44 Round Rock families face eviction after winter storm damage

Williamson County

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Residents at a low-income townhouse community in Round Rock are facing eviction notices following damage from February’s winter storm in Texas.

The Townhouse at Double Creek, managed by Sandalwood properties, recently gave its residents seven days’ notice to move out of their homes.

“I’m just really stressed out because me and my family have no where else to go,” said resident Janeisha Hardison.

Inside her town home, where she and her four kids live, dry wall is ripped from the ceilings, wooden studs are exposed and mold is growing along the baseboards.

“I just don’t have a lot of money to keep paying for hotels,” she said.

Hardison is among the 44 low-income families at Double Creek who are facing similar issues.

Robert Duran says he’s looked everywhere for another place within his price range. The 3-4 bedroom townhouses at Double Creek range from $1,048 to $1,431 a month, according to its website.

“To find a place right now in this market is hard enough,” said Duran. “Then you add on top of that being given seven days to move all of your things.”

Double Creek resident Kristen Carpenter says the worst part is finding an affordable place to store all of her belongings.

“We have to be out of the hotel by April 8 or we have to pay out of pocket,” said Carpenter.

Sandalwood properties initially put people up in hotels. Now they say their insurance company has put a halt to that and it could take months to make the repairs.

“If we don’t adhere to the insurance, the guys who house our debt will say you’re in default you have to pay this money,” said Brian Schneider, Sandalwood Director of Business Development. “We are a low-income property. We aren’t loaded with cash. We need our tenants and want them to stay, but at the same time we can’t fight with the insurance company.”

According to Texas Property Code, the loss has been deemed a casualty loss meaning it is legal for the property management company to evict its residents.

The Central Texas Together Organization has been assisting these residents since the storm hit. They’ve been trying to push Sandalwood to extend the move out deadline.

“They have to move out and find a place to put their belongings. At this point, it’s not the time frame is not conducive,” said Jen Brown with Central Texas Together.

The organization has also reached out to the Round Rock Serving Center which provides temporary housing and food for those in need, but their resources are also limited.

“We talk about extending the hotel stay, but those are short-term solutions,” said Janneke Parrish. “The long-term solutions about where they live for the long-term is less clear. Travis and Williamson County don’t exactly have many low-income housing options.”

Williamson County Commissioner Terry Cook has written to Rep. John Carter’s office and FEMA to get trailers sent for those evicted residents.

Sandalwood Property management says once the units are fixed, those evicted will be the first on the waiting list to move back into the low-income housing complex.

The Insurance Council of Texas says inside a renter’s insurance plan there is a portion of the policy called (ALE) Additional Living Expenses. In circumstances like this, it would cover temporary housing and damage to a renter’s personal property.

A commercial policy would only cover repairs to the structure and may cover some loss of business income depending on the policy, according to the Insurance Council of Texas.

According to Sandalwood Properties, an affordable housing complex cannot force tenants to purchase renter’s insurance.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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