Although it has been a number of months since Winter Storm Uri broken infrastructure and houses throughout the town, some condominium residents are nonetheless coping with extreme mould harm that landlords have failed to repair. Worse, when some tenants requested the town for assist, their landlords deemed the properties unlivable and forced the residents to leave.

“We’ve had some residents attain out saying that now they’re getting notices that they’ve to go away as a result of the situations are too dangerous after they’ve reported it to the (code division),” mentioned Council Member Greg Casar, who introduced forth a resolution this week to deal with the difficulty. “That’s simply horrible, as a result of folks don’t have a spot to go.”

Family mould is understood to trigger quite a few well being issues, together with allergy symptoms and respiratory illnesses. 

Casar’s decision directs metropolis staffers to report again to Metropolis Council with potential options, together with including new well being and security laws, tenant protections and fines for landlords who’re gradual to make repairs. Council Member Alison Alter hoped to facilitate entry to current reduction for mould remediation, reminiscent of FEMA disaster-relief funds. Council will vote on the decision in the present day. 

“Nobody ought to be trapped residing in an condominium filled with mould and collapsing ceilings,” Casar mentioned in an announcement. “We should push landlords to supply short-term housing, and to permit their tenants to get out of their leases with out penalties.”   

Casar’s North Austin district skilled extra code complaints associated to Winter Storm Uri than some other district. “There’s simply such a focus of older housing inventory that hasn’t been saved up in District 4 specifically,” Casar mentioned. 

Town at present has restricted energy to ensure mould repairs happen in a well timed method. In line with the decision, “renters usually depend on metropolis enforcement to get their landlords to deal with well being and questions of safety of their properties,” though “no metropolis division has specific authority to manage mould and tackle tenant complaints of mould of their properties.”

Casar confirmed a number of photos at Council’s work session on Tuesday underscoring the extent of the mould harm in some flats. 

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“A number of the situations that I’ve seen nonetheless these days are simply unthinkable,” he mentioned.

“Lots of the photographs that you simply see aren’t a violation of metropolis well being or security code in and of themselves,” Casar mentioned. “Simply mould itself isn’t a violation. A number of the underlying situations are a violation, however that may be actually laborious to implement.”

Town’s code division is engaged on a public dashboard to point out which buildings have had complaints about code violations associated to winter storm harm – each resolved and unresolved. The division hopes that the dashboard will assist the general public and Council decide which areas are struggling essentially the most. 

Pictures taken by residents, courtesy of Greg Casar. 

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