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COVID-19 Eviction Answer Toolkit

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COVID-19 Eviction Answer Toolkit

This toolkit helps you Answer an Eviciton suit during the COVID-19 emergency. It includes an Answer form and tips on what COVID-related defenses to eviction may apply to you. 

Instructions & Forms
Frequently Asked Questions
Local COVID-19 Eviction Protections

Some cities and counties have halted evictions due to COVID-19. Different rules apply to different areas. See a list of local eviction protections on our main COVID-19 Eviction page.

The list may not include all local eviction protections. If your area is not listed, look at your city and county website for more information. 

Also be aware that the CARES Act may protect some renters from eviction through July 25.

Where do I file the Answer to my eviction case?

You need to file with the Justice Court that issued the Eviction Citation. This should be in the same precinct as the property. 

You may be able to file online at efiletexas.gov. If you have trouble filing online, you may be able to file in person with the court clerk. If you can't file online and the court clerk's office is closed, contact the court clerk to find out how to file.

How long do I have to file an Answer in my eviction case?

The Eviction Citation should say when your Answer is due. Eviction cases move fast. Your hearing could take place as soon as 10 days after your landlord files a Petition for Eviction. At the latest, your hearing must be within 21 days of the Petition.

Am I required to file an Answer?

In Texas eviction cases, no. If you fail to file an Answer, you should still go to the hearing. However, there are good reasons to file an Answer:

  • It lets you tell the judge in writing why you should not be evicted.
  • It requires the judge to look at the evidence before making a decision.
  • If you want to appeal the decision to County Court, you have to submit an Answer if you have not already done so.
What is the CARES Act?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a federal law passed to help people and businesses during COVID-19. Among many other things, the Act makes it illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant for nonpayment if the property is covered by certain federal programs. These protections last until July 25, 2020. While you will still owe rent, your landlord is not allowed to charge late fees during this time.

See this article from Texas RioGrande Legal Aid for more information about the CARES Act, including a list of programs that trigger tenant protections.

What is a general denial?

A general denial tells the court that you disagree with what the other side says in their filings. By saying you disagree with what the other side says, you help make sure that the court requires the other side to prove their case. Most Answer forms on TexasLawHelp contain a general denial.