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 issued Order No. 20210430-029 (PDF) that prohibits landlords from issuing notices to vacate except in certain circumstances. This order expires on August 1, 2021. Travis County also issued Order 2021-04, which can be found on the Travis County Clerks webpage.
Beginning June 1, landlords are no longer prohibited from filing a Notice of Eviction if their tenant has unpaid rent for five or more months and has exhausted all rental assistance remedies except where the tenant provides their landlord with a completed U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declaration.
The CDC declaration requires a tenant to swear that they earn less than $99,000 a year (for individuals), would be homeless if evicted and have tried to pay rent. The CDC authorized certain eviction protections that took effect on September 4 and have extended the protections through June 2021.
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 offers 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.