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Within the first two months of the COVID-19 pandemic, people were given stay-at-homes orders in hopes of flattening the curve. This then resulted in a massive unemployment rate, which in turn affected apartment renters and homeowner budgets. Though some federal interventions were made to delay evictions and foreclosures at the beginning of the crisis, some of those temporary laws have since expired. At LAA, we understand that rent payments become considerably harder to pay without a steady income– that is why we’ve provided the latest information on COVID-19 rent and utility relief.   

Federal COVID-19 Rent Relief Regulation 

The federal CARES Act passed in late March, making evictions banned for 120 days in most forms of housing. The CARES Act states that tenants in federally backed housing cannot be given an eviction notice before July 25th; therefore, tenants cannot be evicted until August 24th. 

The CARES Act covers many, but not all, rental situations. The CARES Act protects you from eviction if your property manager or landlord has a federally backed or multifamily mortgage on your apartment. The CARES Act applies to residences covered under section 41411 of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and the rural housing voucher program outlined in section 542 of the Housing Act of 1949.
 

If the CARES Act applies to your complex, then your safety net expands past a ban on evictions. In addition, your landlord is banned from adding late fees or other penalties for missing out on rent. It’s important to keep in mind that the CARES Act doesn’t free tenants from rent; it only provides housing stability for those in need during this unprecedented time. 

Texas COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program 

The Texas COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program (CERP) provides relief to consumers who are having trouble paying bills due to current circumstances. Residential customers that qualify for unemployment qualify for this program and can apply online through the Public Utility Commission of Texas.   

Lubbock COVID-19 Support Programs  

The City of Lubbock announced COVID-19 relief funding on June 10th. They are setting up multiple programs to provide relief for both individuals and businesses. Applications are available online at mylubbock.us/communitydevelopment. 

The types of assistance include:  

  • Utility Assistance (Neighborhood House) 
  • Rental Assistance (Neighborhood House) 
  • Mortgage Assistance (Lubbock Housing Finance Corporation) 
  • Microgrant Support Program (Market Lubbock, Inc.) 

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to keep many individuals semi-isolated, millions have become or will become unemployed for the unforeseeable future. That’s why we at LAA feel it is important to provide information on how to obtain relief in times of need. We’re all in this together and want to remind potential and current residents that better days are ahead.