Eviction prevention and homeless programs support low-income tenants with legal assistance, emergency grants for rent or utilities, alternate housing, short-term motel vouchers, or placement in a local shelter.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Steve Adler has issued Order No. 20200930-20 that prohibits landlords from issuing notices to vacate except in certain circumstances, locking out tenants, and removing property. The order expires the 61st day after December 31, 2020.
The order fits with an order from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that suspended evictions nationally on Sept. 4 through the end of 2020.
To explain what this means and how to qualify, the City of Austin has developed a downloadable One-Pager that guides renters through the process and provides a handy checklist of what information is necessary to preempt landlords from filing for eviction.
Travis County has numerous online resources for tenants facing eviction, as do the county’s Justice of the Peace Precinct Offices. The Travis County Sheriff’s Office provides a concise brochure for Evictions and Lease Terminations. A more extensive description of tenant rights in Travis County can be found through the Travis County Law Library and Self-Help Center. While not a substitute for consulting an attorney, the site provides easy-to-understand kits for appealing an eviction, filing appeal bonds, and the record expungement process.
Austin Tenant's Council offer counseling to prepare for and understand the eviction process, including reviewing the notices a tenants has received and assisting tenants with preparing for court if necessary.
The City of Austin has passed a Tenant Relocation Assistance ordinance to ensure landlords have provided appropriate and timely information to tenants in the event of the demolition of a multifamily building of five or more units, rezoning, or the redevelopment of a mobile home park. For more information about the ordinance and the notification requirements, visit the Tenant Relocation Assistance Policy website.
In particular, tenants who have been notified of displacement should promptly:
- Check the lease to see what is required for move-out—especially to see if you (the tenant) must give advance notice of a move-out date;
- Begin looking for new housing to move into before the end of the notice period, or the end of the lease, whichever comes first;
- Make sure you possess the required documents to apply for new housing (ID, proof of income, etc.);
- Make sure you are up to date on your rent and fees so that the security deposit can be returned;
- Once a new home is found, provide your old landlord with a forwarding address to facilitate the return of the security deposit; and,
- Contact Austin Energy at 512-494-9400, or online at austinenergy.com for information on connection fees and deposits at your new home.