‘Tsunami of evictions’ possible when protections expire in Austin

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AUSTIN (KXAN) – Local renters currently have protections from eviction, but some of those protections expire at the end of next week. 

Until July 25th, landlords in Austin and Travis County are prohibited from issuing their tenants any notices to vacate.

“If the protections are not renewed, we might see a tsunami of evictions,” said Shoshana Krieger, who works for Building and Strengthening Tenant Action, or BASTA. 

Krieger added that an increasing number of renters fear they’ll lose the roof over their heads during this difficult time.

The City of Austin does have an active ordinance giving renters 60 days to catch up on late rent payments before a landlord can proceed with an eviction, but for many renters, simply having a grace period won’t solve the problem.

“We’re hearing from tenants who are employed now but have rent arrears which are so great they can’t catch up,” said Krieger. “While protections have given tenants time, we haven’t actually gotten the funding.”

She’s talking about the direct rental assistance payments the City of Austin tells us it plans to roll out late summer.

Most of the $17 million that will be paid out in this second round of relief comes from the Federal CARES Act.

Previously, the city allocated $1.2 million in the first round of coronavirus-related rental assistance. That was done through a lottery.

As pandemic protections for renters begin to expire, not everyone will be sad to see them go.

Paul Amacher is a local landlord who said the existing eviction orders have punished him and other property owners.

Amacher said he lost his job because of the pandemic, and he and his fiancée had to sell the house they were living in.

“I had what was a fortunate opportunity of working in the tourism industry which has been absolutely devastated,” he said.

He said the tenants who were living in the couple’s other home declined to move out after the lease ended. Amacher said they cited the local eviction moratorium orders. 

“We’re in a situation where we’re going to be effectively homeless due to the loss of our landlord rights,” he told us.

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