You are here

COVID-19 Information for Texas

The purpose of this page is to provide apartment industry professionals with an overview of the issues affecting our industry with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The page is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute, and should not be construed as, legal advice. This resource is not intended to provide a mandatory standard of care for the industry.

State and Local Affiliates

Please remember to use your state or local apartment association as the primary resource for the most up-to-date information on your responsibilities. Find your local affiliate.

We highly suggest you contact a local attorney before you decide to initiate an eviction action against a resident in the current environment as overlaying federal, state and county laws or restrictions on the judicial process may apply. This includes: issuing a notice to vacate, initiating any eviction-related action, or assessing fees or penalties on residents for nonpayment of rent or other lease violations. In addition to the below, you can access NAA's statutory information on late fees, eviction laws and other policy issues.

Reopening Order

Under Texas’ current state of reopening, most non-essential businesses are able to reopen at 75 percent rated capacity. All businesses are encouraged to follow Minimum Health Protocols to reopen. 

Face Mask Mandate

Governor Abbot began requiring that any person over the age of 10 must wear face coverings in public outdoor and indoor spaces. Counties with 20 or fewer active COVID-19 cases are exempt from the order. 

State of Emergency 

On Tuesday, August 8, 2020, Governor Abbot issued a renewal of the state's disaster declaration until modified or rescinded. 

Eviction

TAA has updated its guidance to membership on the CDC Eviction Moratorium Order. 

Status: Evictions Can Resume (In Person)

Twenty-Fifth Supreme Court Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster

  • Action:  On September 17, 2020, the Supreme Court released guidance on the CDC’s Eviction Moratorium order, including what happens when a resident provides the declaration before or after an eviction action is filed. The order expires December 15, 2020.
  • Description: Housing providers must attest to whether their property is covered under the CARES act and notify tenants in any notice to vacate of the CDC Eviction Moratorium. The guidance includes the statement that must be included. Moreover, the guidance allows for housing providers to contest a resident’s declaration under the CDC order. When that occurs, the judge will hold a hearing to determine whether the action should proceed and then signs a written order detailing the reasoning for proceeding and how the case will proceed.

Court Order (Expired)

  • Action: On April 27, 2020, the Supreme Court of Texas issued an emergency order immediately extending its hold on most residential evictions through May 18, 2020, in line with the governor’s order to begin reopening business in the state. The April 27, 2020 order extends the timelines in the court’s first extension issued April 6, 2020. 
  • Scope: Evictions may still be filed but will not be heard until after May 18, 2020. Writs of possession will not be executed until after May 25, 2020. There is a limited exception for an eviction based on a person posing an imminent threat of physical harm to another resident or the rental property’s staff, or for criminal activity. The order applies statewide.
  • COVID-19 Related Impact Requirement: No.
  • Residents Responsible for Rent: Yes.

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

On September 25, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott announced the allocation of over $171 million in funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which will primarily be used for targeted rental assistance for Texans at risk of becoming homeless due to eviction. The funding will also allow the Supreme Court of Texas, the Office of Court Administration, and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) to work in partnership with local governments and non-profits and the newly created Texas Eviction Diversion Program (TEDP) to help renters stay in their homes, catch up on missed rental payments, and avoid an eviction on their records.

Out of these funds, $167 million will go to targeted rental assistance and $4.2 million will be allocated through the Texas Supreme Court to help the state’s legal aid providers and pro bono lawyers provide basic legal services to eligible Texans through this pandemic.

The TEDP is a voluntary program that permits eligible housing providers and residents to agree upon a resolution to the issues raised in an eviction case. If eligibility requirements are met, past due rent obligations may be eligible to be covered in full and the eviction case dismissed. More information on eligibility and the application process will be coming soon.

  • When a housing provider files an eviction case, the housing provider will be required to state in the petition that he/she has reviewed the information on this website.
  • All citations (notices that a resident has been sued for eviction) must contain the following statement and an attached copy of the "State of Texas Eviction Diversion Program" informational brochure (coming soon):
    • “You may be able to stop your eviction if you and your landlord agree to participate in the Texas Eviction Diversion Program.  At your trial, the court will notify you about the Program and ask if you are interested in participating.  Find out more about the Program in the attached brochure, titled State of Texas Eviction Diversion Program, and at http://www.txcourts.gov/eviction-diversion/.”​

On the date listed in the citation for the trial of the eviction case, the judge must discuss this program with the housing provider and resident and ask whether the housing provider and resident are interested in the program. If both the housing provider and resident indicate they are interested in the program, the judge is required to delay the proceedings for 60 days, make the records and information on the eviction case confidential, and inform the housing provider and resident about the reinstatement procedure discussed below.

