In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government and local jurisdictions in Texas have adopted the following protections for tenants to help them stay in their homes. The information on this page is focused on residential tenancies and not commercial tenancies.
For more information about protections and financial assistance available to Texas renters, visit https://stoptxeviction.org/.
If you know of any updates that should be made to this page, please email CommunityAssistanceProject@law.utexas.edu.
August 26, 2021: The U.S. Supreme Court blocked the CDC’s national moratorium on evictions. which was set to run through October 2021. The Supreme Court ruling did not affect any of the protections for renters that several cities and counties have adopted in Texas.
October 7, 2021: HUD issued an interim rule that prohibits the eviction of tenants facing eviction for nonpayment of rent from HUD-subsidized housing, as well as certain properties with tenant-based rental assistance, unless the landlord provides the tenant with a 30-day notice period. The notice must also include information about available federal emergency rental assistance. Here is HUD’s press release announcing the rule.
CARES Act 30-Day Notice, March 27, 2020
Landlords covered under the CARES Act must provide tenants with a 30-day notice before proceeding with an eviction action for nonpayment of rent. According to HUD, this requirement under Section 4024(c)(1) of the CARES Act was still in effect as of August 1, 2021. The following properties are covered by this protection: (1) Low Income Housing Tax Credit properties; (2) single-family and multifamily properties backed by federal loans (Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac/USDA/FHA/VA); and (3) most federally-subsidized rental housing properties (e.g., public housing, Section 8 vouchers, project-based Section 8 and others).
- This site covers how to identify whether a property is covered by the CARES Act. Here is a map showing which multifamily rental properties in Texas are covered by the CARES Act. Note that this map does not include covered single-family properties.
- The National Low Income Housing Coalition is tracking which properties are covered by the CARES Act. This list is not comprehensive and does not include single-family rental homes of 1-4 units and does not include all of the multifamily properties backed with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgages.
Additional federal protections
- Under the CARES Act and additional federal guidance, while in forbearance from making mortgage payments under a federally-backed mortgage, multifamily landlords (5 or more units) must provide the following protections for renters:
- Suspend evictions for renters based on nonpayment of rent, fees, or other charges.
- Provide tenants with flexibility to repay back rent over time and not in a lump sum (for HUD/FHA and Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac properties).
- Not charge tenants late fees or penalties for nonpayment of rent.
- Give tenants at least a 30-day notice to vacate before proceeding with an eviction action.
- Inform tenants in writing about the protections.
- On October 1, 2021, the forbearance option (which triggers the tenant protections) was extended until further notice from the FHFA for multifamily properties with federally-backed mortgages (e.g., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac).
STATE OF TEXAS
Supreme Court of Texas
Here’s a link to all of the Texas Supreme Court’s emergency orders still in effect.
September 21, 2021: The Texas Supreme Court issued Emergency Order 42 extending the Texas Eviction Diversion Program through December 1, 2021. The order includes information that landlords evicting tenants must include in their eviction petition and citation when the eviction is based on nonpayment of rent.
The goal of the Eviction Diversion Program is to reduce the number of evictions by creating a forum for landlords and tenants to agree upon the resolution of nonpayment of rent issues, supported with rental assistance for tenants via federal funding distributed through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. The Eviction Diversion program allows an eviction proceeding to be abated for 60 days upon agreement of the landlord and tenant and makes court records confidential for participants in the program while the eviction cases are abated.
Under the Program:
- Landlords must review information about the Program on the Office of Court Administration website before filing an eviction case. In their eviction citations issued to tenants, landlords must (1) affirm they reviewed the program information and (2) include a specific notice to tenants and a copy of the State of Texas Eviction Diversion Program brochure.
- On the eviction trial date, the judge must discuss the Program with the landlord and tenant and ask whether they are interested in the program.
- At any time during the 60-day period, a landlord in an abatement agreement can file a motion to reinstate the eviction case, and the eviction trial must then be set within 21 days.
This website includes useful information about the Program, including landlord and tenant eligibility criteria. Additional information on the Eviction Diversion Program is available here. The Texas Legal Services Center has also established a toll-free hotline to assist individuals seeking legal assistance at 855-270-7655. And the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs has a website and a toll-free hotline to provide information at 800-525-0657 or 512-475-3800 (pick option 4).
August 7, 2020: The Texas Attorney General issued a non-binding opinion stating that Texas local governmental jurisdictions do not have authority during a disaster to prohibit, delay, or restrict the issuance of a notice to vacate for an eviction.
LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN TEXAS
Right to cure/grace period to catch up on rent
- Austin. Here’s an informational sheet created by BASTA on Austin’s renter protections.
