As federal, state, and local governments ease COVID-19 related business restrictions, AATC, TAA, and NAA government relations teams are proactively engaged with government officials to ensure that our properties are open; our assets are maintained; our financial obligations are met; and, most importantly, that our employees, residents, guest, and supplier partners are safe. AATC members are encouraged to follow public health guidelines and practice social distancing to ensure the well-being of those who work and live in the more than 900 apartment communities in Tarrant County.
In Tarrant County, AATC partnered with Arlington, Fort Worth, and Tarrant County officials to create a COVID-19 rental assistance program to help with rent payments for renters directly impacted by COVID-19. AATC is working with our Justice of the Peace courts to ensure that pre-COVID-19 pending eviction cases are swiftly adjudicated, and that future eviction trials are conducted in a safe and efficient manner.
NAA and TAA are aggressively advocating for favorable federal and state policies that address the financial impact of COVID-19 on the multifamily industry, including property taxes, employment issues, and rental assistance.
Crises do not build character; crises reveal character. Thanks so much to AATC’s leadership, owner/operators, and our supplier partners for all your hard work to ensure our employees, residents, and businesses thrive through this challenging time. If you have any questions or concerns about our industry’s COVID-19 response, go to www.aatcnet.org.
Following is a summary of COVID-19 related issues as of June 1st, 2020.
RENTAL ASSISTANCE UPDATE:
As of June 1st, 2020, more than 2,700 Tarrant County renters applied for COVID-19 rental assistance. AATC is partnering with Fort Worth and Arlington, along with Tarrant County officials to create a COVID-19 rental assistance program. These rental assistance funds are limited and are available to assist with rent payments for renters directly impacted by COVID-19. Rent payments will be made directly to landlords—not the residents. Landlords and renters can access these monies based on where their property is located as follows:
If you or your residents have additional questions about Arlington’s rental assistance program, contact: (817) 275-3351.
If you or your residents have additional questions about Fort Worth’s rental assistance program, contact: (817) 392-7540.
All Other Tarrant County Cities:
If you or your residents have additional questions about Tarrant County’s rental assistance program, contact: (817) 850-7940.
To learn more about these programs, go to https://www.aatcnet.org/coronavirus.html.
EVICTION TRIAL UPDATE
On May 14th, the Texas Supreme Court issued an order allowing non-payment of rent evictions to be heard beginning May 19th, and writs of possession may be executed beginning May 26th. While eviction trials may resume, AATC encourages members to find ways, if possible, to avoid evicting residents.
The Court’s order requires petitions for evictions filed between March 27th and July 25th to include a statement that the premises are not subject to the moratorium on evictions imposed by Section 4024 of the CARES Act, which only applies to eviction cases involving non-payment of rent. The goal of this order is to have a consistent statewide approach for handling eviction cases.
AATC is working with Tarrant County Justice of the Peace court judges to ascertain their court-specific eviction trial procedures. AATC recommends that our members contact their Justice of the Peace court to determine court-specific rules and procedures for eviction trials.
Given the economic impact of COVID-19, AATC anticipates an increase in eviction case jury-trials, as well as, pauper’s affidavits and bankruptcy filings. AATC strongly recommends you seek legal counsel if you have questions or concerns about eviction trials.
The most onerous eviction provision in the CARES Act creates a temporary eviction moratorium for 120 days (through July 24th, 2020).
The moratorium applies to rental housing providers whose properties are insured, guaranteed, supplemented, protected, or assisted in any way by HUD, the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac; or participate in the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program; the Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities Program; Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) Program; McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Programs; Section 236 properties; Section 221(d)(3) below market and reduced interest rate program (BMIR); the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program; Section 8 project-based housing; HOME grantees; rural housing assistance programs; and Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) properties.
In addition, owners covered by the above, are prohibited from initiating an eviction filing or assessing fees or penalties on residents for non-payment of rent. Additionally, rental housing providers covered under this section may not issue a notice to vacate until after the moratorium expiration or require a renter to vacate until 30-days after the notice to vacate has been issued.
To help determine if your properties are covered under the CARES Act, check these searchable databases (Note: these do not include single-family properties, AATC is providing these as a resource but cannot verify accuracy):