Texas Legal Guidance Highlights Challenges with CDC Moratorium and Landlords Should Take Note; Opines TenantScreeningUSA.com

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Recently Texas Justice Court Training Center released a new guidance related to the extended CDC eviction moratorium, one that may have significant impact on rental housing. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com opines: “The new guidance in Texas may allow for evictions to continue despite the recent extension of the CDC moratorium; and, subsequently, further highlights the need from all employers, not just in Texas but across the country, to work with a well-qualified third-party tenant screening agency, such as TenantScreeningUSA.com, in order to remain compliant with law.

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The guidance in Texas allowing for the continuation of evictions in some form may have a significant impact on both landlords and renters.

A new guidance from the Texas Justice Court Training Center may allow for certain evictions to continue despite the CDC eviction moratorium which extends Covid related eviction moratoriums through the end of June. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com, opines: “The guidance in Texas allowing for the continuation of evictions in some form may have a significant impact on both landlords and renters, and a best practice for landlords and property managers is to work with a well-qualified third-party tenant screening agency, such as TenantScreeningUSA.com, in order to remain compliant with law.

Initially Texas had a moratorium on evictions due to the Covid outbreak and subsequent loss of employment as related to Covid. But a recent guidance has changed policy on evictions.

From NBC Dallas-Fort Worth’s website on April 5, 2021:

… the Texas Justice Court Training Center issued new guidance to Texas Justice of the Peace Courts saying they do not have to enforce the CDC order, but the courts can advise landlords they may face a federal penalty for moving forward with an eviction for nonpayment of rent while the CDC order is in place.

The guidance says the CDC order does not explicitly direct courts to enforce the moratorium. The guidance says, in part, “Instead, it directs landlords to not evict tenants that are covered by the moratorium. It also provides civil and criminal penalties for landlords who violate the moratorium, but that is a matter between the tenant, the landlord, and potentially a federal prosecutor." (1)

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states: “The rules governing evictions during the CDC moratorium remain open to interpretation. Landlords and property managers should take immediate note.”

Up until March 31, 2021 Texas courts followed the Eviction Moratorium unilaterally, but starting April 1, 2021, the rules have changed.

From the website of the Texas Tribune on April 2, 2021:

To be protected by the CDC order, renters must sign a declaration stating they risk homelessness due to effects of the pandemic, among other requirements. The CDC order subjects violators to fines up to $100,000 and a year in jail. The penalties are steeper if violating the order results in death. Until March 31, justices of the peace in Texas played a key role enforcing it, halting eviction proceedings they believed violated the CDC order. Now it will be up to individual judges to decide whether to follow the federal orders. (2)

Almeida concludes: “The Texas guidance is the first to outline management of evictions conducted in the shadow of the CDC eviction moratorium, but may not be the last. Landlords should take immediate note. As always, a best practice remains to work with a well-qualified third-party tenant screening agency in order to remain compliant with law.”

TenantScreeningUSA.com provides full-service tenant screening for landlords and property managers of any size and can greatly assist in remaining fully compliant with all existing law governing tenant screening. With a highly trained and experienced staff, TenantScreeningUSA.com can provide help to landlords and property managers with all their tenant screening needs.

Notes:
(1)    nbcdfw.com/news/nbc-5-responds/some-evictions-may-proceed-in-texas-under-cdc-moratorium/2597502/
(2)    texastribune.org/2021/04/02/texas-eviction-moratorium/

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