At any time during the 60-day delay period, the housing provider can file a motion to reinstate the eviction case with the judge. The motion must be served on the resident. The judge is then required to reinstate the eviction case, set it for trial within 21 days, inform the parties how to proceed, and make the records and information non-confidential.

If the housing provider does not file a motion to reinstate the eviction case during the delay period, the judge is required to dismiss the case with prejudice. All records and information will remain confidential.

The eviction diversion program is effective on October 12 for cases filed in the pilot counties identified by the Office of Court Administration. Pilot counties will be announced soon. The eviction diversion program is scheduled to become effective on November 9 in all counties. Eligibility criteria for rental assistance under the eviction diversion program will be announced soon. Check back here for more information.

Additionally, Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) announced that Texas will provide HOME Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) to Texans experiencing housing challenges due to COVID-19. These TBRA funds have been made possible through a series of waivers recently authorized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These waivers give Texas the flexibility needed to provide assistance to Texans in need. Governor Abbott and TDHCA initially requested these federal waivers on April 1. 

The HUD waivers will allow a portion of TDHCA funds to be used to help families and individuals with up to 100 percent of the cost of rent, security deposit payments and utility bills for tenants affected by loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to $11.3 million will be available to current TBRA administrators in coming weeks who will then distribute the aid to qualifying Texans. 

Individuals needing assistance should visit Help for Texans to search for rental assistance providers in their area. Simply click Long Term Rent Payment Help, enter the city or county, and click on the Find Help button.

Rent Freeze

No rent freeze is in effect at the state or local level. Local rent regulation is preempted by TX § 214.902.

Price-Gouging Law

Under Texas Code, § 17.46.(b)(27), it is unlawful to take advantage of a disaster or declared emergency by selling or leasing fuel, food, medicine, or another necessity at an exorbitant or excessive price. Housing or shelter is not specifically defined in the statutory language.

Local Legal and Regulatory Information

Austin

Eviction

Status: Eviction Filings and Removals Prohibited

Mayoral Order 20200724-18

  • Action: Prohibits the issuance of Notices to Vacate through September 30, 2020, except where there is an imminent threat of physical harm to property management or other residents, criminal activities, property damage, a condition that makes the premises totally unusable. Also prohibits the execution of writs of possession. This order has been extended through December 31, 2020.
  • COVID-19 Related Impact Requirement: No.

Mayoral Order (Expired)

  • Action: Prohibits the issuance of Notices to Vacate required by Section 24.005 of Texas Property Code prior to filing an eviction suit. Also prohibits the physical removal of residents from residential property.
  • Duration: May 20, 2020 through July 25, 2020

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The City of Austin Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department announced Friday that they are providing $1.2 million in emergency rental assistance to Austinites affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The funds will be administered through a contract with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin. Residents must apply for the lottery through HACA’s Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants website, www.atxrenthelp.org.

Additionally, the Austin Tenant Stabilization Program will administer up to $3,000 per year in rental assistance as well as eviction prevention support and tenant relocation services to low-income households through selected nonprofit organizations. Participating organizations will be in charge of marketing the program, approving applicants and administering funds. The program will serve households earning up to 60 percent of the median family income, or $56,760 for a four-person household.

The Travis County Commissioners Court unanimously approved the allocation of $10 million for direct rent, mortgage and utility assistance. The rental assistance will be available to Travis County residents. This one-time cash assistance was complemented by a $2.4 million budget transfer to the county’s emergency assistance program to make up for the pre-Covid funding shortfall. The budget transfer will be an ongoing source of financial assistance for county residents seeking help with rent or mortgage payments and represents a 355 percent increase in funding. However, the county will need to use the $10 million of rental assistance funds taken from its $61 million Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocation by December.

