Keep up with what’s happening in the Texas rental housing industry

Tips for property owners now that the state’s rental relief program has stopped taking new applications

Synopsis

Here’s an update on where things stand with the Texas Rent Relief Program (TRRP) after the decision last week to stop accepting new applications as of Friday, November 5, along with some tips for rental property owners. The Texas Apartment Association has also asked the Texas Supreme Court to take some actions on two of its related emergency orders.


In light of the Texas Rent Relief Program’s (TRRP) decision last week to stop accepting new applications as of Friday, November 5, here’s an update on where things stand with the program and related Supreme Court orders.

While Texas Apartment Association staff has been in regular contact with TRRP personnel about the program, the decision to suspend the application portal was done with little advance notice. An analysis by the state showed that the program risked being oversubscribed. It was also estimated that the agency had enough applications in-hand as of Friday afternoon to account for about $680 million in funds that had yet to be disbursed.

Though it will take 6-8 weeks to review and process all of the applications that have been received, it is estimated that by the end of the year the state will have distributed all of the current funding it has received from the U.S. Department of Treasury under the Emergency Rental Assistance 1 and 2 programs (about $2 billion).

In addition to ongoing regular communications with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, the governor’s office and other stakeholders, TAA will continue to provide updates and work to assist members who are having problems with the program.

What happens now?

  • New applications can no longer be submitted.
  • Any applications that were started before the portal closed will have 21 days from the start of the initial application to complete submission of any required documentation.
  • Given this short window, rental property owners with pending applications may want to make sure they complete any information requested, and encourage residents to do the same.

How can I track application status for my property?
How can my residents check their application status?

  • Residents and property owners may check their Texas Rent Relief program application status here or by calling 1-833-989-7368.

What about the Texas Eviction Diversion Program, and other court-related matters?

  • The decision to stop taking new applications or requests for additional funding applies to both TRRP and the Texas Eviction Diversion Program (TEDP).
  • The current Texas Supreme Court Emergency Order 42, which requires Justices of the Peace to provide information about the TEDP and to abate cases for 60 days if a renter has applied for rental assistance funds or if the parties agree to participate in the TEDP, is scheduled to expire as of December 1.
  • Given the status of the state programs, TAA General Counsel Sandy Hoy and HAA General Counsel Howard Bookstaff sent a letter to the Court on November 5, asking that the Supreme Court let the Emergency Order expire.
  • The letter also requests that the Court indefinitely suspend Emergency Order 43, which gives courts the unilateral discretion to modify or suspend deadlines and procedures relating to trials and pretrial hearings through April 1, 2022. This has been a particular concern as it related to justice courts that have used this Order to delay eviction proceedings. The Texas Civil Justice League and Texans for Lawsuit Reform also signed on to the letter.

Is there other help available?

  • The state’s decision to close applications for the TRRP does not affect more than 30 local government programs or programs through non-profit entities, many of which still have funding.
  • More details about local programs can be found through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau search tool.
  • Other options may be available through the Help for Texans website or by calling 211.

Will there be any additional funding available in the state program?

  • The state is applying to the U.S. Department of Treasury for additional funds that were not used by other states or local programs.
  • From our understanding, any decisions to allocate those unspent funds will not take place until sometime in the first quarter of 2022.
  • If the state is allocated more funds, the application portal will re-open.
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