With just a week before its validity would come to an end, the Texas Supreme Court ruled to extend a state eviction diversion program as part of the government’s pandemic response, effectively preventing owners of houses and apartments for lease from evicting delinquent renters.
.The decision, which extended its validity until October 1, came a week before the eviction diversion program is supposedly expiring on July 27.
Under the extended eviction diversion program which took effect in September last year, landlords and tenants may qualify for Federal CARES Act which guarantees government rental subsidy and legal assistance for Texans facing eviction cases in court.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced sometime in September the creation of the Texas Eviction Diversion Program which hinted at $171 million in federal government funds from where payment for rentals would be drawn.
The program however would require both the landlord and the tenant to take part in the process embarking on 15 months of government’s rental and utility assistance for tenants. Only then would the court pursue to delay eviction up to 60 days to give way to the court-administered state assistance proceedings.
Once the court seals the application, the landlords are guaranteed to receive lump-sum payments covering the period of which the tenant has failed to pay in view of COVID-19 triggered job and business losses.
An approved application also effectively dismisses the eviction case filed against the tenant for non-payment of rent.
Interestingly, only Texans who are earning below 80 percent of the median income facing eviction cases may qualify.
Sometime in February this year, the government also hinted at a $1.3 billion statewide rent relief program even for those who have already qualified under the federal CARE Act.
The state-wide relief program is primarily aimed at preventing housing instability in view of evictions.
According to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, the government has so far benefitted at least 80,000 households, including the 10,000 families who have already received some $90 million in assistance through the eviction diversion program.