Office Phone:

254-733-2828

Email:

staff@greaterwacolegalservices.org

Housing-Coronavirus-Updates-Greater-Waco-Legal-Services
Last Update: Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 4:00 pm

Eviction Updates:

We are proud that the McLennan County Justices of the Peace made the decision to delay evictions by at least 60 days and reset all other non-essential court proceedings.
This order is undoubtedly a necessary step to protect the community, limit exposure, and provide for an efficient judicial system. 

Mortgage and Forclosure Updates:

There has been a lot of talk about possible limits on foreclosures during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is important to know that the federal moratorium on foreclosures is currently very limited. It only applies to a small group of homeowners and only for a limited time. 

Utility Cutoff Updates:

Texas temporarily suspends disconnection of utility services for non-payment. Late fees must be suspended and deferred payment plans offered to residential customers in danger of disconnection.

If needed, contact your Retail Electric Provider to request a deferred payment plan!

As with most Texas Courts, the McLennan County Justice Courts will reschedule all non-essential court proceedings.

  • An important example of an essential court proceeding is a repair and remedy case that materially affects the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant.

No eviction hearing will be held until after May 18, 2020.

No writs of possession (court order for a constable/sheriff to force someone out) may be executed until after May 25, 2020.

Yes, you do. If you don’t pay, landlords will have cause to evict you after the Courts open up again.

In most cities, landlords can choose to not accept late rent even if an emergency order prevents them from evicting you right away.

Landlords can still give you an eviction notice and file an eviction case during this time.

Evictions based on protective orders, physical threats to landlords and other tenants, or criminal activity may still take place.

You MAY have added protections against evictions IF you live at a “covered property” under the CARES Act.

  • “Covered properties” include properties that participate in a long list of federal housing programs OR if you are a renter whose property owners have federally-backed mortgages (HUD, VA, USDA, Low Income Housing Tax Credit developments, FHA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac).
  • To find out whether you live in a covered property,
    • Check your lease documents
    • Ask your landlord
    • Check your multi-family property here.

*The database and map are not comprehensive; they do not include data on single family rental homes of one to four units that are also protected under the CARES Act, and they do not include all Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac multifamily mortgages.

  • Ask the Court (if an eviction suit is filed against you) to require the landlord to provide this information through Discovery. Read more here.
  • IF the property you rent is a “covered property”, then landlords are temporarily prohibited until July 25, 2020 from:
    • Filing evictions or issuing notices to vacate for non-payment of rent, and
    • Charging late fees or other penalties/charges for late payment of rent.
  • After July 25, 2020, landlords can issue notices to vacate, but they must give at least 30 days’ notice that you have to leave. That means for a covered property, the earliest your landlord could give you a notice to vacate is July 26, 2020 and the soonest the notice can tell you that you have to move out is August 25, 2020.

The Texas Public Utility Commission temporarily suspended disconnection of utility services for non-payment.

  • Utilities covered include power, water, and sewer services.
  • Late fees must be suspended and deferred payment plans offered to residential customers in danger of disconnection.
  • If needed, contact your Retail Electric Provider to request a deferred payment plan!

The federal government has only stopped foreclosures for a very limited number of homeowners and only for a limited time.

  • There is a pause on foreclosures and evictions but only until May 16 and only by lenders and servicers funded by the Federal Housing Administration.
  • There is also a pause on foreclosures for mortgages held by Fannie May and Freddie Mac, also until May 16. There should also be a 12-month forbearance period on payments for these mortgages.
  • You still owe mortgage payments, even if your mortgage qualifies for a pause! So you can still lose your home for nonpayment when the pause ends. And you could also be reported to credit agencies for missing payments.

If you are having trouble making payments, you should call your lender or servicer to discuss your options.

  • You can look up your lender or servicer on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website.
  • If possible, call them before you miss a payment!
  • Tell them you have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Make sure you understand what forbearance really means to you and your lender/servicer or if you might qualify for a loan modification instead.
  • Get all lender/servicer promises to you in writing.
  • Make sure you can receive mail from the lender/servicer and stay in contact with them.

If you have any further questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic affects the legal situation regarding your housing,
please give us a call at (254) 733-2828 or email staff@greaterwacolegalservices.org.

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