Austin tenant asks for more help from complex after car crashes into unit

After a car crashed into an affordable housing unit in South Austin, the tenant who used to live there is frustrated with how the situation is being handled. 

The crash happened on a Sunday afternoon in early June at the Waters at Bluff Springs apartment complex.

"APD reached out to us via Ring camera and informed us that there was a vehicle that went through our home," said Joe Gonzalez. "We're way back here…maybe a quarter mile away from I-35, where you wouldn't think of a motorized vehicle running through a home." 

Gonzalez said management offered him a new unit next door, but he and his wife stayed in the damaged unit for almost two weeks while it was prepared.

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"It tore up some electrical. None of the outlets worked on that wall, including the electrical stove," said Gonzalez. "The fridge, it still worked, but the door wouldn't shut, so we couldn't put food in there…we had bugs crawling in, as you can imagine."

He says they were told that a month’s rent would be discounted because they stayed in the damaged unit. 

However, July 1 rolled around, and the full rent was due. 

"After it was boarded, it was no longer deemed ‘uninhabitable,’" said Gonzalez. "That was their reason for charging us the full month." 


He said he tried to reach out to management and higher up via emails and phone calls before he reached out to FOX 7, but he couldn't get anywhere. 

"All I was asking was to be treated fairly," said Gonzalez. "And I don't think (it was fair for) them to be charging us for a month's rent and living in a home that has a dented up, smashed-in stove and refrigerator that doesn't function, electrical wires were hanging..."

That was on top of the time they had to take off work and the stress of moving. 

"It really wasn't the money to me personally. It was the attitude behind how they treated us. There was no empathy or compassion."

FOX 7 reached out to management and the development organization that oversees the complex and received this statement:

"Thank you for bringing these concerns to the attention of our Atlantic Housing Management office. We are committed to providing exceptional customer service, and we always want to treat our residents well. We realize this crash has created a difficult situation for our Waters at Bluff Springs residents in this apartment unit, and we regret that it has happened. While we can only discuss details with the impacted residents, I can tell you that we will be sure to take the agreed upon discount and apply it to next month’s rent. Our community manager will also follow up with them to ensure they have what they need and are satisfied with their service. If the residents still have concerns, we encourage them to contact the corporate office, and we will be glad to discuss details with them directly."

For more resources for renters from the Austin Tenants Council, click here.