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Housing Rights During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Disabilty Rights Texas Handout
Created 7/23/2020
Publication Code: HS09

This handout can be made available in Braille or audio file upon request.

Then this handout may be of help to you.

Questions about ending a lease:

The COVID 19 pandemic has made me even more anxious than I was before and I’m having a hard time doing normal things like sleeping, eating, or focusing. I need to stay with friends or family so I can get the support I need. Can I end my lease early without paying penalties or fees? 

Yes. Because the pandemic is making your anxiety worse, you can end your lease early without penalty.

I lost my job or had my hours cut because of the COVID 19 pandemic. Because my job loss and everything else going on right now, I’m even more anxious than I was before and I’m having a hard time doing normal things like sleeping, eating, or focusing. I need to stay with friends or family so I can get the support I need. Can I end my lease early without paying penalties or fees? 

Yes.  Because the pandemic is making your anxiety worse, you can end your lease early without penalty.

I got COVID-19 and need help taking care of myself while I recover. Can I end my lease early without paying any penalties?

Yes. Because you have a disability and you need help caring for yourself, you can request an accommodation to terminate your lease early without penalty.

My landlord found out I had COVID-19 (or they think I have it) and has told me I have to move out. Can they do this?

No. A landlord cannot force you to move out because you have or had COVID-19.

Questions about people entering my home:

I am immunocompromised and vulnerable to COVID-19. Where I live is a hotspot for COVID right now. My landlord insists on repair staff coming into my home for trivial things without wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). What can I do in this situation?

You can likely request an accommodation that if it is not an essential repair that they do it at a later time. You can request that if it is an essential repair that they come in wearing proper PPE.

I am immunocompromised and vulnerable to COVID-19. Where I live is a hotspot for COVID right now. My landlord is forcing me to allow prospective renters to tour my home because my lease is about to end. What can I do in this situation?

You can request an accommodation that your landlord put off the showings for a time period or allow a virtual showings of your home instead of allowing people to come in and tour.

I need my CPAP machine to sleep at night so I can breathe while I sleep. My power outlets are not working, but my landlord said that does not count as an ‘emergency’ repair and they will not come fix the issue. Can they ignore my maintenance request?

Likely Not. Because you are a person with disabilities and this directly affects your ability to breath, you could likely get an accommodation for the landlord to repair the electric issue quickly versus having to wait for an unknown period of time.

Questions about flexibilty with moving out:

I take care of my son that is immunocompromised or is vulnerable to COVID-19. My landlord says I have to move out right now but I cannot go look at places to live because that would put my son at risk. What can I do?

You can ask your landlord for an accommodation to allow you more time to stay in your unit until it is safe for you to move.

I have been told to quarantine or self-isolate because I am COVID-19 positive or have been in close contact with someone who tested positive. My lease is over before my quarantine but I can not move without violating the quarantine or self-isolation directive. What can I do?

You can ask your landlord for an accommodation to allow you more time to stay in your unit until your quarantine or self-isolation period is over.

Questions about rent payments:

I cannot work because I need to self-quarantine. I do not have any income right now and am waiting for unemployment to come in. I am going to miss my rent deadline. What do I do?

If your rent will be late because someone thinks you have coronavirus or because you do have coronavirus, you can ask your landlord for an accommodation to pay your rent late without late fees.

My income has changed because of coronavirus and layoffs and I will not be able to pay my monthly rent. What do I do?

Call 211 for resources to help you with rent. If you live in a private rental, contact your landlord to see if they are willing to accommodate a flexible or amended payment plan. If you live in public housing or you have a housing choice vouche,r contact your PHA to let them know that there has been a change in your income and they should adjust your portion. If you live in a federally assisted property, contact the property management to have them adjust your portion.

If you are asking for an accommodation as discussed above, make the request in writing (even text or e-mail would work). When you ask for the accommodation, explain what is happening and why you need that specific accommodation. If you would like help in submitting an accommodation request to your landlord, please email us at housing@DRTx.org [1].

 

If you need assistance with any of the issues describe above, please call us. We are a nonprofit organization, and there is NO charge for our services. For help, contact us in any of the following ways:


Disability Rights Texas logo

www.DRTx.org
Intake: 1-800-252-9108
Main Line: 512-454-4816

Disclaimer: Disability Rights Texas strives to update its materials on an annual basis, and this handout is based upon the law at the time it was written. The law changes frequently and is subject to various interpretations by different courts. Future changes in the law may make some information in this handout inaccurate.

These handouts are not intended to, and do not replace an attorney’s advice or assistance based on your particular situation.