AUSTIN (KXAN) — Those who live in Travis County cannot be evicted under a new order meant to address concerns as people struggle to pay rent amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt issued an order Friday that prohibits “the issuance of Notices to Vacate,” unless a tenant or a member of their household poses “an imminent threat of physical harm to the property owner, the property owner’s employees, or other tenants, including other tenants within the household,” or if there is criminal activity happening there.
The order is effective immediately and lasts until May 8, unless it is ended or changed in a follow-up order.
The Travis County Sheriff’s Office, Travis County Fire Marshal’s Office and other peace officers can enforce the order. Those in violation could be fined $1,000 and/or face 180 days in jail.
Tenant law and housing experts told KXAN in March that tenants should still pay rent if they are able to, and those who cannot should try to contact their landlords and reach an agreement or payment plan.
The Austin City Council also passed an ordinance March 26 that requires landlords in the city to create a 60-day grace period after rent is due, so renters can come up with money or set up payment plans before being evicted.