Former Round Rock teacher facing eviction says renters ‘need to know the laws’

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Deborah Schaum will move out of her apartment Sunday and move to San Antonio for a new teaching job.

“If my parents hadn’t paid the down payment of where I’m going, I don’t know what I would have done,” she told us.

She had been a Round Rock ISD teacher for the last four years. Due to an unexpected expense and on a teacher’s salary, she was unable to pay July’s rent.

“I talked to them, and I said, ‘you know I can pay this out incrementally,’ and they were like ‘nope,’” said Schaum.

She received an eviction notice and will be moving out of her apartment in Leander, a part of Williamson County where there are no active eviction moratoriums. The statewide eviction moratorium issued by the Texas Supreme Court ended back in May.

Schaum says she has diabetes and fibromyalgia and has a lot of medical expenses.

“I was going to the food pantry every single week, because otherwise, there’s no food whatsoever,” she said.

Other renters, like those in Travis County, have more protections. The county has extended its eviction moratorium until September 30.

However, local housing attorneys say they’re still seeing people who are vacating under the threat of eviction.

“Having an eviction on your record, affecting your credit, all of these are reasons why people would make rational decisions to move in with other folks, and that has public health implications,” said Shoshana Krieger, who works for Building and Strengthening Tenant Action, or BASTA. 

Krieger says she’s hearing of people “double and tripling up” in homes and apartments, which could prove problematic as the country tries to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

We’re seeing more and more folks who are in people’s homes, especially in the Latinx community where the COVID cases are skyrocketing,” she said.

Schaum recommends renters know what eviction prohibitions, if any, apply to them. She says she consulted with tenants, advocates and housing attorneys for advice.

“It’s very humbling — it’s embarrassing,” she said. “But I’d say people don’t need to be embarrassed about it, because its going to happen everywhere.”

Rental assistance resources:

Austin Tenant Council’s information on the eviction process:

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