El Buen Logo (35 years)

This article was first published on KVUE. Read the original post here.

AUSTIN, Texas — On Thursday, the Austin City Council approved a number of items that are part of its renters’ rights agenda. 

Some members of the council have long pushed for better tenant rights and more affordable housing, as many Central Texas struggle with unaffordability.

City leaders said more than half of Austinites are renters but renters’ rights are minimal. 

The agenda items approved at the council’s Thursday meeting focus on prioritizing renters, and their approval marks a major step in protecting renters in Austin and combatting displacement. 

Item 20 will enable El Buen Samaritano, an outreach ministry, to continue housing and financial services to households at risk of eviction. The item will amend an agreement with the ministry to add $400,000 to the agreement for a total funding amount of $1,530,000. 

Item 23 concerns the renters’ right to cure. This is part of the renters’ rights agenda that would require landlords to provide a period of time to fix or resolve a lease violation before facing penalties, like eviction.

“For many of our families, they’re living paycheck to paycheck and having an unexpected or an emergency happens where they fall behind on rent,” said District 2 Council member Vanessa Fuentes.

Part of that item will also require any eviction notices to be accompanied by resources for renters.

“It is a one-pager that has information and critical resources for individuals who’ve received that notice of proposed eviction so they know ‘Who do I call right now?’ You know what resources are available,” said Fuentes.

Item 25 amends the City Code to allow renters to organize. This will allow renters to set up meetings with their landlords, protect renters participating in mutual aid and prohibit landlord retaliation.

“It’s important to protect the vulnerable. And yes, I’m going to call our renters the vulnerable because I realized that Austin and Texas at large is a landlord-friendly state,” said Philisa Campbell with the Austin Tenants Council.

Lastly, Item 39 closes displacement loopholes. It aims to close loopholes to ensure renters being displaced will be given appropriate notice and are able to access City resources and services.

“These are Austin families that were given just two months’ notice to find another location to move their home,” said Fuentes.

This article was first published on KVUE. Read the original post here.