City, County & JPs Take Action to Prevent Evictions Through December 31

COVID-19 News ,

In the past ten days, the City of Austin, Travis County, and the Travis County Justices of the Peace have all reissued existing Orders that were set to expire preventing evictions.  The reissued expiration date for each of the new Orders is now December 31 to coincide with the federal eviction moratorium rule set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). However, unlike the CDC rules, the local Orders do not require tenants to provide any documentation that they have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to gain the eviction protections.  In mid-September, the Austin City Council also extended to December 31, the requirement that before a tenant receives a notice to vacate due to non-payment of rent they must be first be given a 60-day Notice of Proposed Eviction and provided an opportunity to cure the rent delinquency. 

 

On Thursday, September 30, City of Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe issued Orders 20200930-20 and 2020-19 respectively.  Like the previous order, they replaced, these orders prohibit the issuance of a Notice to Vacate (NTV) until after December 31. The Orders also prohibit the removal of property or exclusion of a tenant by a property owner in the manners described in the applicable sections of the Texas Property Code. The City of Austin and Travis County are the only city and county in Texas where such orders remain. 

 

New language in the Orders gives “holdover” tenants remaining in the unit beyond the end of the lease term protections from a NTV.  Another Order amendment allows a NTV to be given if the monthly rent paid by a tenant exceeds $2,475 per month.  Remaining the same is that a NTV can be given when “the actions of the tenant, or the tenant's household members or guests, pose an imminent threat of (a) physical harm to the property owner, the property owner's employees, or other tenants, including other tenants within the household; or (b) criminal activity.”  Both Orders strongly encourage rental property owners to post a copy of the Orders onsite and to provide a copy to any member of the public asking for a copy, but these steps are not required.

 

As previously reported in an AAA Member Alert issued last week, on September 24, the Travis County Justices of the Peace (JP) issued their own Order (No. 9) stopping eviction trials until after December 31. Like the city and county Orders, the December 31 date aligns with the federal eviction moratorium implemented by the Centers for Disease Control. Under the CDC rules, residents can halt all eviction related activities such as an eviction filing, trials, and writs of posession until after December 31 once they declare themselves eligible for the eviction protections by submitting a CDC Declaration Form.

 

The JP Order also allows non-payment of rent evictions to proceed for any tenants making rent payments more than $2,475.00 per month, but the tenant can still halt any eviction action by presenting a CDC Declaration to the court.

 

For more information about the recent orders, 60-Day Notice ordinance extension or advocacy actions taken by the AAA contact AAA Executive Vice President Emily Blair at emily@austinaptassoc.com or Paul Cauduro, Director of Government Relations at paul@austinaptassoc.com or call 512-323-0990.