Well, it’s July 1, the day we had all hoped that the state would be open for eviction filings based on nonpayment of rent. But, sadly, that is not the case.
For a while now my prediction has been that the Governor will open things up in late July or early August. And that the courts would follow suit shortly thereafter. I’m becoming less confident by the day that that will.
My lack of confidence is not based on any hard evidence, but it is based on rumblings that I’m getting from people in contact with the Governor’s office.
Lawsuit against the Governor
A few weeks ago I mentioned that a group was contemplating filing a lawsuit against the Governor if things did not open up soon. I’m now told that lawsuit will be filed. If you’d like to contribute to the lawsuit financially, please send me an e-mail and I’ll put you in contact with the ones who are moving it forward.
Send Letters to the Governor and Your Legislators
If you’re not in a position to contribute to the lawsuit, my suggestion is that you send letters to the Governor and your legislators. The points that I would try to drive home are that we should not expect to see a flood of evictions due to COVID-19. In fact, rent numbers have been very good. Nationally, almost 92% paid rent for April, over 93% paid for May, and over 94% paid for June. These numbers are only slightly below what was paid for those months in 2019. Click here to the see the national rent numbers for April, May, and June.
However, what we can expect to see, if evictions continue to be suspended, is a flood of evictions due to the sheer length of time involved. It would be much wiser to spread these evictions out over a few months so that those impact can find alternative housing, rather than waiting more months having them all come forward at once.
The other point to emphasize is that, while the percentage of tenants eligible for eviction is small, their balances at this point are very high. Many of those who would be evicted have not paid since February or March. A landlord can deal with a month or two of no rent being paid. But we’re now over four months since the Governor suspended evictions. That is a hit that is devastating to landlords, especially those with a smaller portfolio.
So, I strongly suggest that you communicate to the Governor and your state legislators that evictions must be opened up now. Most of the state is open for business. People are working again. It’s time for everyone to share the cost of the shutdown, not just landlords.
If you’d like help putting together a letter for the Governor and your legislators, just shoot me an e-mail and I’ll put something together for you.
CARES Act Lawsuit in Texas
The owner of an apartment community in Fort Worth, Texas, has filed a lawsuit to overturn the CARES Act eviction moratorium. The lawsuit claims that the CARES Act denies the landlord access to the court system and denies it due process and equal protection as required by the 14 Amendment. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, so keep your eye on it. The courts in Texas are already open for non-payment evictions at non-CARES Act properties. Click here to read an article about the lawsuit.
That’s all for today. I’ll keep you updated on the lawsuit if and when it gets filed.
If you need anything in the meantime, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great Independence Day. God Bless America.