AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s an issue Marshall Mitchell knows all too well, living in an apartment complex that won’t fix major issues, forcing tenants to break leases or suffer through poor living conditions.

Mitchell recently moved from an apartment complex listed on the City of Austin’s repeat offender list.

“It’s a laundry list [of issues],” he said. “I don’t know where to start, man. They had issues with water temperature — if you was fortunate to have any damn water at all, right? Because a lot of times the water was shut off.”

The Austin Code Department is taking a look at its repeat offender program after an Oct. 2020 audit. The program is intended to make sure property owners and managers hit minimum living standards by enrolling properties that have repeat issues.

“That can range from lights not working to broken windows to heating and air conditioning systems not performing adequately,” said Daniel Word, assistant director of the Austin Code Department.

A city memo released earlier this month shows the code department could propose some changes: Charging owners with larger properties more money to better capture the workload it takes to inspect them, expanding the criteria that would qualify a property for the program and giving new owners more time to make repairs, adjusting for inflation are among the proposed changes.

“The next steps will be meeting with our stakeholder groups and also meeting with our city law department to help develop the modifications to the ordinance and then we’ll bring those changes to [Austin City] Council in early 2023,” Word said.

The memo also said the stakeholders involved in the process, including the Austin Tenant’s Council and the Austin Apartment Association, want the city to provide more tools to properties so they can get off the list faster and do more education and outreach at properties.

For complexes that continuously refuse to meet those standards laid out by the city, Mitchell hopes the new changes will help.

“They need to start doing a better job and start taking this job a lot more seriously because some people’s lives are in their hands,” he said.