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Dallas mayor addresses rent concerns amid COVID-19 pandemic

"I want to say something directly to you. Have a heart, have a heart. These are incredibly difficult times for everyone," Mayor Johnson said.

DALLAS — Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson addressed the growing concern about people who are unemployed and can't pay the rent.

He has a message for landlords. 

"I want to say something directly to you. Have a heart, have a heart. These are incredibly difficult times for everyone," Mayor Johnson said.

But he also has a message for renters.

"I want you to remember your landlords have bills to pay too, so I am encouraging everyone to work together," Mayor Johnson said.

There are multiple national, state and local orders prohibiting landlords from evicting tenants for 60 days.  But that doesn't mean renters don't owe rent. 

RELATED: Some North Texas renters say they are being threatened with eviction, despite ban during COVID-19 pandemic

WFAA spoke to Justice of the Peace Katina Whitfield who hears eviction cases in her courtroom. 

"I think it's important that tenants understand that the order does not relieve them of any financial obligations that they have and the landlord can move forward with any collection practices that they would normally do," Judge Whitfield said.

Justice of the Peace judges won't hold any eviction hearings until at least May 18.  

Judge Whitfield said it's something she is not looking forward to.

"I honestly feel conflicted, but I still have a duty to uphold the property code," Judge Whitfield said. 

Some Dallas City Council members are trying to pass an ordinance that would make it harder for renters to be evicted, but they haven't ironed out all the details.

Click here to read the full proposed ordinance.

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