Texas has Restarted Evictions.  Here’s What That Means for You.

Texas has Restarted Evictions. Here’s What That Means for You.

Patty Lamberti

Recently, Texas courts implied they would no longer honor the federal ban on evicting tenants because of COVID-19.

That means that tens of thousands of renters have already, or may soon, get eviction noticees. 

Although Congress recently approved billions of dollars to help people pay any back rent they owe landlords, that money has not made its way into bank accounts yet. 

Why you should  have hope even if you haven't been paying your rent. 

If you live in Texas and have received an eviction notice, don't cave in.

There are plenty of lawyers who are willing to help you fight the eviction notices. Some may even do so for free

But if those lawyers are too busy, our lawyers can help also for a reasonable fee. 

Having a lawyer on your side to fight your eviction almost always works. 

One study found that in eviction lawsuits nationwide, an estimated 90 percent of landlords have lawyers to help them.

Only 10 percent of tenants have legal help. .

Without an attorney, the majority of tenants lose their cases and are ultimately evicted.

With a lawyer, they almost always win and are allowed to stay in the property.

Often, landlords don't follow proper procedures during evictions. Judges may recognize this, and use their missteps as a reason to let you stay in your home.

A lawyer can also argue that any Texas landlord who evicts people right now, before the federal ban on evictions expires, are breaking federal law.

Technically, landlords could still face hefty fines and jail time for violating the CDC rules on evictions.

The federal residential eviction moratorium is not due to expire until June 30, 2021. (Many Texas landlords are themselves confused why Texas courts are ignoring this rule). 

In other words? Housing lawyers work. 

What happens if I receive an eviction notice?
Read it carefully. 
The type of notice will vary. Some tenants will have five days to pay their rent.
Tenants on a month-to-month lease may get a 28 day notice.

Don't panic. Or pack. 

Contact us for help as soon as you get an eviction notice or if you suspect one is coming. We'll match you up with potential lawyers for free. 

Will you be forced to move out once the eviction notice expires?
It depends.
Within the time period you were provided on the notice, you have the opportunity to work with your landlord on new agreements and work out payment methods. 
It is important that these agreements be in writing and signed by both parties to ensure there has been a document stating the new terms of the agreement.
If, within the eviction time period, you are not able to form a new agreement with your landlord, then your landlord has the right to file court documents which will require a court appearance. 

Otherwise, this is the process:


1: Notice to Vacate. The landlord must give the tenant at least 3 days to move out before they can file an eviction suit, though it could be shorter or longer according to the lease. This is when you want to see if you can work out a deal with your landlord. Remember that lawyers aren't just for hearings and court cases. They can help you negotiate too. 

2:  Filing of Eviction Suit. The eviction hearing cannot take place for at least 10 days after the petition is filed. You definitely want a lawyer at your side at this point. A lawyer can help you identify ways the landlord may have wronged you, from making discriminatory comments to not fixing items that are legally required to be maintained. 
3: Judgment. Once a judgment has been issued, no further action can take place for 5 days to give the parties the opportunity to appeal. Again, your lawyer can try to negotiate with your landlord. Otherwise, you can start appeal paperwork. 
4. Appeal. If the tenant files an appeal, the hearing cannot take place for at least 8 days.
5. Writ of Possession. Once there is a final judgment, the landlord can ask the judge for a writ of possession. This means local law enforcement must post a 24 hour notice before "executing the writ" and removing the tenant's property from the rental.

Is there emergency rent assistance?

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs has emergency rent and utility relief funds for those affected by the pandemic.

In fact, your landlord can access the funds too. 

You can find more details on their website or call them at  1-833-9TX-RENT.

Consequences of eviction

There are times in life when you must fight the system, even if you must spend some money to do so (remember...our lawyers are affordable).

Eviction is one of those times.

Being evicted can cost you far more than just the cost of finding a new place, or moving your stuff.

You probably know evictions make it hard to find future housing. But evictions are also associated with a slew of other problems, including:

  • health problems for fetuses 
  • increased rates of COVID-19
  • paying too much of your income on rent
  • moving into a place with another landlord who uses the threat of another eviction to intimidate you
  • mental health problems
  • increased credit card debt
  • lower credit scores

Don't assume you can't fight your eviction. Don't assume a lawyer will cost too much money. Reach out to us to chat.

This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.

Patty Lamberti

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