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Apartment complex in E Austin without gas over a month, tells tenants to vacate property



An East Austin apartment complex without gas for over a month notified tenants this week to vacate the property immediately.

“We haven’t had gas since after the snowstorm so we got no hot showers, no gas to cook food, we can’t even use our ovens,” said Joseph Garces, tenant. “We have until Friday to pack all our stuff, apparently as much as we can and leave.”

In a letter sent to tenants on Monday, a gas leak was reported on February 20th and the freeze from the winter storm created more problems. This is causing the gas line to not be repairable, instead, it needs to be replaced.

Tenants are expected to vacate the property immediately. Replacing the gas line is expected to take 90 days to complete.

“They’re offering to put us in hotels and pay for the hotels, but you got people here who have so many people in their house, that one hotel isn’t going to provide,” Garces said. “You have food in your apartment that you need to put in a refrigerator. Where are you going to put that? It’s going to go bad. You have furniture, you can’t put that in a hotel.”

When LULAC heard tenants were going weeks without gas in their apartments, they stepped in to help.

“For us, as LULAC civil rights organization, that was totally unacceptable. We reached out to our elected officials to declare it an emergency site so that Texas Gas could begin immediately to address and repair what’s needed to be repaired,” said Gavino Fernandez, LULAC Council President.

Texas Gas Service says they only service gas lines up to the property. Any repairs on the property would be the responsibility of the property owner.

For the past few weeks, tenants have been relying on mobile showers and a mobile laundromat set up in the parking lot. Management has also provided meal tickets for food trucks that come daily. However, with the recent notice to vacate, tenants must decide quickly whether to break the lease or stay at a hotel provided by the apartment complex. If they choose to stay at the hotel, they’ll still be required to pay rent.

“It makes me mad because you’re giving us 5 days in advance which is not enough. I’m stressed out because where am I going to go with my girlfriend and my son? Where is my mom going to go? My grandma?” Garces asked. “It’s a whole lot of worrying for my family.”

BASTA, a local tenant rights group, is hoping to clear the confusion and inform tenants of their rights during a meeting scheduled for Tuesday night.