TX Supreme Court Halts All Evictions and COVID-19 TMHA Update

The Texas Supreme Court has issued a statewide moratorium on evictions until at least April 30 The only exception are for cases when: “Landlords may proceed with eviction cases only if the actions of the occupants ‘pose an imminent threat’ of physical harm to the landlord, the landlord’s employees or other tenants, or if the occupants are engaging in criminal activity.”

Prior to yesterday’s announcement, several cities and counties had placed local restrictions on evictions, but now the moratorium applies statewide.

We certainly understand the potential impact such a mortarium may have on our community owners.  We know that operators across the state are making business decisions as to how they are proceeding forward.  Some are opting for late payment waivers and are working with tenants on payment plan options.  Others have not altered their traditional operations, other than now the court closures and moratoriums that have been put in place.

TMHA strongly encourages our members to consult with their attorneys as to any plans of action, and business decisions they are facing in the days and weeks ahead. 

TMHA would advise members, in consultation with their own legal counsel, to apply any operational changes universally to all residents and consumers.  Specific individual selective treatment of some tenants or customers to the exclusion of others could be significantly problematic for liability purposes and should now (and always) be avoided as a best practice.

As we are all aware these are unprecedented times.  Texas has been declared in a state of a, “public health disaster,” which is the first time such a declaration has been made since 1901.

Also, yesterday Gov. Abbott issued an executive order to avoid “social gatherings,” of more than 10 people.  The order states, “people shall avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, or visiting gyms or massage parlors; provided, however, that the use of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options is allowed and highly encouraged throughout the limited duration of this executive order.”  The order goes on to say, “people shall not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance,” and the governor also closed all schools.  The order is effective until at least April 3.

However, businesses and employers, other than those enumerated in the governor’s order, can remain open and are not impacted by yesterday’s order, other than they are highly encouraged to only have essentially employees present and allow others to work remotely. As well as follow all workplace guidelines from the CDC and Texas Department of Health and Human Services.

TMHA pledges to provide membership updates on definitive, actionable information that pertains to our industry as soon as it becomes available.  These extremely difficult times and hardships are impacting us all. 

Finally, Gov. Abbott said they predict “tens of thousands” of cases in the next two weeks, which unfortunately could mean there is more immediate bad news coming before we can see the light at the end of this.