The Texas Supreme Court today (Dec. 22nd) has extended its emergency eviction relief program for tenants who are behind on rent through at least March 15th which postpones the program by another month and a half.

This decision follows Congress having passed a stimulus bill Monday extending the federal moratorium on evictions set to expire at the end of the year, now extended through the end of January.

Earlier in the fall Texas created the Texas Eviction Diversion Program with the help of $171 million in CARES Act funding, most of which designated for rental assistance. The program tries to reduce the number of evictions during the pandemic by allowing a landlord and tenant to reach a resolution when a tenant is unable to cover the rent.

Here is how the program is set up. If both the landlord and eligible tenant agree, the state pauses an eviction proceeding for 60 days. A landlord can decide to resume eviction proceedings during that 60-day period. If not, the program would cover past-due rent and dismiss the eviction case, including five months of past-due rent and up to six months of additional assistance. The landlord receives the money, and the tenant can remain in the home.

The program started in 19 counties and this extension will immediately go into effect for those counties. According to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, it will be expanded to 30 communities in mid-January and statewide in late spring. It’s unclear when this extension goes into effect for the rest of the state.

The federal moratorium doesn’t prevent all evictions. Some local authorities across the state have been more aggressive in limiting evictions than others.

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