Renter resources from the Texas Apartment Association
As we continue to deal with the impact of COVID-19, it’s important that we continue to work together as a community to help prevent people from being displaced from their homes.Here are some answers to frequently asked questions as well as other resources.
What should I do if I am unable to pay my rent?
First: Contact your Property Manager. The most important thing that you can do is communicate your situation with your Property Manager.
Providing documentation from an employer or other documentation that shows how you have been impacted by this crisis will improve your chances for getting the help you need.
Ignoring notices and requests to contact your Property Manager is not advised. Frequent and timely communication is the best course of action.
The Texas Apartment Association has encouraged rental property owners to waive late fees and set up payment arrangements for residents impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
Please remember that they can’t help you if you do not communicate your situation with them. When court proceedings resume you will still owe any amounts due and may be subject to eviction; therefore, trying to work with your property to make payment arrangements is your best course of action.
Can I be evicted even though there is a public health crisis?
The Texas Supreme Court has halted most evictions, including for non-payment of rent, until April 19. Someone may still face eviction for posing an imminent threat of physical harm to others, or engaging in criminal activity.
However, you can still be issued a notice to vacate by your Property Manager for non-payment of rent. This notice is an indication that the rental property owner intends to pursue an eviction if rent is not paid and will usually occur if you fail to respond to notices/requests to contact your Property Manager.
If you are unable to pay your utility bills during this time of crisis, what should you do?
Several but not all Texas electricity providers have suspended disconnects and are waiving late fees during the COVID-19 crisis. Please check directly with your provider on what options they offer during this time. Remember that even if disconnection is suspended, your bills will continue to accrue.
Do I still need to pay rent even though evictions have been halted?
Yes—the court’s temporary halt of evictions does not affect your obligation to pay rent, and continuing to pay your rent protects your rights as a renter under Texas law. If you’re concerned you will not be able to pay your rent, we recommend you communicate with your property manager with specific information about your situation to see what options they may be able to offer in this unusual circumstance.
This crisis has affected all of us and TAA members want to do their part in helping people remain in their homes. Like every other business, we have employees and supplier partners who depend on us for their livelihood, as well as other obligations we have to meet like insurance and utility bills.
Failing to pay your rent hurts our ability to meet those obligations, as well as our ability to operate and maintain the property where you live. Ultimately it may also hurt your credit or result in an eviction once that process is reinstituted.
What if I live at a public housing authority property, affordable housing property or use Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8)?
Both public housing and Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) residents who experience a loss or reduction of wages should contact their housing authority to see what can be done to provide assistance.
For more information:
Renter Information: www.taa.org
General information on COVID-19: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
211 is a universal number (similar to 911 and 311) for community information and referral services. It is intended to connect individuals and families in need and the appropriate community-based organizations and government agencies. Active 211 systems are in all or part of every state.