Problem-plagued Creeks Edge apartment complex sued by tenants

Investigations

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A troubled north Austin apartment complex is being sued by its tenants.

It’s the latest into the KXAN Investigation of Creeks Edge Apartments, a repeat city code violator for more than five years.

BACKGROUND: Tenants rally for change over Creeks Edge health, safety code failures

In a just-filed lawsuit, the Creeks Edge Tenant’s Association claims that property owner Cooper Street Capital violated an old agreement that capped annual rent increases at 5%.

The lawsuit claims the owners instead imposed fees on the tenants, ranging from leaving children’s toys on their patios, to parking on the property.

Court documents even say property management would issue a $30 fine per cigarette butt found on someone’s porch.

“This landlord has made it clear that he’s here to extract as much as possible out of the tenants living here,” said Stephen Frischmuth.

A spokesperson for Cooper Street Capital told KXAN it never violated any agreement, because the agreement only applied to rent increases.

“Regarding fines and fees, the nature and structure of charges at the property has been adjusted to contribute in the most meaningful possible way to the health, safety and comfort of the community’s residents. We have instituted policies to ensure that residents receive an initial warning prior to receiving fines for their infractions so any ongoing fines are for repeat offenses. We have also instituted policies around transparency and continuous communication of community policies to minimize the potential for residents to be unaware of current community policies.”

Tyler Hollenbach, Director of Operations, Cooper Street Capital

Frischmuth has lived at Creek’s Edge Apartments for six years, since it had a different owner and different name, the Cross Creek Apartments.

But Frischmuth says one thing that hasn’t changed is the complex being on the city of Austin’s ‘Repeat Offender’ list for code violations.

Back in July, the city’s Building and Standards Commission threatened Cooper Street Capital with major fines if it didn’t fix structural and safety issues.

While CSC has made progress with fixing some of the structural violations, others have popped up, some as recently as last week.

There are currently 21 active code enforcement cases on the property.

“The only reason we’re resorting to punitive measures is because nothing else has worked,” said Frischmuth.

KXAN Investigators also found that Creek’s Edge still owes Austin $12,260.82 for fees and penalties assessed after July 24.

Austin’s Code Compliance sent KXAN a statement that reads in part:

“The Austin Code Department escalates cases through three enforcement routes, dependent on the type of violation: Municipal Court, Administrative Hearing, and the Building and Standards Commission. We continue to closely monitor conditions at the property and will pursue the appropriate escalation processes as needed. As always, our focus is to take the actions necessary to protect the health and safety of Austin’s residents.”

Spokesperson, City of Austin Code Enforcement

Cooper Street Capital tells KXAN that it continues to make “significant and wide ranging repairs and improvements” throughout the property.

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