How does the program work?
The Texas Eviction Diversion Program (TEDP) helps tenants who have been sued for eviction.
The landlord gets paid and the tenant stays in the home. The court abates the eviction case and eventually dismisses it. The judge will also seal the court record so that future landlords won’t see it and hold the eviction case against the tenant.
The TEDP is not automatic. You must meet the program requirements and then make sure that the eviction court judge knows you want to participate.
How can I participate?
You can participate if any of the following occur:
1. The landlord applies for rent relief, or
2. The landlord participates in the tenant's application for rent relief, or
3. The landlord submits any information or documentation to receive payment as part of a rent relief program, or
4. The tenant has applied or plans to apply for rent relief and the landlord agrees to participate in the TEDP.
Let the judge know if any of these things have happened. If you have evidence, be sure to bring it to court. If you do not have evidence to show the judge, the court might accept a written declaration.
Once the judge is aware that you qualify, they should pause your eviction case and immediately seal the case records.
Note that the TEDP is designed to accompany efforts to get rent relief, whether through Texas Rent Relief or another rent assistance program. If you do not qualify for rent assistance and fail to pay rent, your landlord may choose to reinstate the eviction case.
What happens when I take part in the TEDP?
- The judge must delay the case for 60 days and make the records and information of the eviction case confidential.
- If there is not already a rent assistance application, then the parties apply for rental assistance through Texas Rent Relief or another program.
- The landlord has the right to reinstate the case within those 60 days.
- If the landlord files to reinstate the case, the judge must then set an eviction hearing within 21 days, inform the parties, and make the records and information non-confidential.
- If the landlord does not file a motion to reinstate within the delay period, the judge must dismiss the case with prejudice (meaning it cannot be filed again on the same facts). All records and information will remain sealed and confidential.
Does the landlord have to agree before the tenant can participate in this program?
Not always. You can qualify for the TEDP based on your landlord agreeing to participate. However, you can also qualify for the TEDP based on a landlord applying for rent assistance in regards to your unit -- or even their merely submitting information in an effort to get paid through a rent assistance program.
Landlords who participate must waive unreasonable fees and penalties and not charge the tenant for court costs. Landlords must withdraw the eviction and not evict the covered tenant as long as the tenant is receiving assistance from the program.
How is the money distributed?
If a tenant and landlord apply together for rent assistance, or if the landlord applies on their own, the payment will go directly to the landlord. If the landlord does not take part in the rent assistance application, or if the rent assistance program cannot get the landlord's banking information for some reason, payment may go to the tenant.
Will taking part in the TEDP help with my rent assistance application?
Possibly. Texas Rent Relief has money set aside specifically for TEDP cases. Also, letting Texas Rent Relief know that you have an active court case may help speed up the application process.
Where can I learn more about my eviction rights during this pandemic?
What other rental assistance resources are there?
Texans may be eligible for rental assistance and other services as soon as they are worried about rent. You do not need to wait until your landlord tries to evict you before you look for help. You can apply for Texas Rent Relief, any programs you can find on your local city or county website, and help from organizations listed here and here. You may also be able to find local programs with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's rent assistance locator.
Will my immigration status be affected if I apply for this program?
No. These programs and funds are considered "disaster relief" and are not considered by DHS under the public charge rule. See the Public Charge Rule Fact Sheet here. Also, documentation of immigration status is not included in the eligibility or documentation requirements for this program.
Do I need permission from a judge to take part in the TEDP?
Yes, to the extent that the court will have to pause, seal, and eventually dismiss your case. You do not need the judge's permission to access rent relief funds. Rent relief is administered through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Services or through local programs. However, if you have a case or cause number, the judge's name, and your landlord's cooperation, be sure to note it in your rent relief application.
I have already lost my eviction case. Can I still take part in the program?
Yes. If your landlord agrees or tries to get paid through a rent assistance program, you can take part in the Texas Eviction Program so long as you are still living in the home and your landlord has not gotten a Writ of Possession. However, you will need to speak with the judge. You will also need to contact the administrators of your rent relief program if you have a pending application.
(A landlord can ask the Justice Court for a Writ of Possession five days after winning an eviction case. The Writ of Possession gives the constable the authority to remove a tenant who has been evicted.)
Where can I learn more about the Texas Eviction Diversion Program and rent relief?
- Go to the Texas Rent Relief website or call 1-833-9TX-RENT (1-833-989-7368). Phones are open Monday - Saturday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Multiple languages are supported. Texas Rent Relief has an eligibility screening tool as well as answers to common questions.
- Educational flyers and handouts from the TDHCA can be found here.
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