- October 14, 2021: The Austin City Council extended its 60-day catch up on rent ordinance, which was originally adopted in March 2020. The ordinance applies to cases involving a tenant’s failure to pay rent where the tenant loses income during the COVID pandemic or otherwise falls behind on rent because of the pandemic. Through October 31, 2021, the ordinance requires landlords to provide these tenants with a “notice of proposed eviction” at least 60 days before proceeding with a notice to vacate, which is required under state law before a landlord can file an eviction. The notice of proposed eviction must provide tenants with the “right to cure” any late payments in at least 60 days. On November 1, the notice requirement drops to 45 days, and on December 1 it drops to 28 days.
- Dallas. April 22, 2020: The City Council adopted protections to help renters avoid eviction from their homes due to nonpayment of rent. The protections resemble those previously adopted by the Austin City Council and require residential landlords to issue tenants a “Notice of Possible Eviction” before sending a notice to vacate for nonpayment of rent. The notice must include information on rental assistance programs and provide tenants with at least 21 days to negotiate lease payment agreements with their landlords. If a tenant provides proof of financial hardship due to COVID-19, their landlord must provide the tenant with 60 days to catch up on the late rent or enter into a payment plan. Here is more information about the Dallas eviction protections. The Dallas protections expire upon the Governor’s termination of the State of Disaster due to COVID-19.
- San Marcos. April 2020: The San Marcos city council adopted an ordinance giving tenants a 90-day right to cure any delinquency as a result of the pandemic. Landlords must provide tenants with a Notice of Proposed Eviction giving tenants at least 90 days to catch up on any late rent payments before proceeding with a notice to vacate. The ordinance expires upon the expiration of the city’s disaster declaration.
Local policies governing eviction notices and hearings:
- Austin (see also Travis County below)
- October 15th, 2021: Austin Mayor Adler issued an updated order extending the city’s ban on certain notices to vacate in residential evictions. Similar to the Travis County Judge’s order (see below), from October 16, 2021 through October 31, 2021, if (1) a tenant’s rent is $2,475 a month or less, landlords can only give notices to vacate for nonpayment if a tenant owes more than 3 months rent AND (2) the landlord has exhausted all rental assistance remedies or either the landlord or tenant are ineligible for any rental assistance. The landlord must notify the tenant within 7 days of the applicaton for rental relief. From November 1, 2021, through November 30, 2021, the level of late rent changes to one month. From December 1 through December 31, 2021, there is no longer a limit regarding the length of time the rent has been late, but landlords must still meet the other requirements of the order. The order includes some additional exceptions.
- Here is a helpful flyer from BASTA explaining these protections.
- San Antonio
- April 7, 2020: The Bexar County Justice Courts issued an order requiring that eviction cases be abated upon a CDC declaration being provided to the landlord. The order sets out procedures for when an eviction may proceed. An eviction lawsuit must also state whether a property is a CARES Act covered property, whether a 30-day notice was issued, and whether the landlord received the CDC declaration from the tenant. The order runs through June 30, 2021. As of July 23, 2021, many of the Justices of the Peace were still following these procedures.
- June 25, 2020: The San Antonio City Council adopted an ordinance requiring landlords to send tenants a notice of tenants’ rights whenever they send out a notice to vacate. The landlord must provide a copy of the notice created by the City. The notice includes information on housing assistance resources, outlines the eviction process, and provides a link to a self-help information packet with advocacy information. The ordinance applies to all residential landlords in the city limits.
- Travis County
- October 15, 2021: Travis County Judge Andy Brown has extended the County’s order barring certain notices to vacate in residential evictions to December 31st, 2021. From October 16, 2021 through October 31, 2021, if (1) a tenant’s rent is $2,475 a month or less, landlords can only give notices to vacate for nonpayment if a tenant owes more than 3 months rent AND (2) the landlord has exhausted all rental assistance remedies or either the landlord or tenant are ineligible for any rental assistance. The landlord must notify the tenant within 7 days of the applicaton for rental relief. From November 1, 2021, through November 30, 2021, the level of late rent changes to one month. From December 1 through December 31, 2021, there is no longer a limit regarding the length of time the rent has been late, but landlords must still meet the other requirements of the order. The order includes some additional exceptions.
- October 15, 2021: The Travis County Justices of the Peace issued an updated order abating certain eviction trials through December 31, 2021. An eviction case will be put on hold if (1) the grounds for eviction are solely for nonpayment of rent; (2) the tenant’s portion of the rent is less than $2,475 a month, and (3) it is alleged that the tenant owes less than the total of two months rent. The order includes additional requirements that the landlord’s petition must meet.