Back to top

Bexar County (San Antonio)

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

Bexar County leaders, trying to plot a path forward through the COVID-19 pandemic, launched a $4 million rental assistance program. The fund will provide up to three months of assistance for people affected by furloughs, layoffs or other income losses resulting from the pandemic. It will be overseen by the Housing Authority of Bexar County.

Additionally, the San Antonio City Council approved the creation of the COVID-19 Emergency Housing Assistance Program to respond to exponential increases for housing assistance requests as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The new program is funded with $25 million from various sources. San Antonio residents can find more information on the program or apply for the COVID-19 Emergency Housing Assistance at https://www.sanantonio.gov/NHSD/Programs/FairHousing. Residents can also call 311.

The new COVID-19 Emergency Housing Assistance Program mirrors the eligibility of the City’s Risk Mitigation Fund. To apply for assistance, San Antonio residents must:

  • be the primary lease or mortgage holder in a multifamily unit, mobile home, or single-family home within the city limits of San Antonio
  • provide proof of financial hardship that renders the household unable to pay rent, mortgage or utilities
  • have an income at or below 100% of the Area Median Income. Under these Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines, a San Antonio family earning $72,000 a year or below would qualify for the program.

The new program provides individuals and families rent, mortgage, utility and internet access assistance in the event of a hardship. Funds are paid directly to the landlord, financial institution, internet provider and utility provider. In addition, funds for groceries, medicine and fuel, in the form of cash assistance, will be distributed directly to individuals or families in an amount not to exceed $300.

Back to top

Dallas

Eviction

City Council Ordinance

  • Action: The City Council approved an ordinance requiring a COVID Landlord-Tenant Notice Ordinance on April 22, 2020. The ordinance requires residential landlords to issue a “COVID Notice of Possible Eviction” that provides tenants information on rental assistance and allows tenants at least 21 days to negotiate lease payment agreements with landlords. Additionally, if tenants provide proof of financial hardship due to COVID-19, then the proposed ordinance enables tenants to receive up to 60 days prior to facing a Notice to Vacate. The City’s notice ordinance takes effect immediately and is applicable.

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The Dallas City Council took swift action to provide COVID-19 relief to City of Dallas residents on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Council voted on items providing up to $18.4 million which resulted from the two new Ad Hoc COVID-19 Committees. In addition to providing rental assistance and small business relief, a majority of council members also supported measures preventing eviction.

The Mortgage and Rental Assistance program passed by Council will offer $6.1 million in rental and mortgage aid. Combined with services and programs that already exist within the city, $13.7 million is available. Assistance will provide up to $1,500 for a maximum of three months per eligible household. To qualify for the pre-screening process, applicants must be City of Dallas residents who lost their jobs or were furloughed due to COVID-19. The Mortgage and Rental Assistance program is a collaboration between the Office of Community Care and the Office of Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization. The program is expected to open during the first week of May.

Additionally, the Office of Economic Development is launching a $5 million Small Business Continuity Fund. The fund will provide up to $10,000 in grants and up to $50,000 in low-cost loans to small businesses affected by COVID-19. The businesses must be able to prove they were in operation for a minimum of six months prior to March 16, 2020. Additionally, they must be low to moderate income (LMI) microbusiness owners and/or businesses that employ (or previously employed) at least 51% LMI workers. The goal of the fund is to ensure continued operations of small businesses and job retention by those businesses. The application is expected to go live in May for grants and loans to begin in June.

Back to top

Dallas County

Eviction

Dallas County is canceling all jury trials for criminal, civil and Justice of the Peace (J.P.) Courts until May 8, 2020. This order has not been extended.

Back to top

Denison

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

Denison is dedicating $150,000 to assist residents financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The city announced last week that it will partnering with community non-profits for a new residential assistance program aimed at providing monetary relief during the pandemic.

The requirements for eligibility are as follows:

Must be a citizen of Denison, Texas (proof of residency required).

  • Must provide proof of loss of income or unemployment due to COVID-19.
  • At risk of possible foreclosure or eviction (if applicable).
  • Financial assistance may not be used to meet property tax requirements, except in the case of assistance to prevent foreclosure.

Residents facing economic hardship may contact 2-1-1 for a referral to these organizations with funding.

Back to top

Denton

Eviction

Denton County courts are following temporary guidelines through April 1, 2020. This action has not been extended.

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The United Way of Denton County has created a referral partnership with the city of Denton to help people who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 get access to the help they need. 

