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Texas Border Business

The Texas Supreme Court’s eviction moratorium expired on May 18, which means families who rent in Texas who have been unable to pay rent due to lost income could soon be at risk of being evicted during the coronavirus pandemic. Some local jurisdictions may have extended the moratorium.

Approximately one-third of low-income Texans live in housing protected from eviction due to nonpayment of rent through July 24, 2020 under the new federal CARES Act. After July 24, landlords of certain properties can begin the eviction process but only with a 30-day notice to vacate.

Only after the 30 days expires can a landlord file the eviction case. This eviction protection applies to all rental properties financed with a loan backed by the federal government, federally subsidized housing, public housing, tax credit properties, and section 8 voucher holders. 

While tenants will know whether they have a section 8 voucher or live in public housing owned by the government, few know about their new rights under the CARES Act, and far fewer know whether they live in the other properties covered by the new law.

TRLA developed a map so renters can search to see if they live in a protected property. Tenants in public housing and with section 8 vouchers are also protected from eviction even though the property may not be listed on the map.

After today, unless a tenant is protected by a local ordinance or the CARES Act, landlords can start the eviction process with a notice to vacate. However, if the lease allows it, the notice can be much shorter than 30 days. If a tenant has not moved after the notice to vacate expires, the landlord can file the eviction case with a local justice of the peace.

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Once the lawsuit is filed, the justice of the peace will schedule the hearing within 21 days of the date of filing. If a tenant loses the hearing, a tenant has five calendar days to move or appeal (counting weekends and holidays). Tenants have the right to trial by jury, and the right to appeal the case to county court.

TRLA has extensive resources specific to housing issues and more, which can be found at www.trla.org. TRLA attorneys are available to speak to the media (in English and Spanish) to provide accurate and timely information on the services available to people facing a variety of personal and financial crises created – or worsened – by the pandemic.

TRLA Housing attorneys will be answering eviction-related questions during a Facebook Live event on Thursday, May 21 at 5:30pm CST in English and in Spanish at 6:00pm CST. Those who want to submit questions may post their questions in the comments on TRLA’s Facebook page. No legal advice will be given during the session.

What: Facebook Live Q&A to answer eviction questions

When: Thursday, May 21, 5:30pm CST

Where: Texas RioGrande Legal Aid’s Facebook page

Live Stream by MeGustaTV

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