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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

New group gives student housing tenants a voice

Emily Langley moved into The Junction in San Marcos with mold on her ceiling, broken light fixtures and furniture in bad condition

Langley, an accounting graduate student, has not only sued the apartment complex management for the move-in condition, but is a founding member and vice president of a newly formed community organization, the Tenants Advocacy Group (TAG), which fights for tenant rights in San Marcos.

“I was fully responsible for dealing with the mess that was leftover by the prior tenants,” Langley said.

TAG also fights against rent-by-the-bed (RBB) models, which is common for student housing, and pushes for changes in city ordinances that would improve the living conditions of the thousands living in student housing. 

Opposing a newly proposed seven-story complex on North Street and Lindsey Street, which would be the second largest RBB model complex in San Marcos with over 900 beds, is first on TAG’s list.

The proposed development would require all homes and businesses to be removed and would require the property to be rezoned from “existing neighborhood” to “high intensity.”

“There’s a community here and there’s a neighborhood,” Langley said. “These [property] developers are speaking for [students]. They’re saying ‘This is what students want’… TAG is here to say… ‘No, you don’t speak for us.’”

At the Sept. 26 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, TAG had three representatives to oppose the proposed complex. 

Ashley Saxon, president and founding member of TAG, said students are often stuck in apartments after signing leases without a way out besides paying an entire lump sum of the lease, something some students may not be able to afford. 

“Oftentimes, apartment complexes will show a very polished modeled apartment, and it’s very misleading for students,” Saxon said in public comment at the Sept. 26 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. “It forces them to move into very unsanitary and dirty conditions.”

TAG is eventually looking to make a larger impact in terms of pushing for new city ordinances. 

Langley said the solution for better tenant rights starts with making itself known to the San Marcos Planning and Zoning Commission and San Marcos City Council to push for these changes to city ordinances that improve student living conditions. 

Currently, air conditioning is not required to be provided by Texas landlords. Langley said, in this Texas heat, TAG will push for the city to change that city ordinance.

TAG will also push for apartments to disclose living conditions before a tenant moves in, something that’s close to Langley’s heart.

“Eventually we’re looking into making a larger impact in terms of putting in city ordinances,” Langley said. “We’re going to say, ‘Hey, here’s who we are. Here’s what we believe in.’”

To learn more about TAG, follow its Instagram @tag_smtx. 

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