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There’s a federal eviction ban. Why are Texans still being asked to leave their apartments?

Published: Dec. 21, 2020 at 7:05 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Back in September, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention enacted a federal ban on many types of evictions, set to expire at the end of the year.

Lawmakers in Washington were expected to extend that ban on evictions through January as part of the $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill.

Despite that ban, some renters including Ashley Parker of Waco have still received notices to vacate their homes and apartments.

Parker said she knew that the federal ban existed, but she did not know if she qualified or how to receive protection.

Similar stories are playing out throughout Texas, according to Christina Rosales, a deputy director at Texas Housers, a low income housing information service.

She also said that there are many loopholes that allow landlords to push forward the eviction process, despite the federal moratorium.

“If a local authority — for example a justice of the peace or a sheriff’s department — if they don’t know enough about the order or if they maybe don’t agree with it, then they might not enforce it,” Rosales said.

“Also, the CDC moratorium is only for nonpayment of rent,” Rosales said.

“If a tenant is being evicted for another reason — for example, a lease violation, which we’ve seen a lot of lately — then the landlord can continue filing an eviction, and local authorities have to uphold the law.”

To qualify for protection under the federal eviction ban, renters must earn no more than $99,000 per year and make attempts to pay as much of their rent as they can, among other qualifications.

If they meet all of the CDC requirements, renters must also submit a CDC declaration and a letter, such as these ones published by the Texas State Law Library, to their landlords.

Separately, the state is working on the Eviction Diversion Program, set to be rolled out in January.

That program is expected to cover past rent payments if both the landlord and the renter agree to the terms.

For a full list of requirements, see the CDC’s fact sheet.

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