2020 and 2021 have not been kind years financially to many in Texas. Some people in Texas were furloughed for months only to be brought back to work at reduced wages, if they were able to return to the workplace at all.
Some people were simply laid off through no fault of their own and have been unable to find sufficient employment that allows them to support themselves and their families. Others were struck with a serious illness that caused them to incur massive medical bills. Times have been tough.
The federal government stepped in for a time and helped those struggling to pay their rent by imposing a federal moratorium on evictions. During the nationwide moratorium on evictions, those who could not pay their rent could not be evicted. However, the U.S. Supreme Court recently struck down the most recent ban on evictions, forcing many renters into a position where they are months behind in rent and now must pay up or be evicted.
Is there any help for those who cannot pay rent?
If a person cannot pay rent, financial assistance may be available depending on where in Texas they live. Some counties and cities have measures in place to stem the tide of evictions for the time being. Programs exist to help local renters financially, so they can pay for their rent and utilities. However, not all localities offer such programs especially in rural areas of the state.
Federal rent relief sent to Texas goes unspent
While the federal government can no longer put a stop on eviction proceedings, rent relief may still be available. Approximately $2 billion in federal funds were sent to Texas to help renters avoid eviction and of that, approximately $1 billion remains available to help renters. This may help the over 330,000 renters that, according to a Census Bureau survey, are worried they would soon face eviction.
The balance between renter’s rights and landlord’s rights
It is important that any laws or assistance regarding rent relief are fair both to renters and landlords. Renters who have been hit by hard times deserve to seek help to better their financial situation without immediately facing eviction.
However, a ban on evictions cannot go on indefinitely, as landlords are becoming increasingly burdened by the lack of rent payments causing them financial uncertainty. It is a tough balance to strike, but one that must be ironed out for the sake both of renters and landlords in Texas.