Supreme Court Extends CARES Act Eviction Statement
Written by Jennifer Owen.
On August 21, 2020, the Texas Supreme Court issued its 24th Emergency Order (the “Order”) extending its requirement that Texas landlords file a statement in residential evictions regarding the property’s relationship with the CARES Act. Pursuant to this Order, this CARES Act Statement is now required for all residential eviction proceedings filed from March 27, 2020, through September 30, 2020.
Specifically, the Order requires landlords filing residential evictions to also file a sworn original, amended, or supplemental petition that states whether or not:
- the premises is a “covered dwelling” subject to Section 4024 of the CARES Act;
- the plaintiff is a “multifamily borrower” under forbearance subject to Section 4023 of the CARES Act; and
- the plaintiff has provided the defendant with 30 days’ notice to vacate under Section 4024(c) and 4023(e) of the CARES Act.
Though the Order specifically states that this information be included in a “sworn original, amended, or supplemental petition,” several Justice Courts have created their own affidavit that discloses the required information regardless of what is included in your petition. Several of these courts are requiring landlords to file these affidavits in every eviction regardless of the reason for its filing. Accordingly, this step must be completed even if the eviction is for a non-delinquency breach of lease that is not affected by the CARES Act or its requirements.
Additionally, in the event the affidavit is unclear, or the judge wants further background information, the Order provides that the judge has the authority to develop the facts behind the assertions made in the affidavit and petition. As such, be prepared when you go to court to field questions regarding the property’s status as a covered dwelling and the status of any mortgage the property may be subject to.
To compound these issues, the text of the CARES Act does not specifically state when the 30-day notice to vacate requirement will end. The Order does not offer a resolution to this question, but instead only addresses a procedural requirement regarding statements that must be included in an eviction petition. Unfortunately, there will be no certainty until we receive some guidance from either a court ruling, or clarification or amendment of the CARES Act in Congress.
Finally, it is important to recognize that the way each court applies this Order may depend on the particular county, precinct, or judge. In the event you have any specific concerns regarding what exactly is required, whether a judge is implementing these standards properly, or whether you are in compliance, it is best to make these concerns known to your property’s leadership or legal team. Communication and coordination will continue to be of paramount importance as we navigate the constantly changing waters created by COVID 19.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this document does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information in this report is for general informational purposes only. Information in this document may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.