Landlord/Tenant Law – Evictions

The latest COVID-19 information regarding evictions.

County Releases Second Report on Evictions

 

Texas Supreme Court

On April 6, 2020, the Texas Supreme Court issues its Ninth Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster and evictions.  https://www.txcourts.gov/media/1446345/209052.pdf.

  • This Order supersedes the Fourth Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster, Misc. Dkt. No. 20-9045, issued March 19, 2020. This Order supplements and does not replace or amend other prior Emergency Orders Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster.
  • No trial, hearing, or other proceeding for evictions may be conducted, and all deadlines are tolled, until after April 30, 2020.
  • A writ of possession for eviction may issue, but written warning of the writ and execution of the writ for eviction may not occur until after May 7, 2020.
  • The deadlines for issuing a writ and executing a writ for evictions are suspended while this Order remains in effect.
  • New eviction filings may be accepted, but the requirement for citation pursuant to Rule 510.4(a)(10) is suspended, and issuance and service of citation for eviction may not occur until after April 30, 2020.
  • The exception to these eviction delays are only if:

(1)          The plaintiff files a “Sworn Complaint for Forcible Detainer (eviction) for Threat to Person or For Cause;”

(2)          The court determines that the facts and grounds for eviction show that the actions of the tenant, or the tenant’s household members or guests, pose an imminent threat of (i) physical harm to the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s employees, or other tenants, or (ii) criminal activity;

and

(3)          The court signs an order stating procedures for the eviction case to proceed.

  • This Order is effective immediately and expires April 30, 2020, unless extended by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

 

On March 19, 2020, the Texas Supreme Court issued its Fourth Emergency Order Regarding The COVID-19 State of Disaster and evictions.  https://www.txcourts.gov/media/1446203/209045.pdf.

  • All eviction hearings, trials and proceedings are suspended until after April 19, 2020.
  • A writ of possession for eviction may issue, but written warning of the writ and execution of the writ for eviction may not occur until after April 26, 2020.
  • The deadlines for issuing a writ and executing a writ for evictions are suspended while this Order remains in effect.
  • New eviction filings may be accepted, but the requirement for citation pursuant to Rule 510.4(a)(10) is suspended, and issuance and service of citation for eviction may not occur until after April 19, 2020.
  • The exception to these delays are only if:

(1)          The plaintiff files a “Sworn Complaint for Forcible Detainer (eviction) for Threat to Person or For Cause;”

(2)          The court determines that the facts and grounds for eviction show that the actions of the tenant, or the tenant’s household members or guests, pose an imminent threat of (i) physical harm to the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s employees, or other tenants, or (ii) criminal activity;

and

(3)          The court signs an order stating procedures for the eviction case to proceed.

  • This Fourth Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster expires on April 19, 2020, unless extended by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

 

On April 1, the Supreme Court issued an Eighth Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster regarding any civil case, including evictions, which states the following:  “Any deadline for filing or service of any civil case is tolled from March 13, 2020, until June 1, 2020, unless extended by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. This does not include deadlines for perfecting appeal or for other appellate proceedings, requests for relief from which should be directed to the court involved and should be generously granted.”  https://gato-docs.its.txstate.edu/jcr:18d7986a-ce8a-4fd9-b655-4d6681837e59/Supreme%20Court%20April%201%20Emergency%20Order.pdf

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Evictions are filed in Justice of the Peace Courts.  Here are the current eviction policies for Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant County Justice of the Peace Courts, subject to the Texas Supreme Court’s Emergency Orders, as listed above.

Collin County Justice of the Peace Courts

The five Justice Courts of Collin County (also referred to as the Justices of the Peace) issued the Standing Order Regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) Mitigation To All Collin County Justice Courts Court Order No. 01.

