Here’s What You Need to Know as Rent Comes Due

August 3, 2020

A federal eviction moratorium expired last week, and housing attorneys are concerned about a potential surge in evictions across Texas during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Evictions are already resuming in many parts of Texas, leaving unemployed renters with few options and undocumented immigrants with even fewer in a system that housing attorneys — and some eviction judges — say is already stacked against tenants. 

The best way to find out if your residence was covered under this moratorium is to verify with your landlord. To do so, you can use this letter template created by Texas Housers, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, and BASTA Austin.

If your residence is covered by the CARES Act, beginning July 25, your landlord could serve you with a notice to vacate your residence for not paying rent, file nonpayment of rent eviction case or charge you a late fee for nonpayment of rent.

Landlords must provide renters living in properties covered by the moratorium with a 30-day notice to vacate before formally filing an eviction for any reason. So a landlord cannot initiate legal proceedings until Aug. 25. 

Landlords often report a tenant’s debts to debt collectors and credit reporting agencies, which then go on a renter’s credit report or tenant screening report, said Nelson Mock, a housing attorney with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. 

“Also, the filing of eviction cases, as well as the disposition of a case such as a dismissal or judgments, are picked up through public records by tenant screening agencies and credit reporting agencies, and those also get reported in credit reports and tenant screening reports. These all make it very difficult for a tenant to rent again,” he wrote in an email.

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