Eviction Tidal Wave in San Antonio Feared After Federal Protections Ended Friday

July 27, 2020

When the CARES Act was signed into law on March 27, tenants living in federally-backed properties across the U.S. were promised protection from eviction for 120 days. In San Antonio, city officials estimated 4,542 properties, or 125,996 units, are protected under the mandate.

However, time is up.

Friday marked the expiration of the CARES Act protections. After that, to file for an eviction, landlords of federally-backed properties must issue a 30-day notice to vacate, which is the first step in the eviction process before the tenant and landlord appear in court. Under Texas law, for properties not backed by the U.S. government, renters are given a three-day notice to vacate before a landlord files a lawsuit.

Until now, the CARES Act applied to roughly half the renters in San Antonio, city officials estimate. Around mid-June, the local justice of the peace courts began hearing eviction cases for the other half—those living in non-federally-backed properties—after the Texas moratorium ended in late May. 

Clinical Professor of Law at St. Mary University’s Center for Legal and Social Justice Genevieve Hébert Fajardo noted that there’s no geographic trend to the tenants who have been reaching out to the housing legal advice hotline she runs in collaboration with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid and the University of Texas School of Law.

“The trend I have seen is, ‘I have lost my job,’ or, ‘My hours have been dramatically reduced due to COVID, I cannot afford my rent, I don’t know what to do,’” Fajardo said. She added that most people seeking assistance were fine before the pandemic hit in March.

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