  • No eviction settings (both residential and commercial) will be held until after May 8, 2020. No writs of possession for evictions will be issued by a Justice Court until May 8, 2020.
  • All scheduled court proceedings, including evictions, and except for essential court proceedings, will be reset to a date after May 8, 2020.
  • “Essential court proceedings” are defined as: writs of re-entry for evictions; writs of retrieval; writs of restoration; magistration of defendants in custody and of fugitives from justice (in or out of custody); repair and remedy cases that materially affect the physical health or safety of a tenant; emergency mental assessments and any proceedings to enforce a governmental entity’s response to a COVID-19 declaration of state of disaster.
  • All deadlines or statutes of limitation calculations are tolled effective March 20, 2020 to May 8, 2020.  https://www.collincountytx.gov/justices_peace/Documents/COVID-19%20Order%2001.pdf

Dallas County Justice of the Peace Courts

  • Justice of the Peace 2, Place 1 – “Effective as of 3/24/2020, the Justice of the Peace Court has now been closed. The Dallas County Judge has categorized our court as a non-essential function to the county during this COVID-19 pandemic. All court proceedings, including evictions, have been suspended until further notice. All cases, including evictions, will be reset for court sometime after 5/8/20. We will mail out new dates to all parties. You may file documents via email or fax.” https://www.dallascounty.org/government/jpcourts/2-1/
  • Justice of the Peace 3, Place 1 – ‘The courthouse has been closed by order of the County Judge. We are currently under orders to work remotely, therefore we are not able to accept new cases until the order is lifted. All scheduled hearings, including evictions, for this court are hereby suspended until further notice.” You may contact the court by mail, email, or by phoning the court.  https://www.dallascounty.org/government/jpcourts/3-1/
  • Justice of the Peace 3, Place 2 – There will be no TRIAL DATES set for ANY CASES—including EVICTIONS.  You will be notified of the trial date by mail once the case is set. https://www.dallascounty.org/Assets/uploads/docs/jpcourts/3-2/WEBSITE-UPDATE-3-17-2020.pdf
  • Justice of the Peace 4, Place 2 – Beginning April 2, 2020, our court will be closed to the public to ensure the health and safety of our community and court staff. https://www.dallascounty.org/government/jpcourts/4-2/ Effective March 18, 2020, ALL scheduled hearings (including evictions) in our court for the next 60 days will be reset. We will notify all parties of the new reset date as soon as practicable for the court. The only exceptions will be for “essential court proceedings:  writs of re-entry for evictions, writs of retrieval, writs of restoration, and repair and remedy cases that materially affect the physical health or safety of a tenant.  The court will remain open to accept filings and to conduct essential hearings.”  https://www.dallascounty.org/Assets/uploads/docs/jpcourts/4-2/JP42-COVID-ResponseLetter-031820.pdf

Denton County Justice of the Peace Courts

Eviction case filings will be accepted, but not processed and handled in conjunction with rules set in place by the Supreme Court and Office of Court Administration. Current guidelines are:  No eviction citations issued until April 20, 2020.

  • No writs of possession postings for evictions until 27 April 2020.
  • Hearings, including eviction hearings, to commence the week of May 3, 2020.
  • No filing of any nonpayment eviction cases in conjunction with the CARES Act until July 25, 2020. This includes:
  1. public housing, project-based section 8, Housing Choice Vouchers, LIHTC, etc.
  2. rural voucher program
  3. properties with federally-backed mortgages (HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac)

All in-person hearings and trials, including evictions, will be rescheduled during the time this order is in effect. Essential Court Matters, such as Writs of Re-Entry for evictions, Writs of Restoration, Repair and Remedy, Emergency Detention Warrants, and Criminal Magistration will proceed.  https://dentoncounty.gov/-/media/Departments/Justice-of-Peace-Pcts/PDFs/JP-Temporary-Guidelines-COVID-19.pdf

 Tarrant County Justice of the Peace Courts

Effective March 17 2020, all scheduled court proceedings in Tarrant County Justice of the Peace Courts have been suspended (including motion hearings, evictions, and trials) except for those deemed “essential court proceedings”, such as an Emergency Mental Detention Warrants, Writs of Reentry, Writs of Retrieval, Writ of Restoration and Repair and Remedy cases, are suspended until further notice.

Walk-up filings are suspended.  Filings may be made by mail, and electronically.  Tarrant County Justice Courts Temporary Standing Order #1 – March 17, 2020.  https://www.tarrantcounty.com/content/dam/main/justices-of-the-peace/JP5/Tarrant_County_Justice_Courts_Temporary_Standing_Order_Jdg_Added.pdf

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