North Austin Tenants Ask For “Receivership” to Take Over Complex

April 24, 2017

Robert Doggett (512) 374 2725;
Nancy Nusser (512) 374 2674 or (410) 934 9588;

AUSTIN, Texas – After two years of fighting for hot water and other basic amenities at Cross Creek Apartments, tenants represented by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) are asking for a dramatic remedy – receivership. They have asked the Travis County District Court to take control of the complex away from the owner entity and turn it over to a third party. Under the tenants’ motion, the Court would authorize an independent entity, or “receiver,” to collect rent money and use it to make repairs that were court-ordered more than a year ago.  The key person in charge of the owner entity, Royce Mulholland died in March 2017 and tenants have only seen conditions worsen.

“For years our clients have been living in what the City of Austin has described as unhealthy, dangerous conditions, and if the owner entity cannot fix the problems we need somebody in there who can.” said Robert Doggett, a TRLA attorney and counsel for the tenants in the case.  “While Cross Creek’s owners continue to seek patience and delay, the tenants of the complex are required to pay their rent while facing threats to their personal security and safety every day.”

Tenants will make their request at a 9 a.m. April 26 hearing.

In 2014, the Defendant – NAHC Cross Creek Apartments, LLC, run by businessman Royce Mulholland – bought the complex at 1123 Rutland Dr. The complex was bought at least partially with $2 million in Rental Housing Development Assistance (RHDA) from the Austin Housing Finance Corporation’s (AHFC). Over the next years, Cross Creek Apartments was cited for numerous code violations, most notably for failing to provide tenants with hot water. Other code violations included broken passageways, damage to exterior walls, missing gutters, deteriorated stairways and broken windows.  These conditions have only worsened.

After repeated failure to make repairs, the city in December 2015 sought an injunction against Mulholland. Under a subsequent court order, Mulholland started to fix the hot water system, but he also told his tenants to vacate without providing them with alternate living accommodations.  Tenants were then forced to enter into the city’s lawsuit, which caused the owner entity to withdraw the notices. Tenants, along with the city, have been fighting for repairs ever since.