Fifteen months into this pandemic, the monthly struggle continues for two populations: People who’ve lost jobs or wages and can’t pay rent…and landlords. That lost rent is their lost income. Not only are landlords not getting paid; they might have been able to make more money in this red-hot housing market where rentals are in huge demand. But in many cases, they can’t evict delinquent tenants. Or can they?
The CDC still has a moratorium on evictions, which requires you to fill out a declaration form. That relief was first put in place in 2020. It is scheduled to go through June 30, 2021. That CDC rule had been backed up by a Texas order, but that state order expired March 31.
Texas judges have been told to essentially judge for themselves whether to keep enforcing the CDC protection. (See “TJCTC Statement on Various Interpretations of CDC Moratorium - Updated 4/12/21” here.)
Evictions already underway
Evictions are already underway in places like Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and Houston. And there may be more to come because now even the CDC’s moratorium has been invalidated by a court, and a legal battle is underway.
How bad could it get if all non-payers could be evicted?
Even those who’ve been protected from evictions still owe for the months they didn’t pay. If they get kicked out, they’ll have bad debt and that may make it hard for them to find another place to live.
Do they become homeless? And if so, how many people are at risk? We don’t fully know. But we do know that in a Census survey a few weeks ago, 1,191,796 Texas had "no confidence" or "slight confidence" that they could make the next month’s rent.
A lot of money available to help struggling renters and landlords
But there’s more than a billion dollars of federal money available in the Texas Rent Relief program to help renters pay and stay in their homes, and to help landlords get the money they’re owed.
Tens of millions of dollars have already gone out to more than 10,000 Texas households. One thousand of those were recently helped in a single day, so the program is gaining speed after a slow rollout.
Additionally, the Biden Administration just announced billions more in rent relief that will be doled out to states and localities to help ease the burden for renters and landlords who are struggling.