Federal eviction moratorium lapses, leaving residents open to legal action

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — Millions of Americans are at risk of eviction. Nearly $47 billion in federal housing aid to the states during the pandemic hasn’t made it to the renters who owe payments and landlords who are owed payments. And some have already received eviction notices hours after a federal moratorium expired.

That halt in evictions had been in place almost 11 months, but expired over the weekend.

“The most important information for landlords and tenants to know is that there is money available,” said Lubbock County Precinct 1, Justice of the Peace, Jim Hansen.

The CDC’s eviction moratorium lapsed on July 31 leaving renters open to new legal action if they have past due bills.

“I think the moratorium was necessary when it first started, but now I think we are past that point and I think the expiration of the moratorium is timely,” said Hansen.

The CDC originally put the moratorium in place to help those struggling financially during the pandemic, but some experts now worried this will lead to a landslide of evictions.

But Hansen doesn’t believe that to be likely.

“We still see a steady flow of evictions, but there has been no – and there will be no – mass flow, mass filing of evictions. It’s going to be steady as it’s been in all my years in office,” said Hansen.

Hansen said some of that could be due to the Texas Eviction Diversion Program. The program provides Lubbock millions of dollars to help keep folks in their homes.

It provides up to 15 months of rental and utility assistance for those behind on rent because of COVID-19 who are facing eviction.

“The landlord gets their money the tenant gets to stay and it’s a win win for everybody involved,” said Hansen.

Hansen said the TEDP is an underutilized lifeline that will help folks in Lubbock outside of any federal aid.

“As long as we still have money available for those who need it I think society and the government have done all they can to help those in need,” said Hansen. “I don’t think there is any need any long to force residents to live rent free.”

Folks facing eviction can apply for the Diversion program can find more information here, or see local resources below.

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