AUSTIN, TX — On March 31, the Texas Supreme Court's 34th Emergency Order expired.
So what does this mean for Texans?
To begin, eviction cases have been governed by the Texas Supreme Court's Emergency Orders, not the CDC's Eviction Moratorium, which has already been extended until June 30.
However, nothing in the text of the CDC's Eviction Moratorium directly forbids or directs state courts to take any action.
Rather, the CDC directed landlords to not evict any of their tenants that are covered by their moratorium. On that note, the civil and criminal penalties for landlords who violate the CDC's eviction moratorium... are reportedly between the tenant, the landlord, and possibly a federal prosecutor.
So with the 34th Emergency Order expired... what protections are left for renters in Texas?
36th Emergency Order - Effective March 5, expires June 1, 2021.
Provides guidance allowing remote and in-person court proceedings to allow COVID-19 safety protocols.
For more information, read the 36th Emergency Order here.
35th Emergency Order - Effective February 15; expires May 12, 2021.
This order expands the Texas Eviction Diversion Program, which is meant to help curb a surge of COVID-related evictions, assist vulnerable tenants, and provide an alternative to eviction for landlords. Eligibility for the program will be determined by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA).
For more information, read the 35th Emergency Order here.
Additionally, if the property is a covered dwelling and the eviction is based on nonpayment, landowners are still required to give a 30-day notice to vacate.
As part of the CARES Act, this requirement did not expire on March 31.
With the expiration of the 34th Emergency Order, newly filed eviction cases and previously paused ones, no longer have the protection of a federal moratorium in Texas courts. Rather, judges can set new hearings to ask landlords if they still want to move forward with their evictions.
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