AUSTIN, Texas - Judge Nick Chu, Travis County Justice of the Peace, Pct. 5, has announced extended eviction protections to renters in Travis County due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Judge Chu’s new order will require trials regarding evictions for unpaid rent to be paused for 30 days so that renters can seek rental assistance, consult a pro bono attorney through a JP Court program set up for indigent tenants, and negotiate a settlement without the need for an eviction.
The order will stay in effect through March 1, 2022, the day the JP Courts lose the ability to modify rules and procedures under a Texas Supreme Court Emergency Order.
This will be the 18th order providing eviction protections since Judge Nick Chu issued the state’s first eviction protection order on March 13, 2020.
"Judges are required to follow the law, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a heart to try to help people," Justice of the Peace Nick Chu said in a news release "With the rise of the omicron variant, the courts are doing everything we can to prevent a public health crisis from spiraling into a housing and economic crisis as well."
Officials say since instituting various eviction protections and moratoriums during the COVID-19 pandemic, Travis County has remained a leader among Texas counties regarding renter protections. Evictions in Travis County have remained at 84% or more below average compared to prior to the COVID-19 crisis, according to data from Eviction Lab from summer 2021.