AUSTIN, Texas - An Austin Code enforcement inspection team launched a campaign Monday targeting problems at multifamily apartment complexes. The focus for the team is on repeat offenders.
A team of 13 code enforcement officers, Monday morning, converged on the 542 unit Solaris apartments. One of the units visited by the inspectors is rented by a man who spoke to FOX 7.
He asked not to be identified.
"I told the guys that were looking at my apartment, thank you, because its time, that somebody finally spoke up."
The renter went on to say, after moving in 3 months ago, he and his kids quickly learned, they were not alone.
"We have a variety of issues, from roaches to rats, to mice, you can hear them crawling in the attic and ceiling and stuff."
The complex is on the city repeat offender program. Michelle Floyd didn't know that when she moved in 6 months ago. For her, what initially looked good, from a far then is far from good, now.
"There is also like sewage, like leakage, that leaks on to the grass and on to the sidewalks so if I'm walking my dog I have to go by that," said Floyd.
During the Monday inspection - warning notifications were posted on the second floor of one of the buildings at Solaris; a hand railing is starting to pull away. Enforcement Division Manager, Todd Wilcox - says they found other violations, but for the most part progress at Solaris is being made.
" It may seem slow, but there has been a remarkable improvement in the last 4 years that we've been working with them and now with these repeat offender program and yearly inspections on top of the normal calls we get out here, hopefully the tenants will see more and more improvement," said Wilcox.
High risk problems must corrected immediately, but under the Repeat Offender program, the owners of the complex have two years to complete all of the repairs. The to do list for the inspection team is also pretty long. Wilcox says there are about 30 properties in Austin like Solaris. Complaint forms, obtained by FOX 7, reveal issues ranging from busted plumbing, no hot water, or air conditioning and blocked sewer lines. Wilcox says the inspection program is designed to give property owners something beyond a nudge.
"It's more, a gentle 2x4."
The owners of Coppertree Apartments, which is scheduled for an inspection on Tuesday, apparently got the message. Monday work crews were on site - painting and completing structural repairs along walkways and in the parking areas.
To report code violations, inspectors ask that you call the city 3-1-1 line and reports can be done anonymously.