Texas Judicial Branch
Texans may be eligible for rental assistance and other services outside of the eviction process. To find out more about these programs, please visit https://www.consumerfinance.gov/housing/housing-insecurity/help-for-renters/get-help-paying-rent-and-bills/.
The Supreme Court of Texas established the Texas Eviction Diversion Program (TEDP) through the Twenty-Seventh Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster (which has been renewed through the Twenty-Eighth, Thirty-First, Thirty-Fifth Emergency, Thirty-Seventh, Thirty-Ninth, Forty-Second, Forty-Fourth, Forty-Eighth, and Fiftieth Orders). With funding allocated by Governor Greg Abbott through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, the program seeks to reduce the number of evictions by enabling landlords and tenants to agree upon a resolution to non-payment of rent issues.
How Does the Eviction Diversion Program Work?
The TEDP is a voluntary program that permits eligible landlords and tenants to agree upon a resolution to the issues raised in an eviction case. If eligibility requirements are met, past due rent obligations and utility delinquencies may be eligible to be covered in full and the eviction case dismissed.
- When a landlord files an eviction case, the landlord is required to state in the petition that he/she has reviewed the information on this website.
- All citations (notices that a tenant has been sued for eviction) must contain the following statement in both English and Spanish:
"You may be able to have some of the rent you owe paid and stop your eviction. Find out more about available rental assistance programs in your area at https://www.consumerfinance.gov/housing/housing-insecurity/help-for-renters/get-help-paying-rent-and-bills/. If there is an available rental assistance program in your area, tell the judge you are interested in participating. To find out more about what to tell the judge and what may happen with your eviction, visit www.TexasLawHelp.org or call Texas Legal Services Center for assistance at 855-270-7655.”
“Usted podrá ser elegible para recibir asistencia en algunos pagos vencidos de su alquiler y detener su desalojo. Visite el siguiente enlace para mayor información sobre los programas de asistencia para pagos de alquiler disponibles en su localidad https://www.consumerfinance.gov/housing/housing-insecurity/help-for-renters/get-help-paying-rent-and-bills/. Si hay programas disponibles en su localidad, informe usted al juez que desea participar en alguno de ellos. Puede visitar el siguiente enlace www.TexasLawHelp.org para mayor información sobre qué decir ante el juez y qué puede ocurrir en un proceso de desalojo, o puede llamar al Centro de Servicios Legales de Texas (en inglés, Texas Legal Services Center) al teléfono 855-270-7655."
On the date listed in the citation for the trial of the eviction case, the judge must discuss this program with the landlord and tenant and ask whether the landlord and tenant are interested in the program and whether the landlord has any pending applications for rent assistance. If both the landlord and tenant indicate they are interested in the program or the landlord has a pending application for rent assistance, the judge is required to delay the proceedings for 60 days, make the records and information on the eviction case confidential, and inform the landlord and tenant about the reinstatement procedure discussed below. A landlord can request an extension of the delay in 60-day increments.
Landlords and tenants can also request to enter the eviction diversion program at any time after the trial as long as the writ of possession has not issued. If this request is made, the judge must set aside any judgment and follow the procedures detailed above.
At any time during the 60-day delay period, the landlord can file a motion to reinstate the eviction case with the judge. The motion must be served on the tenant. The judge is then required to reinstate the eviction case, set it for trial within 21 days, inform the parties how to proceed, and make the records and information non-confidential.
If the landlord does not file a motion to reinstate the eviction case during the delay period, the judge is required to dismiss the case with prejudice. All records and information will remain confidential.
When Does This Start?
A pilot version of the eviction diversion program initially became available in some counties in October 2020, and the eviction diversion program became available in all counties and cities in Texas on February 15, 2021. The program has been renewed through Supreme Court of Texas emergency orders since then.
Who Is Eligible for Available Rental Assistance?
Specific eligibility requirements may vary from program to program. To be eligible for most rental assistance programs, a landlord and tenant must meet the following criteria:
Landlord Eligibility Criteria
- Assistance for rent and reasonable late fees (stemming from non-payment of rent) no older than March 13, 2020
- Must complete steps to accept payment when prompted
Tenant Eligibility Criteria
- Household has been sued for residential eviction from primary residence located in Texas
- Household has eviction court docket number
- Household income is at or below 80% of Area Median Income (limits available by county at http://texasrentrelief.com)
- Household member certifies one of the following:
- They have qualified for unemployment benefits on or after March 13, 2020; or
- Due to or during the pandemic they have experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced financial hardship
Where Can I Learn More About Available Rental Assistance Programs?
The Texas Legal Services Center has established a toll-free hotline to assist individuals seeking legal assistance at 855-270-7655.
Find out more about available rental assistance programs in your area at https://www.consumerfinance.gov/housing/housing-insecurity/help-for-renters/get-help-paying-rent-and-bills/.