Texas courts are ignoring a federal ban on evictions and allowing landlords to remove tenants who are behind on rent.
For much of the pandemic, local courts in Texas were extending eviction cases for tenants who said they suffered financial difficulties. But last month, the Texas Supreme Court let its guidelines for enforcing an eviction ban expire, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Texas and a few other states have not released guidance on how the federal moratorium announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September should be applied, allowing individual judges to make these decisions.
Texas could be heading to a face-off with the federal government which still has an eviction ban in place until June 30. It could also create confusion for tenants and landlords over which guidelines to follow.
The federal government could override the Texas courts and enforce the eviction ban, resulting in huge fines for landlords who evict tenants. A building owner who removes a tenant covered by the federal order faces fines up to $100,000 or a year in jail, according to the Journal.
For tenants who lose their eviction case, the conflicting messages create confusion about whether they should leave their homes or stay.
Texas is one of three states where a federal judge has ruled the national eviction ban is unconstitutional. But none of those judges imposed an injunction to change practices on the ground.
[WSJ] — Keith Larsen