Thirty days. That’s how long one Austin apartment complex owner gave tenants to find a new place to live before they begin work on the building.
It’s happening at the Harvard Place Apartments off 51st and Manor Road, where gentrification is quickly pushing east past the Mueller development.
Walk inside the complex, and you’ll find a green swimming pool with broken glass on the ground, trash littering the hallways, as well as a gaping hole in one wall where it appears sewage is leaking onto the sidewalk.
Now, the new owners want all the tenants out by October 1 to begin renovations or demolition.
Tenants were not notified until September 1. Now, they’re protesting, asking for more time from the owners to find a new place to live.
“They tell us we gotta move out, we don’t know what to do,” said Raul Mato, who has lived in the apartments on a fixed income for more than seven years.
KVUE spoke to nearly half a dozen tenants facing the same fear, many with children who will have to move schools just one month into the school year.
“I…..I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Matos.
Lawyers from Building and Strengthening Tenant Action, or BASTA, from Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid are working pro bono to help these people now.
"You talk to folks and they’ve gone to a handful of apartments and submitted applications, everyone’s just saying there’s not a vacancy,” said BASTA lawyer Shoshana Kreiger.
“We just want to see displacement occur with some compassion,” Kreiger said, knowing the gentrification here is inevitable.
Austin City Council passed a relocation ordinance requiring 120 days notice for tenants to leave on September 1, the same day tenants at Harvard Place Apartments were notified of the one-month eviction.
Therefore, the ordinance does not apply to these tenants.
Kreiger is looking into other possible legal action to take against the owners to give the tenants more time.
The new owners, Austin-based Tarrytown Townhomes LP, had “no comment.”