Starting May 19, 2020, trials, hearings, and proceedings for residential evictions have been allowed to resume across the state of Texas. On March 19th, the Texas Supreme Court issued an order temporarily suspending residential eviction trials and certain related proceedings and deadlines, until various dates in mid-May. Residential eviction proceedings were allowed to resume, and deadlines are no longer tolled, effective May 19, and beginning today, May 26, 2020, warnings may be posted and writs of possession may be executed. As a result, as of today, residential evictions and related proceedings have resumed around the state except where limited by local or court order, subject to one additional procedural requirement for eviction proceedings filed during the core of the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas.
For eviction proceedings filed from March 27, 2020, through July 25, 2020, a sworn petition containing “a description of the facts and grounds for eviction” required by Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 510.3(a)(2) must state that the premises are not subject to the moratorium on evictions imposed by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which paused evictions for those homes until August 23. This order is effective immediately and expires July 25, 2020, unless extended by the Court.
Local orders imposing additional requirements on eviction and related proceedings include:
- City of Austin [Updated on May 7, 2020]: Austin’s mayor issued an order that prohibits landlords from giving residential or commercial tenants a Notice to Vacate for nonpayment or lease violations until July 25, 2020. (A Notice to Vacate is required prior to filing for an eviction in court.) The Austin City Council also passed an ordinance that, prior to May 9, required landlords to give 60 days written notice to tenants before they can file for eviction. The tenant has the right to make up for unpaid rent during this 60 days.
- Bexar County [Updated on May 19, 2020]: Halted eviction hearings for unpaid rent and lease violations until after June 1, 2020. Foreclosure proceedings within Bexar County are temporarily suspended to prevent the displacement of occupants until July 6, 2020.
- Collin County: Halted eviction hearings until after May 18, 2020, and enforcement of evictions until after May 25. This applies to both residential and commercial tenants.
- City of Dallas: For residential tenants, the City Council adopted an ordinance that requires a special 21 day “COVID Notice of Possible Eviction” before an eviction suit can proceed. If tenants respond to the COVID Notice within 21 days and show that they have been impacted by COVID-19, the tenant has 60 days to make up unpaid rent.
- Dallas County [Updated on May 19, 2020]: Justices of the Peace have collectively halted evictions hearings for unpaid rent until June 15, 2020, for any eviction case for nonpayment of rent filed after March 27, 2020.
- Denton County: Other than having to follow state and federal orders, Denton County has not independently halted evictions.
- San Marcos: Passed an ordinance that requires landlords to give 90 days written notice to residential tenants before issuing a notice to vacate, a precursor to filing an eviction lawsuit. The tenant has the right to make up for unpaid rent during this 90 days. Tenants have a right to get this 90 days notice until the City Council ends San Marcos’ disaster declaration. This order only applies for residential leases.
- Tarrant County: Video conference eviction hearings were allowed to resume as early as May 18, 2020. Effective June 1, 2020, Tarrant County will begin accepting in-person eviction appeals by appointment only for any cases where the appeal deadline fell on or after March 16, 2020.
- Travis County [Updated on April 30, 2020]: Halted evictions for unpaid rent and lease violations until after June 1. This applies to both residential and commercial leases, with the exception of a residential eviction resulting from a threat to a person.
- Val Verde County: Halted evictions until June 30.
Additional federal rules limiting relief against tenants in certain federally-supported properties, including those financed by a federally-backed mortgage or multifamily mortgage loan, and those that participate in certain federal housing assistance programs, were imposed by the federal CARES Act and remain in place. The above list is not exhaustive. Texas Law Help and the University of Texas have compiled relevant resources about the status of both commercial and residential evictions and foreclosures in your area. Please contact the attorneys at Jackson Walker for any additional guidance.
Kate Goodrich is a governmental affairs consultant in Jackson Walker’s Austin office. She started her career as a federally registered lobbyist in Washington, D.C., and grew to become a senior advisor to legislators at the Texas Capitol. Kate’s background in state and federal government gives her an in-depth and practical knowledge of the legislative and appropriations processes. She is a respected member of the governmental affairs community and has forged deep relationships at the Capitol and beyond. Kate graduated from the University of Texas School of Law and is licensed to practice law in the state of Texas.