The CDC order allows tenants to give landlords a declaration that can block their eviction by stating they are unable to pay rent due to financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Texas Supreme Court order adds an additional layer of protection by allowing judges to ask tenants if they have heard about the declaration during an eviction hearing.
According to the Supreme Court’s action, all eviction filings must also include copies of the declaration form.
Since the CDC order took effect, 1,051 evictions have been filed in Harris County, according to data analytics firm January Advisors.
“The CDC order was poorly written, allowing landlords to continue evicting many working people who should have been protected,” said Henry Khalil, executive director of the Texas Gulf Coast AFL-CIO in a statement. “The Court did the right thing today; now city, county, and state officials must act to fill the gaps in the CDC order so we can keep everyone housed.”
The Gulf Coast AFL-CIO has been active in advocating for renters' rights since the beginning of the pandemic.