Via Dr. Elba Garcia – Dallas County Commissioner, District 4:
(it’s a long one full of answers. read carefully)
I want to thank all of our Dallas County communities, residents, small businesses and employees for their outstanding cooperation and hard work while we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. I know this is a rough time for our communities and residents who are struggling due to furloughs, business closures, and evictions.
As you may know, our Dallas County Judge, Clay Jenkins, has extended the Safer at Home order until 11:59 p.m. on April 30, 2020.
I am happy to announce that the Dallas County Tenant Hotline is now up and running. For those individuals experiencing hardships with paying rent and also possibly facing eviction, this hotline can provide information and help connect you with agencies and groups that may be able to provide some help. More details and contact information for the Dallas County Tenant Hotline is below.
Thank you for your continuous support and patience as our Commissioners Court is working diligently to keep everyone safe and get each individual back into the workforce as safely and responsibly as possible. I also want you to know that I appreciate the feedback and suggestions we have received from our residents and businesses. With everyone’s cooperation, patience and help, and continuing determination, we will overcome this struggle together.
To prevent renters from being displaced and to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19, Dallas County Justice of the Peace Courts have ordered:
- All currently filed and pending eviction cases are postponed and continued for at least 60 days from March 18, 2020 until May 18, 2020.
- Any eviction case filed during the 60 days following the date of this order shall not be set for trial until the expiration of at least 60 days from the date of this order.
- All writs of possession currently pending shall not be enforced by any means for at least 60 days from the date of this order; and
- No writ of possession shall issue for any eviction case for 60 days from the date of this order.
- Tenants engaged in criminal activity or causing an imminent threat to health and safety may be subject to eviction prior to the aforementioned date.
- Tenants maintain responsibility for paying their rent.
- Tenants are encouraged to contact their landlord and make sure they are aware when eviction moratoriums are in place.
- When having difficulty paying rent, tenants should attempt to make payments and/or establish a payment schedule with their landlord.
Once you have taken the above steps and for all other tenants, if you have been evicted or notified of a pending eviction, notify the Tenant Hotline by email or phone:
214-653-6563 or 833-743-0072 Please leave a message with your address, name and number and someone will contact you.
Dallas County Tenant Hotline Website
DALLAS COUNTY COURT INFORMATION
During the COVID-19 crisis, Courts are open remotely and may still hear cases via teleconference and video conference regarding the following matters:
- Request for Writ of Re-entry (when ILLEGALLY locked out by landlord)
- Repair and Remedy Cases (for uninhabitable living conditions)
- Peace Bonds
- Writs of Restoration of Utilities
- Emergency Detention Warrants
EVICTIONS, LANDLORD AND TENANT GUIDANCE
The Texas Supreme Court allows landowners to:
- Post a notice to vacate prior to filing an eviction lawsuit
- Allow the filing of the eviction lawsuit; and
- In very limited cases to allow the eviction lawsuit to proceed to judgment and a writ of possession to be issued and executed on the judgment.
The Texas Supreme Court chose to bar landowners/constables from doing the following:
- proceeding to trial on an eviction case (except in very limited circumstances)
- to have the court clerk issue a writ of possession that would give a constable authority to physically remove a tenant from the premises.
(Note: a writ of possession issues only after a judgment in favor of the owner/landlord – because the eviction case can no longer (while this order is enforce) be tried under the Supreme Court’s emergency order, there will not be a legal basis for the clerk to issue a writ of possession.)
- posting the notice required to be posted by the constable after a judgment has already been entered against a tenant but before the constable actually executes (or carries out) the writ of possession, which is when the constable would actually remove a person and their belongings from the premises. Because there can be no judgment or writs of possession issued, there will be no legal basis for a constable to provide the notice that a writ of possession will be executed.
(Note: unless a tenant leaves voluntarily, a writ of possession can only be executed by a proper law enforcement officer. While a landlord can still post a pre-suit notice to vacate and file an eviction suit under the Supreme Court’s orders, a landlord cannot then use a self-help remedy to physically remove a tenant. They must seek a writ of possession and execution of the writ by a peace officer. If a tenant is being forcibly removed by a landlord/owner, or the landlord is utilizing other methods to remove the tenant that are not allowed (i.e., lockout, shutting off utilities, etc.), then a complaint would be appropriate because such action by the owner/landlord would be in violation of the property code.
“Imminent Threat” Eviction Guidance – Texas Supreme Court
The Texas Supreme Court’s March 19th order stops residential eviction cases except for cases where the tenant’s conduct is either criminal activity or is an “imminent threat” to the health and safety of the plaintiff, plaintiff’s employee, or other tenants.
The CARES Act was signed by President Trump on March 27, 2020. Section 4024 applies to
All housing programs to which VAWA applies (public housing, project-based section 8, Housing Choice Vouchers, LIHTC, etc.) as well as the rural voucher program and properties with federally-backed mortgages (HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac; more detailed definitions are in that section). The effects include:
- No nonpayment evictions can be filed in any of these covered properties for 120 days from the effective date, which means until JULY 25.
- No notices to vacate for nonpayment may be issued in any of these properties until after the 120-day period expires, AND such Notices To Vacate (NTV) must be for at least 30 days or AUGUST 24TH.
- These covered properties may not charge late fees/other penalties for late payment during the 120-day period.
- The 30-day NTV requirement does not have an end date, and it is not limited to nonpayment cases. So other types of lease breaches during the 120-day period require a 30-day NTV, and all breaches (nonpayment and otherwise) after July 25 require a 30-day NTV.
The federal eviction moratorium does not affect the following
- Eviction cases that were filed before March 27, 2020;
- Eviction cases with purely private landlords with none of the funding described above; or
- Eviction cases in which the grounds for eviction are alleged non-rent breaches. Texas
Via Attorney Mark Melton on Facebook:
WORRIED ABOUT EVICTION? WE GOT YOU.Mark Melton
We know a lot of you have lost jobs and taken pay cuts. Rent is due in two days, and some of you just don’t have it for timely payment. We know you’re stressed, and we want help. The Texas Supreme Court has placed a moratorium on evictions until April 19th and Dallas County has one that lasts until May 18th. See link below to another post I made with details. Hopefully this gives you some time to get cash from government stimulus payments and unemployment (and hopefully new jobs) to make the back rent before the end of the moratorium.
We have over 50 DFW volunteer lawyers (and growing) on standby to answer your questions about your rights to remain in your home for now. If you’re concerned about getting evicted this week because you can’t make rent, you’re not alone.
Email us at [email protected]. I’ll get your questions to one of our volunteer lawyers, and they will reach out to you to answer your questions and get you the help you need (apologies for the email step…we’ve just gotten so many requests, I needed a central repository for requests so I don’t miss anyone).
These services are 100% pro bono (absolutely free). So please don’t hesitate to send that email.
Best of luck everyone. Stay safe out there.
Please share. If you’ve found this on a private group without a share button, go to my personal page. You can share from there.