Austin: Creek’s Edge Tenants Organize Against Illegal Evictions, Terrible Conditions

By Henry Underwood

Tenants at the Creek’s Edge apartment complex have recently reported attempts by management to illegally evict tenants as well as unacceptable living conditions which are ignored by the complex.

Landlords of the property have issued illegal and inaccurate “abandoned dwelling” notices in an attempt to intimidate tenants from raising concerns and to force them to move out.

“A neighbor had gotten a notice from management that it was apparent that he had abandoned his apartment and that they were going to take possession of it. But he had not abandoned it,” said a leader of the Tenants’ Council. “We went up and established that he was definitely still living there.”

One tenant told Tribune “They’re trying to get around the eviction moratorium, by different means. These abandonment notices and fines […] My neighbors really could have used the city help that was being offered to tenants who had fallen behind due to job loss, but that just never came through. The city effort just fell on its face. I’m not sure if they ever dispersed a dime of it.”

The management of Creek’s Edge levies ridiculous and illegal fines against its tenants to discourage the organization of people who might challenge its economic death-grip over tenants’ lives. One tenant revealed that once he began organizing he, too, was hit with fines totaling $1,059. “I owe them, out of nowhere. I’ve been notified of nothing, you know, just out of the blue. They just make it up.”

The complex also refuses to address issues regarding even basic living conditions while continuing to demand full rent during a pandemic and economic depression.

“I lived here once for two months without hot water,” one tenant said. “The repairs, if they are done at all, are more like sabotage –– to discourage you from ever complaining about anything ever again.”

“When we first moved in, in the first month, our A/C went out,” another tenant said. “It was leaking water, and we had buckets down. The [maintenance worker] came with a vacuum, and just sucked up the water, and that was it, and he left. It started leaking again, and we called him again, but he just did the same thing, and eventually it just broke […] but now it’s getting cold, and we don’t have a heater.”

The tenant organizing against management’s attempts to illegally evict them was quickly co-opted by BASTA, a nonprofit organization that, according to one tenant, is just “telephones and filing cabinets and calendars. They’re not the end all be all.”

The tenants are worthy of support, but not the dead-end reformism that BASTA is peddling. “The tenants association worked for two years with BASTA to get the complex suspended for violations, so that they couldn’t rent out to new tenants. That suspension lasted two weeks. After two years of labor.”

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