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Coronavirus Updates, Information, and Resources

  • Residential Eviction Case Guidance - Updated 3/2/23

    • Although not related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rule 505.1 was amended effective February 1, 2023, to require eviction judgments to include information about the parties' appeal rights. The language that must be included is:

      “You may appeal this judgment by filing a bond, making a cash deposit, or filing a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs within 5 days after this judgment was signed. See Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 510.9(a).”

    • All courts are expected to have resumed cases on the regular timeframes, although remote hearings are still authorized under new TRCP 500.10 authorizes remote proceedings going forward. See the section on Remote Hearings for details.

      However, note that this rule requires the judge to hold the Zoom hearing from the usual place designated for holding court.

      Click here for a sample notice for a remote eviction hearing.

      Click here for sample Zoom instructions for parties.

    • The expiration of the Texas Supreme Court's 34th Emergency Order means that plaintiffs are no longer required to include in an eviction petition whether a property is a "covered dwelling" or whether a 30-day notice to vacate was given.

      However, as always, the plaintiff must prove that they have given the proper notice to vacate in order to receive a judgment of possession. If the property is a "covered dwelling" and the eviction is based on nonpayment, the plaintiff is still required to give a 30-day notice to vacate. This requirement of the CARES Act has never expired. If the property is not covered by the CARES Act or the eviction is not based on nonpayment, then the standard notice to vacate rules would apply. (For information on whether a property is a "covered dwelling" see the section in this category on "Determining if a Property is a "Covered Dwelling" Under the CARES Act.'")

      If a petition describes the notice to vacate given as well as the reason why that notice to vacate is proper, and the defendant does not appear or answer, the petition must be taken as true. This means that the plaintiff would have proven proper notice to vacate.

      If, instead, the petition doesn't lay out the notice given and why it is proper, or the defendant answers or appears, the petition is not sufficient to prove proper notice to vacate. Rule 500.6 makes clear that justice courts can develop the facts of the case at trial to determine whether the CARES Act applies to an eviction case and whether the proper notice to vacate was given. 

    • What is a "Covered Dwelling"?
      In short, the Act applies to all housing programs such as public housing, project-based section 8, Housing Choice Vouchers, LIHTC, etc, as well as the rural voucher program and properties with federally-backed mortgages (HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac; more detailed definitions are in the Act). 

      If a property has some tenants to which these programs apply, the CARES Act will likely cover all tenants at that property, according to its plain language. This interpretation is not universally accepted, with many advocates taking this position, while HUD says that a "market rate property" that accepts vouchers is only covered for the tenants using the vouchers.

      Effects of the CARES Act
      While most of the provisions have expired, the provision requiring a 30-day notice to vacate has not expired. This provision requires a 30-day notice to vacate if the property is a covered dwelling AND the eviction is based on nonpayment.

      What Evictions are Not Affected by the Act?
      The CARES Act does not affect the following:

      • Commercial evictions;
      • Eviction cases that were filed before March 27, 2020;
      • Eviction cases with purely private landlords with none of the funding described above; or
      • Eviction cases in which the grounds for eviction are not related to nonpayment.

      How Can it be Determined if a Property is a Covered Dwelling?
      Landlords can go to the TDCHA website here and click on "HTC Property Inventory (XLSX)" under Additional Guidance and Resources to search a database to determine if their property is subject to the LIHTC restrictions, and can go to this website to check their property against a multi-family housing database.

      Also, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid has composed a map that, while not exhaustive, has tremendous information on covered properties and may be accessed here. More resources for tenants and landlords related to the CARES Act are found on our SRL page,

  • Guidance for Remote Hearings - Updated 1/31/23