Extended Again…TX Supreme Court Extends Emergency Order Pertaining to Eviction Process
The Texas Supreme Court has once again issued and renewed its Emergency Order impacting the eviction process in the state. This is the 54th Emergency Order, and relates to previous posts we have made to keep our members updated with the current requirements.
The order renews the previous order relating to the Texas Eviction Diversion Program. The order justifies the renewal for the eviction diversion provisions based on a March 14, 2022, Department of Treasury allocation to TDHCA and eight jurisdictions in Texas with a total of $89.7 million in additional rental assistance funds. TDHCA has not reopened its new application portal with these funds but is processing previously submitted applications.
The original program paid out all allocated money back in November of 2021. But due to the infusion in March, the court is renewing the emergency order.
We have covered this previously, but as a reminder the order requires additional citation requirements that state:
“You may be able to have some of the rent you owe paid and stop your eviction. Find out more about available rental assistance programs in your area at https://www. consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/mortgage-and-housing-assistance/ renter-protections/find-help-with-rent-and-utilities/. If there is an available rental assistance program in your area, tell the judge you are interested in participating. To find out more about what to tell the judge and what may happen with your eviction, visit www.TexasLawHelp.org or call Texas Legal Services Center for assistance at 855-270-7655.”
The citation must also include the above statement in Spanish.
At an eviction trial the judge is required to: 1) allow legal aid services, if available, to tenants; 2) confirm if rental assistance has been applied for the tenant; 3) whether the landlord has provided any information to the tenant about rental assistance; 4) if assistance is available, the judge will discuss the programs with the parties and determine if they want to participate, which if they do will abate the eviction action for 60-days and seal the records of the action confidentially.
Property owners are not required to enroll or participate in rental assistance programs and may motion (but it is a specific motion) to reinstate a case that was abated at any time if the owner withdraws from the program, or the application is denied or otherwise cancelled.
This renewed order only addresses the citation and hearing process. There are no additional pleading requirements.
The order is effective through November 1, 2022.
It is critical to know that if an eviction has been abated, but the landlord wants to reinstate the eviction because they no longer want to participate in the program, or the tenant application was denied, then the landlord must file the proper motion within the 60-day abatement. Failing to timely file a motion for reinstatement will result in the court dismissing the case, “with prejudice,“ on the day after the end of the abatement period. This means this same nonpayment case for the same time period may not be re-filed.
Landlords should consider before any eviction action if they want to participate in any eviction assistance programs, or if they want their rights to their property back. It is also important to know the eviction process, which we have several resources to help, and that the person representing the landlord in the eviction process is knowledge about the requirements, emergency orders, choice to participate or not in any rental assistance programs, and be prepared to be asked about them from the judge.
We will continue to update our members with additional orders or changes.