DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas city leaders are finalizing details of a proposed emergency ordinance to prevent evictions during the coronavirus pandemic.
Patterned after one just proposed in Austin, the proposal would require landlords to give renters a minimum 60 day notice to vacate before they could proceed with evictions.
While the ordinance will certainly help those in a financial bind who are suddenly out of work, there is concern about the impact it would have on landlords.
Exceptions would exist allowing evictions of tenants arrested for criminal activity or drug offenses.
During a meeting Thursday of the city council’s COVID-19 Ad Hoc committee, an attorney helping renters described the current situation through the eyes of a veteran who is already behind on rent while waiting for his federal disaster relief check and his unemployment check to arrive.
“His landlord has been blowing up his phone with nasty text messages and phone calls trying to get him to pay the rent,” said attorney Mark Melton. “Obviously he doesn’t have any money. We are hearing that a lot of people are unable to apply for their unemployment benefits because the website and the phone lines are backed up.”
If the ordinance passes, city leaders said it should not be considered a free pass to avoid paying rent for 60 days.
Renters will still have to pay their full amounts owed or still face being eventually kicked out.
For now, it’s still unclear what kind of incentives landlords would have, if any, to work with tenants in trouble. But the city is also working on putting together a rental assistance program with $4 million of available money.