Dallas Leaders Considering Emergency Ordinance to Halt Evictions

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Cities and states across the country are taking action to put a halt on evictions amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, anticipating that many tenants won’t be able to pay rent with nearly 3.3 million Americans now out of work.

New York City, one of the nation’s hottest red zones, placed an eviction moratorium on residential and commercial properties two weeks ago. Other cities that have taken similar action include San Francisco, Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles, Denver,  plus Newark, Charleston, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Cleveland.

Austin banned evictions last week, and there is an indefinite eviction pause in San Antonio.

What about Dallas?

On Saturday, Dallas councilman Adam Bazaldua asked Mayor Eric Johnson to place discussion of a proposed city code amendment for an emergency ordinance (prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic) that would halt evictions in the city of Dallas. It would require landlords to provide notices of proposed eviction at least 60 days before issuing notices to vacate.

The proposal goes on the meeting agenda for Wednesday, April 1, a date when many rent checks will be due.

“In my opinion, we are going to experience a level of anxiety that we have not experienced yet,” Bazaldua told the Dallas Morning News.

Some measures have been taken on the state level to protect tenants, but Bazaldua says those are on the back end.

“We don’t need people out on the streets at this time, ” Bazaldua told me, adding he is worried that tenants who don’t know their rights under the law may be taken advantage of, or frightened.”

He told me that Mayor Eric Johnson reacted positively to his memo, and could be supportive. Other council members are also leaning to passing something to protect tenants.

“Even Lee Kleinman appears to be on board,” he said, “because we all know this pandemic and the economic ripples are no one’s fault.”

Bazaldua is talking next to the Apartment Association of Greater Dallas.

Our conversation was prior to President Donald Trump’s new extended quarantine of April 30 revealed Sunday night.

“We are in unprecedented times,” said Bazaldua. “But this feels like the right thing to do as we wait for the effects of the just-passed stimulus program to kick in.”

On March 17th two Ad Hoc Committees were formed to help our residents and businesses in their time of need and to set the stage for Dallas’ swift and complete recovery.

Mayor Johnson, I am asking you to consider placing the attached emergency ordinance on the April 1st briefing agenda. The ordinance requires a landlord to provide a notice of proposed eviction prior to a notice to vacate as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During this time of uncertainty for our residents and small business owners, it is imperative that we as a council do what we can to calm fears and anxiety.

We are asking our residents to stay home for the well-being and health of the public, therefore we must ensure that they are not being displaced from their homes and places of business. Many thanks to my colleagues for their continued hard work, support, and dedication to the residents of Dallas and our Small Business owners.

Austin’s resolution provided the following:

‒ A resolution to give City Hall staff more latitude to develop programs to assist those hurt by the cancellation of South by Southwest and the COVID-19 pandemic.

‒ The creation of the Austin Economic Injury Bridge Loan Program that would use federally backed loans to provide small businesses and nonprofits working capital until Small Business Administration aid is made available.

‒ Reappropriating about $4.5 billion of Housing and Urban Development money for emergency disaster loans.

‒ A 60-day moratorium on evictions.

‒ A resolution calling for relief to utility bills for people who are working from home.

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Candy Evans

A real estate muckraker, Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters. She is also the North Texas real estate editor for Forbes.com, CultureMap Dallas, Modern Luxury Dallas, & the Katy Trail Weekly. Candy has written for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, Inman Real Estate News, plus a host of national sites. Constantly breaking celebrity real estate news, she scooped former president George W. Bush's Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and publisher of her signature CandysDirt.com, and SecondShelters.com, devoted to the vacation home market. Her verticals have won many awards, including Best Blog by the venerable National Association of Real Estate Editors, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism associations. Candy holds an active Texas real estate license but does not sell. She is on the Board of Directors of Braemar Hotels & Resorts (BHR).

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