Evictions in Texas During the COVID-19 Pandemic

8/27/21 UPDATE: The CDC’s order to extend the eviction moratorium until October 3 is no longer valid and Texas courts are allowing eviction hearings to proceed. Learn more on our Housing Resources page. 

People with disabilities may face evictions in Texas during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn about the options available to help you stay in your home.

Can I be evicted if I can’t pay my rent?

You might be able to stop the eviction with a reasonable accommodation request or the Texas Rent Relief Program.

A reasonable accommodation request may help you avoid eviction. Some reasons why you might need a reasonable accommodation are:

The Texas Rent Relief Program offers rental assistance to tenants who need help paying rent or utility bills. Click here to find out if you qualify and apply.

What do I do if my landlord files an eviction or if I have a court hearing for an eviction because I can’t pay rent?

  1. File an Administrative Complaint with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    You can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) if your landlord has wrongly proceeded with an eviction for non-payment of rent, if there is an issue with debt collectors (which can include attorneys trying to evict tenants in violation of the CDC Order). Consumers can submit a complaint to the CFPB online or by calling the CFPB at (855) 411-2372.

What should I do if the court has entered an order evicting me?

  1. Appeal the Eviction
    You only have five days to file an appeal from an eviction. You must act quickly if you want to appeal. For more information and instructions on how to appeal, check-out Texas Law Help’s Appealing an Eviction article.
  2. File an Administrative Complaint with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
    You can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) if your landlord has wrongly proceeded with an eviction for non-payment of rent, if there is an issue with debt collectors. Consumers can submit a complaint to the CFPB online or by calling the CFPB at (855) 411-2372.

Can I stop my landlord from filing an eviction for not paying rent?

You can send your landlord a request for an accommodation if the reason for your unpaid rent is related to a disability, including COVID-19. For example, you may have lost your job due to COVID-19. You can use our interactive Unpaid Rent Accommodation Request Generator to ask for more time to pay rent, delay or avoid eviction, or even forgive past rent.

This could apply if you or someone in the house has lost a job because of COVID-19, lost income because of COVID-19, or if losing a job or income is making someone in the household’s mental health worse. This tool lets people use the protections of federal civil rights laws to ask for more time.

Can I get unpaid rent forgiven because of my disability?

Maybe. You can give your landlord a reasonable accommodation request explaining that the unpaid rent was related to your disability or losing your job due to COVID-19.

You can use our interactive Unpaid Rent Accommodation Request Generator to ask for more time to pay rent, delay or avoid eviction, or even forgive past rent. This could apply if you or someone in the house has lost a job because of COVID-19, lost income because of COVID-19, or if losing a job or income is making someone in the household’s mental health worse. This tool lets people use the protections of federal civil rights laws to ask for more time.

What should I do if the landlord has already filed an eviction?

You must respond to the eviction and show up for the court date. If you are unable to go to the courthouse due to your disability or concerns about COVID-19, you should ask the court for an accommodation to attend the hearing remotely, either by phone or video call.

I want to stop daily notifications that I owe money because they are making my anxiety worse.

I am getting daily notifications/calls/texts that I owe the landlord back rent, fees and penalties. These notifications are making my anxiety worse by interfering with my everyday life activities like sleeping, eating, working, focusing, etc. Can I ask them to stop?

Yes. You can ask them to stop sending you these notifications as an accommodation (a change) to their policy because they are making your anxiety worse. To create an accommodation request that you can download and send to your landlord, use our Stop Debt Collector Harassment with Accommodation Request Letter tool.

Can I stop my landlord from trying to evict me even though I’ve paid rent?

Maybe. The CARES Act says that if you lived in a covered property, your landlord may be required to give you a 30-day notice to vacate before evicting you. Find out if you live in a covered property by searching the National Low Income Housing Coalition website database to see if your rental is included. If your rental is not included, you may still be protected. If your property is associated with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac you are protected by the CARES Act. You can ask your landlord (in writing) if their property loan (or loans) are associated in any way with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

What is the Texas Eviction Diversion Program?

The Texas Eviction Diversion Program (TEDP) helps eligible tenants who have been sued for eviction for not paying rent stay in their homes. Once an eviction has been filed, if both the landlord and the tenant are eligible to participate in the program, TEDP can provide up to six months of rental assistance. The money is paid to the landlord directly, the tenants stay in their homes, and late fees are waived. Check out the State of Texas Eviction Diversion Program brochure to learn more.

If you need assistance with any of the issues described above, please call our intake line at 1-833-212-4212, or email housing@drtx.org with your name, phone number, address, and a description of the issue.

Texas Rent Relief

The Texas Rent Relief program provides money to help tenants pay rent and utilities, including past due rent and utilities. You can apply for the program even if your landlord does not want to participate.

Additional housing resources

For more information about your housing rights during COVID-19, check out our other resources:

 

To request this handout in ASL, Braille, or as an audio file, contact us.

Date Created: March 24, 2020
Updated: August 27, 2021
Publication Code: HS4


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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.

The handout is not intended to and does not replace an attorney’s advice or assistance based on your particular situation.