Housing Advocates Say Houston’s Approaching an Eviction ‘Doomsday’

July 20, 2020

Houston-area housing advocates are expecting a new surge in eviction notices beginning July 25 when some federal protections expire, allowing landlords to resume evictions at federally subsidized properties. 

"July 25 is on our calendar as doomsday; we are expecting a significant uptick in the number of people who call us to say that they've received a notice to vacate. And 30 days after that, there's going to be a flood, tsunami — call it whatever natural disaster you want — of eviction cases filed in the courts," said Dana Karni, a Houston attorney with Lone Star Legal Aid. 

The new wave of filings will pile up on top of the more than 5,500 eviction cases landlords have filed in Harris County since the state Supreme Court's COVID-19 eviction moratorium went into effect on March 19, according to research from January Advisors.  

The expiration of the CARES Act eviction policy marks the end of emergency protection for renters in the Houston area. But in other parts of the state, county and city officials are still protecting renters with additional measures.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has said he opposes a grace period ordinance, though at least half of council members have said they would support the law. 

"We could put it up on the agenda, but the reality is that even if you put a hold on, let's say, people, paying this month's rent or next month's rent, at the end of that period of time the obligation is still there," Turner told Houston Matters Special Edition last week. 

Turner said help should come from the federal government instead.

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