Texas Lifts Moratorium On Evictions, Leaving Houston Renters Vulnerable

Renters in Texas, many of whom have lost their jobs because of the pandemic, can now be kicked out of their homes.

By Elizabeth TrovallMay 22, 2020 5:00 pm, , , ,

From Houston Public Media:

The Texas Supreme Court lifted its moratorium on evictions this week. Now renters in Texas, many of whom have lost their jobs because of the pandemic, can be kicked out of their homes.

Some Texas cities are taking additional steps to delay evictions, but not Houston, making it the largest city in the country where evictions can resume.

Houston resident Bridgett Hewitt is afraid she might be evicted from her apartment, where she lives alone.

“I’m fixing to be three months behind in June,” Hewitt said.

When COVID-19 hit, Hewitt lost her job babysitting her granddaughter and niece, which brought in an additional $1,000 each month.

Now she relies on her $800 disability, which isn’t enough to cover her $900 rent.

She said when she spoke with her apartment manager, they warned her eviction notices were on the way.

“Nobody needs to be stressed out (about) whether they are going to have a place to live today and be homeless tomorrow. I can’t think like that right now,” she said.

Many people like Hewitt are vulnerable now that the eviction ban has been lifted. Attorneys who work with low-income clients are preparing for the worst.

“We anticipate that there will be a tsunami of evictions filed,” said Dana Karni, an attorney with Lone Star Legal Aid, which provides free legal representation to low-income Texans.

“I have no doubt about it, we are going to see homelessness,” she said.

Houston is one of the the first large cities in Texas resuming evictions, as other cities have implemented further protections. Eviction dockets are scheduled in at least half of Harris County’s 16 Justice of the Peace courts during the first week of June.

Austin and Dallas have both passed 60-day grace period ordinances to give tenants more time to pay rent.

Read more.


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