A combination of federal and local aid has helped thousands of Texans stay in their homes during the pandemic. The federal government’s moratorium on evictions ends today.
The hit couldn’t come at a worse time for jobless Texans, who are also losing the extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits from the federal government. That money has helped many who are out of work make ends meet.
Nationwide, as many as 12 million people are at risk of being evicted by the end of September due to the end of the moratorium. Housing advocates have predicted a tsunami of evictions if Congress doesn’t act to pass some sort of extension.
The state of Texas let its eviction protections lapse. Several Texas cities have taken steps to protect renters, so it is best to check locally to see what help is available.
If you are without the means to pay your rent, and there is no assistance available, there are some important things you should know.
If you live in a property covered by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stimulus Act, the soonest landlords can ask you to leave is Saturday. The soonest they can file an eviction to force you to leave is Aug. 24, and they can’t charge you late fees until after July 25.
Those deadlines could change if Congress acts on a new pandemic stimulus bill, but as of right now, there is no agreement on a new measure.
If you live in a complex with five or more units, you can find out if the property is covered by CARES here. If it has a lower number of units, it won’t be listed, so you’ll need to try other methods to find out if it is covered.
Evictions for those not living in housing covered by the CARES Act were allowed to resume back in May.
Regardless of the timeline you may be facing, it is best to communicate with your landlord because they may be willing to work something out and avoid the hassle of going to court for an eviction proceeding.
If your landlord does initiate evictions proceedings, make sure you are present for the hearing. If possible, having an attorney who is looking out for you is always best. State and local bar associations often have pro bono attorneys available to help.
Even if you wind up being evicted, you will still be liable for past rent owed. This is why it is important to communicate with your landlord about possible terms.
If in the end eviction can’t be avoided, seek help at 211.org, which is supported by United Way. It’s a free and confidential service that helps people across North America find the local resources they need 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
More information is available at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.