AUSTIN (KXAN) — Tenants struggling to pay rent during the pandemic will have more time in Travis County, thanks to another extension for eviction protections.
Travis County extended its ban on most evictions until Sept. 30.
Since March, local leaders have put a moratorium on evictions. Mayor Steve Adler extended the city of Austin’s moratorium on evictions until Sept. 30 on Friday.
The Austin City Council originally passed an ordinance in March that required landlords in the city to create a 60-day grace period after rent is due, so renters could come up with rent money or set up payment plans before being evicted, in the midst of financial struggles due to COVID-19.
The help for tenants, however, is creating crises for some landlords, especially those with smaller scale properties.
“When we look at a timeline from March through September, that’s a really challenging length of time for some of those owners to float those expenses, and also just not have that revenue to go into paying their team and maintaining the property, you know, helping, increasing all their cleaning that they’re having to do, and everything that’s related to running a safe environment for the rest of their residents is really challenging,” said Emily Blair, Executive Vice President of the Austin Apartment Association.
Blair says while the majority of Austinites are being honest about whether or not they can pay rent, there are others taking advantage of eviction protections.
“There is that piece, the small percentage of people who are taking advantage, and who in some cases, especially some properties where they were behind on rent before and not related to anything that had to do with the pandemic, that have been maintaining residence for free,” Blair said.
That’s why the Austin Apartment Association is encouraging local leaders to go about helping tenants more sustainably, allowing a few more exceptions for evictions and providing more emergency rental assistance.
“Continuing to extend eviction moratoriums is not the solution,” Blair said. “We don’t want another crisis to come out of this where we end up in another 2009, where we have a wave of foreclosures after the fact that have a larger impact on the rental market and residents in our city.”
The Austin Apartment Association says Austin’s RENT 2.0 program will be vital to helping landlords. As part of the program, the $17 million will be provided in rental assistance to those struggling during the pandemic. Applications are set to open up for that assistance next month.