DALLAS — A special Dallas City Council committee voted Thursday to recommend a proposed ordinance addressing landlord-tenant matters, like evictions, in light of COVID-19.
The group made the decision after an executive session discussion that included input from advocates on all sides of the controversial issue.
It is a stressful time for individuals and families across the city of Dallas. Right now, the environment of uncertainty has many renters and landlords on edge.
“We were hearing about housing issues and evictions well before COVID-19,” said Rev. Wes Helm, the faith In formation manager for Faith in Texas. The organization has been pushing for eviction relief, while working with residents who have been burdened by housing costs.
"Since COVID-19 hit, it’s kind of stomped on the gas pedal for that," Helm said.
Faith in Texas is among advocates who have been discussing strategies with city leaders to help keep individuals and families in their homes during this crisis. They know many people haven’t been working, money isn’t coming in, and bills are still due.
"You’ve got to understand what’s it’s like to get a notice to vacate,” Helm said. “Saying, even under normal conditions, it is so frightening to think am I going to come home tomorrow and locks are changed, and my stuff’s out on the curb.”
The Dallas City Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19 Human and Social Recovery and Assistance took up the topic of a proposed landlord-tenant ordinance on Thursday.
“We’re going through some tough times, that goes without saying," Committee Chair and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Adam McGough said.
The group is expected to forward its recommendations to the mayor for consideration.
"At the end of the day, what I think we all want, is we want people to suffer less. We’re all suffering to a certain extent," McGough added.
What is unclear are the specific details that were approved in the landlord-tenant COVID-19 recommendations.
The committee mentioned several attorneys provided guidance, along with advocates, stakeholders and city staff.
While the proposed ordinance likely provides layers of protection for tenants, Helm isn’t ignoring the impact on landlords.
“We want to say to landlords too, we see you too and the struggles you are facing, and how scary of a moment that this could be for you as well," Helm said.
The committee says the proposed landlord-tenant ordinance will be made public once the mayor has been notified.
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