The expanded program will be funded by a $50,000 contribution from the city to help fund the administration of the program, which will help connect people to federal, state and local resources.

To date, United Way has distributed $118,425 to 138 households to help with rent assistance, food and other community needs. To access the resources, call 940-566-2688, email [email protected] or visit www.unitedwaydenton.org/info.

Back to top

Edinburg

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

Edinburg’s Community Development Block Grant-Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) Emergency Rental Assistance Program (CDBG-CV ERAP) has been developed to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

This program will provide up to three (3) months of emergency rental assistance for qualifying families living inside the city limits and will only be granted one time per household.  Applicant must demonstrate a financial hardship, such as a reduction in hours or loss of employment that will result in eviction from their current residence.

A hardship can be demonstrated by providing paystubs, unemployment checks or a letter from employer verifying a loss of income or reduction in hours. Assistance will be provided on a first come, first served basis.  The program is available for households that are renting/leasing their current place of residence.

Back to top

El Paso

Eviction

El Paso City Council approved an ordinance that, among other things, prohibits evictions for nonpayment of rent during the duration of the state’s declaration of emergency.

Back to top

Fort Benton

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

Fort Bend County approved $19.5 million of funding to assist renters and landlords in paying rent, mortgage, and utilities during the Coronavirus pandemic. Funding for the County’s rental assistance program comes through the Federal CARES Act. The funding will be implemented in 3 phases of $6,500,000 each.

Back to top

Fort Worth

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

Fort Worth received $8.2 million dollars in Housing and Urban Development and Health and Human Services funding, more than is typically allocated for the city’s housing programs, documents show.

Neighborhood services also proposed allocating an additional $7.2 million in federal coronavirus relief fund resources to help residents affected financially by COVID-19, with housing, utility, food, medicine and other household expenses.

The $7.2 million would be available to residents earning up to 120% of the area median income, residents who might otherwise not be eligible for HUD or HHS programs.

For example, a family of four earning up to $97,800 a year could qualify. Income in the past 30 days would be calculated in the approval process. The city estimated that 4,200 households would receive financial help. Approved families could get $1,200 a month for up to three months.

The financial assistance would not be sent to families in the form of a check, but rather paid directly to landlords, mortgage companies and utility providers. The city said it would take about a week to verify applications once the website is up and running.

Families should receive help by the time June rent is due.

Back to top

Harlingen

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The Harlingen City Commission approved the creation of a Hardship Assistance Program that will help residents that find themselves in a financial bind due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The program was unanimously approved during a Special Meeting of the Harlingen City Commission and earmarks $225,000 to help Harlingen residents who have overdue utility, rent, or mortgage bills.

The program, to be funded through the CARES Act COVID Relief Funds, will provide financial assistance for utility payments including water/sewer, gas, electric, as well as, rent, and mortgage payments.

Harlingen residents may qualify for up to three months of assistance for over-due accounts from March 1, 2020, through December 30, 2020. The program will also provide up to three months of rental or mortgage assistance not to exceed $1500 per month for eligible Harlingen residents.

The City has entered into a contract with Loaves and Fishes of the Rio Grande Valley who will administer the program at no cost. There are no income qualifications for this program and the assistance is not limited to only one overdue bill. The bills will be paid directly to the utility provider and property managers or mortgage companies.  Business accounts are not eligible for assistance through this program.

Back to top

Hidalgo

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The Hidalgo County Mortgage and Rent Relief Program is a short-term rental and mortgage assistance program designated to help rural Hidalgo County residents, and those living in Granjeno and Sullivan City, who have been laid off or had their incomes impacted by the spread of COVID-19.

Funding for this assistance program comes directly from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, so only households making 200% or below of the Federal Poverty Level qualify for help.

Back to top

Houston

Eviction

Jury service is suspended from Friday, March 13, 2020 through March 20, 2020. Effective March 11, 2020, county courts at law will not be calling jury trials. Each court will exercise its discretion on a case-by-case basis regarding the calling of bench trials. This order has not been extended.

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

Mayor Sylvester Turner is set to announce a $15 million rent relief program that will use millions in federal COVID-19 relief money to help Houstonians pay their rent. The program will be funded though federal CARES Act funding for the rent relief program.

