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Renters face uncertainty as Dallas County freeze on eviction cases ends

The City of Dallas has an ordinance in place that protects renters and requires landlords to provide 21-day notice before proceeding with eviction cases

DALLAS — Hundreds of renters in Dallas County face uncertainty as the freezing of new nonpayment of rent evictions at Justice of the Peace courts expires Wednesday.

William Woods worked as a ride-share driver for five years until earlier this year.

Once the pandemic hit in March, Woods, 61, had to change course. 

“I have underlying health conditions, with heart and kidney problems,” Woods said.

He receives disability payments, but without a steady income stream from work, he quickly fell behind on rent. 

“People out here are hurting, they’ve lost their job,” Woods said.

Now he faces uncertainty surrounding housing too.

From his car Wednesday, Woods showed WFAA what, he says, is an eviction notice from his landlord and an order to appear in court on Aug. 27.

“Unless I come up with $2,500,” Woods said.

And he’s not alone. 

According to the Census Bureau, nearly 25 million Americans reported they likely would be unable to pay rent in the next month.

RELATED: The federal eviction moratorium is expiring, putting millions at risk of losing housing

“There’s going to be a lot of people homeless and I’m one of them,” Woods said.

On Wednesday afternoon, a handful of workers from the restaurant and service industry demonstrated outside the Dallas offices of Senator Ted Cruz and Sen. John Cornyn, urging Congress to pass a bill restoring the now expired extra $600 a week in federal unemployment insurance.

Dallas attorney Mark Melton started answering questions about evictions on social media when the coronavirus took hold in March in North Texas. Since then, he’s enlisted up to 150 lawyers to help those facing eviction proceedings.

“This isn’t a deal where the cliff is around the corner or in front of us,” Melton said. “We’re literally falling of it right now.”

The City of Dallas has a COVID-19 eviction ordinance in place that provides tenants 60 days to prove hardship because of the pandemic and come up with a way to pay outstanding rent.

If you live outside the city but still within Dallas County, the freeze on non-payment of rent evictions expired Wednesday. 

Woods said he is prepared to go to court later this month to challenge the eviction notice.

Although the Dallas county moratorium has ended, The city of Dallas eviction ordinance has not expired it will continue until the State of Disaster due to COVID is terminated by the governor or the city of Dallas Mayor termination of local disaster, whichever of the two comes later.

Rental assistance resources:

Catholic Charities - emergency assistance

United Way - rental assistance

Dallas Housing Authority - affordable housing

Texas Tenant’s union