‘It’s Fairly Merciless’ – Texas To Resume Evictions As San Antonio Renter Protection Ordinance Dies

Eviction restrictions are still in place in some Texas cities, but they’re due to expire in the next few weeks.

By Dominic Anthony WalshMay 18, 2020 10:08 am, , , , ,

From Texas Public Radio:

The Texas Supreme Court’s statewide hold on eviction proceedings ends on Monday. Some cities and counties have implemented their own extensions, and many renters are protected under federal law. But unprotected renters without the ability to pay rent are at the mercy of their landlords.

“The legal process in the state of Texas is — it’s fairly merciless with regard to residential tenants,” he said. “And so tenants have to rely on the discretion of the landlords,” said Nelson Mock, a managing attorney with Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid.

Many municipalities have put short-term protections in place. The City of Houston and several others started emergency financial assistance programs. In Houston, the $15 million fund dried up in 90 minutes.

Austin and San Marcos barred landlords from issuing notices to vacate until July, at the earliest. Other cities, like Dallas, have protections in place for renters who can prove financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. El Paso put a hold on notices to vacate and evictions until local emergency orders are lifted. None of those ordinances prevent eviction proceedings or waive a tenant’s obligation to pay rent.

A similar ordinance failed in San Antonio after landlords threatened legal action.

In Bexar County and elsewhere, courts aren’t hearing any eviction cases until June. And under the federal CARES Act, about 50% of rental properties in the San Antonio area are protected until August. But once those deadlines roll around, advocates fear a wave of mass evictions.

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