Landlord threatens eviction on San Marcos special needs family

Defenders: Landlord threatens eviction on special needs family

AUSTIN - A mother’s love may know no bounds, but boundaries were all Rebecca Bucholtz put on her daughter's childhood.

“It just felt like we had to tell her ‘No’ for everything,” said Bucholtz as she described her daughter’s medical condition. Her daughter Mikayla has polycystic kidneys. Sudden movement causes pain. The cysts bursts and weakens the organs, and Mikayla’s kidneys will eventually fail.

“So, it’s been a rough, it’s been a rough few years,” said Rebecca.

Mikayla’s troubles didn’t stop there. She was abused and later diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder.

The chance to go to college was the first big "Yes." Mikayla and her best friend Brooke would get an apartment. Rebecca was afraid dorm life would be too much for her daughter.

Mikayla, Brooke, Rebecca and Mikayla’s 10-year-old sister Rachael moved to “The Avenue” in San Marcos. They quickly noticed problems within the unit such as a leaky faucet and nails sticking through the floor.

When the family complained, the complex said the Bucholtz had too many people in the unit. Rachael needed her own room.

“They won’t release us from our lease,” said Rebecca.

Each room in their unit is considered a private room and each person in the room is a separate tenant. The rules state a three-bedroom unit should have one person per room.

The apartment complex initially allowed an exception for Rachel. When the complex changed their mind, the family was caught off-guard. Rebecca was given two options: Buy a bigger unit or sub-lease. “We can’t go to another property because we have this lease,” said Rebecca.

The KVUE Defenders looked through the lease and went to the front office. The complex told KVUE they thought a city code prohibits two people in one room, and they promised to check the information with their attorneys. KVUE couldn’t find any city ordinance that says it's illegal to have more than one person in a room.

Two weeks later, the complex confirmed Rachael can stay in the apartment room with her mom. They declined to go on camera for an interview.

“Brooke was already saying that we need to think about putting stuff on the walls. It’s really blank,” laughs Rebecca.

The end of Rebecca's email to us lists 11 maintenance issues. The Avenue is now working to fix those, too.

This story is part of our new Defenders segment called “Solving Your Problems.” The goal is to help those who feel they have nowhere else to turn.  If you have a problem you can’t get solved, email the Defenders at news@kvue.com, and include “Attn: Solving Your Problems” in the subject line.

(© 2016 KVUE)


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