The online portal will be open to landlords first. The landlords who agree to participate in the program will need to agree to certain terms:

  • Waive all late fees, penalties and interest for the two months;
  • Allow tenants to enter a payment plan for any rent due in excess of $1,056;
  • Rescind any prior notice to vacate and halt any prior eviction proceedings for the two months.

According to the proposed order, renters must meet the following criteria:

  • Live inside the city of Houston;
  • Be late on residential rental payments for either or both the months of April and May;
  • Be current on their rent for all months prior to April 2020;
  • Affirm that their inability to pay is due to financial hardship resulting from the economic impact of COVID-19;
  • Have income less than 80% of the Area Median Income (approximately $40,000 for one person or $60,000 for family of four) or qualify for one of the programs listed in the application (e.g. Medicaid, WIC, SNAP, Head Start, or VA Pension).

The program already has the support of the Houston Apartment Association, which estimates it could help a number of workers in the service industry, many of whom were laid off from their jobs because of restaurant and bar closures.

Back to top

Killeen

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The City of Killeen dedicated CARES Act funding to assist residents with utility bills and rent who have experienced job loss, reduction in hours of employment, inability to work because of quarantine or a related situation resulting from the pandemic. 

The city indicated utility assistance is available only for City of Killeen utility bills, including water, sewer, garbage and associated fees. 

Both city utility and rent assistance will go toward charges incurred on March 27, 2020 or later. No assistance funds may be used for charges or late fees prior to that date. Approved payments will be made directly to the utility account or property manager/owner. 

Funding is limited and will granted on a first come, first serve basis. Priority will be given to the lowest income households. Applications for both programs will available starting May 4 at 10 a.m. Online forms can be found at killeentexas.gov/programs. Paper forms will be available in person at the Community Development Office, located at 802 N. 2nd St. Building E. 

Back to top

Lubbock

Eviction

Lubbock County district courts and county courts at law have cancelled jury trials through April 3, 2020. This order has not been extended.

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The Salvation Army is providing rent and utility assistance to those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Clients meeting the eligibility criteria for rent assistance will be assisted with an amount up to $750.00. Clients meeting the eligibility requirements for utility assistance will be assisted with an amount up to $250.00. This effort is funded through a $75,000 grant from the Community Foundation of West Texas and the Lubbock Area United Way. Those needing assistance MUST first call to make an appointment (806-765-9434).

Back to top

Montgomery County

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

Montgomery County announced an additional $10 million towards rent relief for its residents.

The funds will come from the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed by the federal government, in which $105 million was sent to Montgomery County to help with local COVID-19 impacts.

Four non-profit organizations will be selected to administer the $10 million equally among each of the precincts, according to county officials. The court anticipates the $10 million will assist nearly 4,000 families.

The funds will not have an income limit, allowing for middle class families who need rental assistance to apply.

Back to top

Tarrant County

Eviction

Effective March 17, 2020, all scheduled court proceedings (including motion hearings and trials) except for those deemed “essential court proceedings”, such as Emergency Mental Detention Warrants, Writs of Reentry, Writs of Retrieval, and certain Repair and Remedy cases, are suspended until further notice.

As soon as new directives are received, the Justice Court having jurisdiction will contact litigants to notify them of their new court date. The suspension of court proceedings affects the following civil cases: Evictions, Small Claims and Debt Claims.

In Eviction cases, no writs of possession will be issued by the Court until the Court receives a new directive.

Back to top

Travis County

Eviction

Travis County Justice Courts have suspended all eviction trials and hearings (except for threat to person) until after June 1, 2020. See Travis County’s latest order (April 30, 2020). Additionally, for evictions filed after March 27, 2020, properties must submit a sworn affidavit or unsworn declaration under penalty of perjury verifying the status of whether the property is a “covered dwelling” under the CARES Act.

Back to top

Waco

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

Rental assistance is available to residents of Waco who have been affected by COVID-19.

The EOAC and the City of Waco have partnered together to create a new rental assistance program that provides rental and mortgage payments to help families who have been affected by COVID-19, due to job loss or a reduction in income.

Three months of payments, not exceeding $2,400 will be available for families to avoid eviction and foreclosure.

The EOAC is taking applications by appointments only. Citizens may schedule appointments by visiting the EOAC website.

Back to top