Texas Attorney General says local governments can’t pause evictions

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says local governments don’t have the authority to pause evictions, according to an opinion issued on his website Friday.

However, several Central Texas counties and cities have eviction moratoriums in place, including the City of Austin. Mayor Steve Adler’s current moratorium goes until the end of September.

Travis County has a similar measure in place that also goes until the end of September.

In the opinion addressed to State Sen. Brandon Creighton, Paxton says the orders halting evictions try to rewrite state laws and “replace them with a patchwork of local orders that are inconsistent across the State.”

Paxton acknowledges while local officials do possess certain powers in a declared emergency, those powers do not include being able to “independently rewrite state law as it applies to their jurisdiction to prohibit, delay or restrict the issuance of a notice to vacate.”

Travis County said Friday afternoon that it’s looking over Paxton’s opinion.

“The county attorney’s office is in the process of reviewing the attorney general’s non-binding opinion,” Travis County said in a statement.

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