Texas Supreme Court extends state program helping tenants avoid eviction until October 1st
AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The Texas Supreme Court extended the state’s eviction diversion program to last until October 1, when it was supposed to end today.
The federal moratorium requirement will soon be lifted to allow landlords to kick people out of their homes behind on rent, but the State Supreme Court extended this program to still help those still economically impacted by COVID-19.
“The economic pain caused by the pandemic is still somewhat ongoing,” said Bobby Wilkinson, executive director for the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. “For anyone, if you miss a few months of rent, it’s hard to catch up.”
The program now allows court cases to be delayed up to 60 days giving time for the state to pay off someone’s overdue rent in a timely manner.
This extension is important in Amarillo to keep renters from losing their homes.
“Adequate housing was in a terrible shortage for low income folks before we had the pandemic, and now its even worse,” said Kay Pechin, managing attorney at Legal Aid of Northwest Texas.
The program also places priority now for those behind on utility payments.
“When someone has a utility disconnect notice, we’ll fast track those just like we do for evictions,” said Wilkinson. “Obviously that tenant is in more acute dire need, and we need to hurry to get the money out the door to them.”
In order to be in the program, both the tenant and landlord will have to agree to participate, but Pechin has already seen landlords prepared to not participate with the moratorium being lifted on Saturday.
“We are seeing an increase of evictions here,” said Pechin. “I had a conversation with a landlord recently who said he’s not going to do the Texas eviction diversion program anymore.”
For anyone who may qualify for the program visit their website or call (833) 989-7368.
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