The number of eviction cases filed has increased since the novel coronavirus was discovered in late 2019 and 28% of renting Texas households report not being current with their rent payments.
In an effort to reduce the number of evictions of tenants and ensure landlords are paid rent that is due, the Texas Supreme Court and Office of Court Administration has partnered with the Governor’s Office and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) to establish the Texas Eviction Diversion Program (TEDP).
The voluntary program is offered to landlords and tenants statewide and funded with over $1 billion allocated to Texas for rental assistance and eviction diversion and will be centrally administered by TDHCA.
Funding for rental assistance and eviction diversion will be available for distribution to eligible landlords or tenants and can cover up to 12 months of past due rent and utilities from March 13, 2020 to present, and up to three months of future rent.
Units already receiving project-based assistance or public housing units or are owned by a unit of government are not eligible. Tenants are not eligible if they receive tenant-based voucher assistance, are in a unit receiving project-based assistance or are in public housing.
Landlord eligibility requirements and assistance for rent cannot be older than April 2020. Additionally, rent for household assistance may not exceed the TDHCA maximum income limits (see website below for Gonzales County), you must agree to waive late payment fees and any previous claims both for non-payment of rent or others, have not received assistance from another program for the same months of rent for the tenant and will not apply in the future, will release the tenant from payment liability for this period and waive all prior claims raised in the eviction case and not evict the tenant for rent during the period covered by the TEDP. Landlord agrees they will reimburse the TEDP within 10 business days if rent was received for this same time period and if there is no written lease landlord will certify the lease terms, rent amount and be able to provide proof of tenancy. Approved funding will be direct deposited into the landlord’s bank account.
Tenants must meet income eligibility requirements, at or below 80% of Area Median Income, have been financially affected by COVID-19 and are being sued for residential eviction. To apply, a tenant will need to provide the eviction court and docket number and if they qualified for unemployment benefits on or after March 13, 2020. Tenants will need to state in writing that due to or during the pandemic they have experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or experienced financial hardship and demonstrate that they are at risk of homelessness or housing instability by providing an eviction notice or past-due utility or rent notice or live in unsafe or unhealthy housing conditions.
To complete the application process and look up household income at or below 80% of Area Median Income go to https://texasrentrelief.com. For questions, call 833-9TX-RENT (830-989-7368).