| by Kenneth Chase | No comments

Car crashes into woman’s apartment in east Austin


FOR VALENTINE’S DAY AND SEVERAL DAYS WITH RAIN IN THE FORECAST.” “WE SEE THE BACK END OF THE CAR, THE REVERSE LIGHTS IN HERE” // “THIS IS AN EMERGENCY” 2-ROBERT:TONIGHT A FAMILY IS BEING FORCED TO MOVE AFTER A CAR CRASHED INTO THEIR APARTMENT OVER THE WEEKEND. 2-SYDNEY:THE MOTHER SENT THESE PHOTOS TO REPORT-IT-AT KXAN- DOT-COM…YOU CAN SEE A GAPING HOLE THAT REACHES THE INSIDE OF HER KIDS’ BEDROOM.SHE TOLD US SHE WAS FRUSTRATED AND STRUGGLING TO GET HELP.KXAN’S JACQULYN POWELL REACHED OUT TO THE PROPERTY MANAGERS AND AUSTIN’S CODE ENFORCEMENT TO GET ANSWERS.JACQULYN: NIESHA JENKINS SAYS SHE’S STILL IN SHOCK. NIESHA JENKINS, TENANT: “I HEARD A BIG BOOM”JACQULYN: AND AS SOON AS SHE COULD JUMP OUT OF BED…JENKINS: “WE SEE THE BACK END OF THE CAR, THE REVERSE LIGHTS IN HERE. BY THE TIME I GOT DRESSED AND MADE IT OUTSIDE HE WAS LEAVING” JACQULYN: AS SHE WAITS FOR POLICE TO GET ANSWERS… JENKINS: “IT’S A BIG HOLE RIGHT HERE…YOU CAN WALK IN AND OUT” JACQULYN: SHE SHOWS US THE DAMAGE– THE HOLE STRETCHES FROM HER KITCHEN…. TO THE KIDS’ BEDROOM CLOSET… JENKINS: “IT’S COLD IN HERE NOW WHEN THE HEAT HAS BEEN ON THE HIGHEST IT’LL GO”JACQULYN: AND WITH FOUR CHILDREN — ONE BEING A BABY…. JENKINS: “THIS IS AN EMERGENCY” JACQULYN: BOTH THE CITY’S CODE ENFORCEMENT DEPARTMENT…AND HER PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANY ARE WORKING TO HELP. APARTMENT MANAGERS SAY THEIR WORKERS COVERED THE HOLE WITH A TARP RIGHT AWAY AND HAD CONTRACTORS REBRICKING THE WALL WITHIN 48 HOURS.THEY GAVE HER A KEY TO A NEW APARTMENT — BUT SHE STILL HAS TO MOVE ALL OF HER BELONGINGS.. JENKINS: “THIS IS A HIGH DISADVANTAGE”JACQULYN: BUT JENKINS IS FRUSTRATED.VANITAS URBAN FLATS HAS HAD ITS FAIR SHARE OF ISSUES IN THE PAST…WITH REPEAT CITATIONS FILED AGAINST THE PROPERTY.GVA PROPERTY MANAGEMENT TOOK OVER THE COMPLEX SEVERAL MONTHS BACK…TO TURN THINGS AROUND. THEY HOPE THEIR QUICK RESPONSE TO JENKIN’S CRISIS…IS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. JACQULYN POWELL, KXAN NEWS. ROBERT:WE CHECKED AUSTIN CODE ENFORCEMENT’S ONLINE RECORDS AND FOUND THIS PROPERTY HAS BEEN CITED 21 TIMES IN THE LAST TWO YEARS.MOST OF THE VIOLATIONS WERE TIED TO PROBLEMS WITH THE STRUCTURE OF THE PROPERTY.ROBERT:RIGHT NOW THE APARTMENT COMPLEX AND MORE THAN 70 OTHERS ARE ON THE CITY’S REPEAT OFFENDER LIST. THAT MEANS THEY’VE RACKED UP MULTIPLE HEALTH AND SAFETY VIOLATIONS.LAST AUGUST, KXAN LEARNED CODE ENFORCEMENT IS BEHIND ON INSPECTIONS OF THESE APARTMENTS.THEY ALSO TOLD US ANOTHER 100 PROPERTIES SHOULD BE ON THE REPEAT OFFENDER LIST, BUT THEY DON’T HAVE ENOUGH EMPLOYEES TO RUN THE PROGRAM.THEY ASKED CITY COUNCIL FOR FOUR MORE INSPECTORS.WE’RE CHECKING WITH CITY OFFICIALS TO SEE IF THEY GOT FUNDING FOR THOSE NEW POSITIONS.WE’LL LET YOU KNOW WHEN WE HEAR BACK.SYDNEY:THE AUSTIN TENANTS’ COUNCIL DOES OFFER HELP TO THOSE DEALING WITH A PROBLEM LANDLORD.THEY WANT TO MAKE IT CLEAR YOU CANNOT WITHHOLD RENT BECAUSE A LANDLORD DOESN’T MAKE REPAIRS. THAT’S SEEN AS RETALIATION AND MEANS YOU COULD FORFEIT SOME OF YOUR RIGHTS.DON’T JUST BREAK YOUR LEASE BECAUSE REPAIRS AREN’T MADE IN A TIMELY MANNER.THE COUNCIL POINTS OUT THERE ARE SOME VERY CLEAR RULES ABOUT ALL OF THIS. GO THROUGH THE PROPER CHANNELS. MAKE SURE YOU SEND DOCUMENTS THROUGH CERTIFIED MAIL.IT HELPS YOU TRACK EVERYTHING AND IN MANY CASES IS MORE OFFICIAL THAN EMAIL.KEEP COPIES OF ALL OF YOUR RECORDS BECAUSE YOU MAY NEED THEM TO PROVE YOUR CASE.IF YOU HAVE ISSUES, CALL THE AUSTIN TENANTS’ COUNCIL. THEY ALSO HAVE ONLINE

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