Published by the Texas Standard | April 2, 2021
Local judges are no longer authorized to pause eviction cases because of the CDC moratorium.
Housing courts in Texas are no longer authorized to halt evictions in compliance with a national moratorium, after the Texas Supreme Court this week let statewide protections for renters expire — even as the Biden administration renewed the moratorium through the end of June.
Back in the fall, the state Supreme Court gave local judges emergency guidance on how to apply the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s federal moratorium on evictions. Because different judges interpreted the federal order differently, the state rules were a saving grace for many renters who may have otherwise lost their homes.
Now those rules are gone.
“At this point, the only protection we have is from the CDC,” said Dana Karni, managing attorney with Lone Star Legal Aid. “The floodgates have now been opened.”
With the expiration of the court’s 34th emergency order, the Texas Supreme Court is lifting provisions that applied the federal moratorium to Texas courts. That impacts not only newly filed eviction cases, but also cases that were already on hold over the months that the CDC moratorium has been in effect.
The Texas Justice Court Training Center — the agency responsible for training the judges who preside over eviction courts — is now advising judges to set new hearings for old cases that are already paused by the CDC order, to determine if landlords want to move forward with those evictions.