AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Landlords and tenants who are dealing with evictions in Potter, Randall, and Deaf Smith counties may soon receive some help.
These counties are part of the 19-county pilot program which aims to help all parties involved in evictions stemming from financial hardship brought on by the pandemic.
Unlike the eviction moratoriums, this program will also directly pay the landlord for missed rent payments.
“The landlord could receive up to six months' worth of rent payment, meaning payment if the tenant is behind and also a forward paying for the month," said Kristina Tirloni, spokesperson for the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. "So, it helps the landlord out and in return the landlord is agreeing to waive all late fees, court cost anything of that nature for the tenant so they would actually be mostly caught up.”
During a court hearing, the justice of the peace will ensure both the landlord and the tenant are willing to enter the program.
If so, they will be referred to The Panhandle Regional Planning Commission website to register.
At that point that eviction has paused for 60 days while eligibility is determined by The PRPC.
“Eligibility is based on income, you have to be within 200 percent of the poverty level,” said Lori Gunn, the regional services program coordinator. “There are some exceptions, not all incomes are included in that calculation. They can be no further behind than April 2020, so we might run into some kind of problem like that. Now there are exceptions so if they can find assistance through other programs and do a combination of those programs paying for rents further behind than April and then this program, they might still be eligible.”
The program will also only pay a maximum amount based on fair housing rent, which means they will pay if the rent is the average in the area.
After the case is reviewed, those who are not eligible will be referred to other programs to help with finances.
The program is a response to the eviction moratoriums that are expected to end in December.
After this pilot run, it aims to expand to metropolitan areas by December and then to the entire state by next year.