As of: May 6, 2020
On April 22, 2020, the City of Dallas, acting through the Mayor and City Counsel executed Ordinance No. 31521 with the following purposes: (i) providing for a COVID notice of possible eviction by residential landlords before a notice to vacate, (ii) creating a COVID hardship notice for tenants, and (iii) creating an offence and penalty for landlords that violate the ordinance. The guidance set forth in this article is only for properties within the City of Dallas; other cities may have their own ordinances for evictions.
Patel Law Group PLLC has prepared the attached flowchart for our clients to navigate the Ordinance. Landlords must remember that the Ordinance is in addition to the Texas Property Code procedures on evictions that we had outlined in a previous article [https://bit.ly/2zej6ha].
Some of the key terms in the flow chart are as follows:
- Notice of Possible Eviction: This is a written notice substantially in the form of Exhibit “A” attached to this article. The content of the notice is set forth in Sections 2(g) and (m) of the Ordinance, and it must be served in the manner set forth in Section 2(h) or (i). The notice must be delivered in person or by mail to the premises in question.
- If the notice is delivered in person, it must be given to the tenant or a person residing at the premises that is 16 years old or greater.
- If the notice is sent by mail, it must be by regular mail, by registered mail, or by certified mail, return receipt requested.
- If the notice is affixed to the door of the premises, it must (1) be affixed to the inside of the main entry door, or (2) affixed to the outside entrance of the main entry door in a sealed envelope stating the tenant’s name, address, and in all capital letters, the words “IMPORTANT DOCUMENT” and no later than 5pm of the same day, depositing in the mail in the same county as the premises is located, a copy of the COVID notice if (x) the premises has no mailbox and has a keyless bolting device, alarm, or animal preventing entry to affix the COVID notice to the inside of the main entry door, or (y) landlord reasonably believes harm would result from personal delivery or affixing the COVID notice to the inside of the main door.
- COVID Financial Impact: A COVID Financial Impact is a substantial decrease in household income for a residential tenant related to COVID-19, due to business closure, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, layoffs, or substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses. A financial impact is “related to COVID-19” if it is caused by the pandemic or government response in any way, including complying with public health orders or recommended guidance from state, local, or federal authorities.
- COVID Hardship Notice: A COVID Hardship Notice means a written objectively verifiable notice a tenant may provide to the tenant’s landlord of the tenant’s COVID financial impact, in the form of an email, text, letter, or any other form of written communication, evidencing any loss of income or increase in expenses, and a statement from the tenant that the loss of income or increase in expenses is due to financial impacts related to COVID-19.
This article was drafted by Shameer Soni a Partner at Patel Law Group PLLC in Irving, Texas. Shameer practices exclusively real estate and business law. His real estate practice is focused on multifamily transactions, including purchases, sales, syndications, lending, and general advisory. Shameer worked on close to $1,000,000 in transactions in 2019, and has been named a Thompson Reuters Super Lawyers Rising Star for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. Patel Law Group PLLC is a full-service law firm with offices in Irving, Sugar Land, and Oklahoma City practicing business, immigration, real estate, and litigation, as well as a fee office for Fidelity National Title.