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Austin City Council passes ordinances to strengthen tenant rights

Agenda items approved at Thursday’s council meeting focus on prioritizing renters as many struggle with affordability.

AUSTIN, Texas – On Thursday, the Austin City Council approved a number of items that are part of the tenant rights agenda.

Some council members have long been pushing for better renter rights and more affordable housing, as many in central Texas struggle with unaffordability.

City leaders said more than half of Austin residents are renters, but renters’ rights are minimal.

Agenda items approved at Thursday’s council meeting focus on prioritizing tenants, and their approval marks an important step in protecting Austin’s tenants and fighting evictions.

point 20 will allow El Buen Samaritano, an outreach service, to continue providing housing and financial services to households at risk of eviction. The dot will amend an agreement with the department to add $400,000 to the agreement for a total funding amount of $1,530,000.

point 23 affects the tenant’s right to healing. This is part of the tenants’ rights agenda, which would require landlords to give a period to fix or fix a tenancy violation before facing penalties such as eviction.

“Many of our families are living paycheck to paycheck and there happens to be an unexpected event or emergency that causes them to fall behind on their rent,” said District 2 councilor Vanessa Fuentes.

Part of this article also requires that eviction notices be accompanied by tenant resources.

“It’s a one-pager that includes information and important resources for people who have received this notice of the planned eviction to know, ‘Who do I call now?’ They know what resources are available,” Fuentes said.

point 25 changes the city order so tenants can organize themselves. This will allow tenants to schedule meetings with their landlords, protect tenants who participate in mutual aid and prohibit retaliation by landlords.

“It is important to protect the weak. And yes, I will call our tenants the weak because I recognize that Austin and Texas are overall a rental-friendly state,” said Philisa Campbell of the Austin Tenants Council.

Last, point 39 closes displacement loopholes. The goal is to close loopholes to ensure tenants who are evicted receive appropriate notification and have access to city resources and services.

“These are Austin families who were notified just two months in advance to find another location to move their home,” Fuentes said.

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