AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin City Council is once again trying to get people dealing with landlord issues more help. On this week’s agenda: a vote to codify tenants’ right to organize without fear of retaliation and one on a tenants’ rights assistance program.
“This is a program aimed at ensuring that there are resources in place, so that if renters want to have meetings with their landlords over health and safety issues, if they need counseling, if they need assistance, if they just want to know how to navigate the process, this program will be set up to administer those services,” Fuentes said.
Lyndsay Hanes, the principal of Metric Property Management, agrees renters should have resources and know their rights — after all, landlords don’t want to evict people who are paying rent — but she also said the right to organize is already protected in Texas.
“But the additional protections that eliminate or could convolute some of the protections that landlords have to enforce the contract later is where the concern lies,” she explained, saying landlords would rather have renters come to them with their concerns than go door-to-door, possibly bothering other tenants.
Joni Mason thinks both items should be approved. She said finding city services when someone has a problem with their complex is difficult. It’s something she has been navigating over the last few months.
“It’s ridiculous. There is nobody in Austin that will help anybody with these issues, and it doesn’t matter if it’s mold or they can’t pay their rent or any kind of issues that they’re having with a particular complex, there’s nobody out there to reach to,” Mason said.
Fuentes said Austin City Council is trying to address that — connecting people with city resources — this month, along with other city support for renters struggling to live in Austin.
“It’s gotten to be way too expensive. And probably in spring, I’m just going to get the hell out of Austin and get out of Texas, because I can’t afford to live here anymore,” Mason said.