The Supreme Court of Texas issued a 25th emergency order relating to evictions, effective September 17 and expiring December 15. The new order requires all property owners in residential eviction cases to include information in the eviction petition about whether the CARES Act applies to the suit, as well as whether a CDC eviction moratorium Declaration has been delivered to the property owner. Under the order, when a renter receives a citation, they’ll also get information about their rights under the moratorium, a link for legal help, and a copy of the declaration form they have to fill out in order to stop the eviction.
The new rules require citations include the following language:
“The Centers for Disease Control issued an order stopping some evictions. You may be able to stop your eviction if you sign the attached Declaration under Penalty of Perjury for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Temporary Halt in Evictions to Prevent Further Spread of COVID-19 and provide it to your landlord and the court. Before signing the Declaration, read it carefully and make sure all the statements are true. The Declaration is sworn, meaning you can be prosecuted, go to jail, or pay a fine if any of the statements are not true. Find out more about the order at TexasLawHelp.org.”
It requires the landlord to acknowledge whether their tenant provided them with a CDC declaration and confirms judges have the authority to question whether a tenant is aware of the CDC order and has had an opportunity to complete the declaration.
If a CDC declaration is given to a landlord and filed with the court, the eviction proceeding must cease, unless the landlord challenges the declaration or the CDC order itself, a hearing is held, and a judge signs a written order giving reasons why the eviction should proceed.