Common questions related to eviction in Texas during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I heard that Landlords weren’t allowed to evict people in Texas right now. Is this true?
Yes and No. A landlord may file in court to evict you right now but courts cannot hold a hearing to decide the matter until after April 30, 2020. In other words, you cannot be evicted until after April 30, 2020. However, if a landlord says that there is a threat of physical harm or criminal activity, a court may proceed with an eviction.
If I am evicted on May 1, 2020 how soon would they be able to force me to leave?
The earliest a constable or sheriff could come and force you to leave is after May 7, 2020.
Why May 7, 2020?
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court of Texas has halted most eviction hearings in Texas until at least May 1, 2020. Officers cannot post 24-hour removal notices until May 8. Many local governments have suspended evictions as well. This means your landlord can’t start the eviction process or continue a process started before the order until at least May 1, 2020.
My Landlord told me I had to be out by April 20, 2020. Can they make me leave on April 20th?
No. Before your landlord can force you to leave, they must follow the legal process required in Texas. In Texas, officers must give you at least a 24 hour notice to leave a residence. The statewide emergency order says that there will be no 24-hour vacate notices until May 7, 2020.
Do I need to pay rent?
YES. The state’s emergency order only halts evictions and doesn’t mean that you do not owe rent. If you do not pay it, your landlord can still file an eviction that will be heard when the courts get to it, after the order has expired.
What if I can’t pay my rent because I haven’t been working?
Texas has loosened up its requirements for filing unemployment. See COVID-19 – Unemployment Benefits and Paid Leave FAQs information on who is eligible and how to apply.
Many properties are protected beyond April 30, 2020. Landlords for federally subsidized or federally backed housing are barred from evicting tenants for not paying rent or fees late for 120 days starting March 27, 2020. As a renter, you are still liable for the rent, but you cannot be evicted for not paying rent or late fees during those 120 days.
For some properties, you can search the HUD resource locator to see if your rental is included. If your rental is not in there, you may still be protected. You can search your county clerk’s records to find out if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac have an interest in the place you live or you can contact us for assistance in determining if this applies to the place you live.
This information is accurate as of April 17, 2020.
This information was prepared by Lone Star Legal Aid and Disability Rights TX.
Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing; improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, like those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at www.lonestarlegal.org.
Media contact: Clarissa Ayala, firstname.lastname@example.org