Evictions in Dallas County and elsewhere continued during the pandemic despite moratoriums and ordinances designed to prevent them, according to a new study.
The study by researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas’ Institute for Urban Policy found that while evictions fell by 50% in 2020, many people were evicted despite the protections.
Sandy Rollins, executive director of the Texas Tenants Union, said a complex combination of confusing protections and a lack of comprehension on the part of both landlords and tenants led to thousands of undue evictions.
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“The patchwork of protections that have been put in by state and local governments have been helpful but they haven’t been comprehensive enough and haven’t been easy enough for tenants to access and retain their housing,” she said.
Dallas County Justice of the Peace Sasha Moreno said she was not surprised by the study’s findings.
She said and witnessed firsthand in her courtroom the confusion many tenants had over the protections that shifted county to county, city to city.
“Many times tenants just didn’t show up to court, that happened more often than not,” Moreno said.
Rollins, who assisted with the study, is worried about the future implications.
“It is just not wise public policy to have so many people falling through the cracks,” said Rollins, who believes evictions have directly contributed to the growth of the homeless population. “We have got a huge problem and I think we have to do better as a country."