Editor’s note: State Bar President Larry McDougal sent the following message to all members on Thursday.
The COVID-19 pandemic has touched every part of our lives, affecting our families, our mental and physical well-being, and our economy. Millions of Texans have lost their jobs or had their incomes impacted by the economic fallout.
As a public health protection measure, the federal government on Tuesday announced a nationwide eviction moratorium to take effect September 4 that appears to protect eligible renters from eviction for nonpayment of rent until December 31. You can read the order by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Department of Health and Human Services here.
While the government’s action may temporarily halt certain evictions until the end of the year, a potential eviction crisis still looms in the distance. As a result, the State Bar of Texas has collected resources for attorneys around the state to access and share with those in need.
The following free informational videos about COVID-19 and tenant/landlord issues can help attorneys learn more about the subject and assist in the future by representing clients facing eviction. See below for CLE details.
- Landlord/Tenant Basics in a COVID-19 World, created by Tarrant County Volunteer Attorney Services and Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas. Eligible for one hour of accredited CLE. Details inside the link.
- Emerging Landlord/Tenant Issues During the COVID-19 Pandemic, created by the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program. One hour of self-study CLE credit, including a half-hour self-study ethics credit can be claimed for this course.
- Evictions and COVID-19, created by Houston Volunteer Lawyers. One hour of self-study CLE credit, including a quarter-hour of self-study ethics credit can be claimed for this course.
Educational Resources for the Public
The State Bar has gathered online resources designed to educate the public on tenant/landlord issues, including eviction rights and responsibilities and the federal order. The collection can be found at texasbar.com/renterinfo.
Legal Services Hotline and Referral Directory
Low-income individuals or families needing legal assistance can be directed to the State Bar’s Disaster Legal Services Hotline at 800-504-7030. The hotline—answered in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese—connects callers to legal aid agencies in their area where attorneys can review the individual circumstances and provide limited legal assistance.
The Legal Access Division’s 2019-2020 Referral Directory of Legal Services and Other Resources for Low-Income Texans offers a searchable county-by-county breakdown of legal and other services across Texas. It can be found at texasbar.com/referraldirectory.
Individuals needing food assistance or other social services can call 2-1-1 to find a list of services in their area. The 2-1-1 community information service is available 24 hours a day. People can also access 2-1-1 Texas online at 211texas.org to search via topic such as food, health, housing, and more.
The State Bar of Texas has a longstanding commitment to fostering a culture of pro bono service in our state. ProBonoTexas.org is your source for all things pro bono. Volunteering to help Texas residents with their legal needs—in any practice area—frees up lawyers at the state’s legal aid agencies to assist more people. At Pro Bono Texas you can find the right volunteer opportunity for you, as well as mentors to guide you and resources to succeed.
State Bar of Texas President