital so long, and with medical bills being so expensive, there were points where she didn’t know if she could pay rent. 

"I was in the hospital for a whole month. And then I got out and I got COVID," she said.

She was able to get help from advocacy groups like Building and Strengthening Tenant Action (BASTA), but asking for help was tough. 

"It was humiliating. I've worked hard my whole life and to have to beg for stuff, it was really hard," she said.

Luttral needed more time for rent, and Austinites will soon be able to get that. Under two new items passed by the city council, items 39 and 40, they will get extra time to pay rent under an emergency and organize for better living conditions.

"People who are struggling the most are renters and working-class folks that are seeing their rents go up. And, generally, a lot of these big property management companies are going to be just fine if they evict people a little bit less,” said City Councilman Greg Casar. 

But even then, Luttral's problems aren't over. She still has to manage how to make payments. 

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