A for-rent sign in Austin
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

More than half of Austin residents are renters. At the beginning of each month, rent is due for tenants with cut hours, cut wages or no wages at all as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced workplaces to close.

Jose Perez with their children, Marina and Jose Marcelo, in their apartment in North Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Jose Pérez and his family were afraid of their stove.

It caught on fire when they tried to cook, so the family bought prepared food. They had other problems in their apartment, too: The air conditioning went out for a week one August, there was no hot water for a month, and mold grew in the walls. But the stove is what made Mariana Pérez scream one day, when she saw her husband get electrocuted by some faulty wiring.

Lynda Gonzalez for KUT

Austin is a city of renters: 55 percent of households here rent. The number drops slightly when you look at Travis County. That got KUT’s Audrey McGlinchy wondering: How common are evictions?