Renters

Jarymar Arana places a sign on the doorknob of a North Austin apartment, letting the tenants know their rights and protections against evictions.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Jarymar Arana grips a backpack outside an apartment complex in Pflugerville just after 8 a.m. on a recent Sunday. Arana doesn’t live here, but hundreds of people do, and nearly two dozen of them have had evictions filed against them during the pandemic.

UT student Sean Saldana in his North Austin apartment
Michael Minasi / KUT

Sean Saldaña decided earlier this year that at 23 he was too old to be sharing an apartment with his dad. So, the UT Austin senior began hunting for a new place to live.

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.

Cherie Little and Steven Kresena stand outside their apartment in South Austin.
Michael Minasi / KUT

It’s a hell of a time to try and open a restaurant.

That’s what Steven Kresena was thinking last week as he watched Austin Mayor Steve Adler order all restaurants and bars to close to diners in an attempt to stall the spread of the coronavirus. Kresena had just inspected the tile in his new restaurant, Ovenbird, which was set to open on South Congress this month.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

David Jones has been renting his apartment in North Austin for four years. He's grown an impressive herb garden on his front porch: Rows of parsley, oregano and thyme line one side. He’s a veteran on a fixed income, and his housing story hasn’t been an easy one.

“In 1999, I was renting a house here in Austin,” Jones said. “I came home on a Friday evening, and there was a notice to vacate – eviction notice – on my door. I panicked, and I moved all my stuff by that Monday.”