Amid Spike in Unemployment, Evictions Suspended for Now

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The number of unemployed North Texans is rising by the day due to COVID-19 related job loss and amid the hardship, it’s expected many will be unable to pay their rent the first of next month.

State and local governments have stepped in, suspending evictions by varying lengths. In Dallas County, eviction hearings have been suspended until May 18, the Texas Supreme Court has suspended them until April 19 and Tarrant County has suspended them until May 8.

But lawyers are cautioning renters to not misinterpret these suspensions as a forgiveness of debt.

“Remember the courts under the current order are accepting the (eviction) filings so is it kind of the sense of you getting in line,” Dallas Attorney Russell Wilson said.

The Texas Apartment Association also advises renters to reach out to their landlords as soon as possible with proof they have lost their job, in hope of being granted leniency.  

“We would encourage them to do that as soon as possible and provide as much documentation as possible,” Ian Mattingly with the Texas Apartment Association said.

Ultimately, Wilson said the law as it's written favors property owners over renters and when the eviction suspension is lifted, renters will be expected to pay up.

“These rental fees have not been forgiven so folks are going to end up incurring them at some point,” Wilson said.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated Tarrant County waived evictions indefinitely. The county has in fact waived them through May 8.

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