With legislation around the eviction moratorium, rent relief programs, and security deposits constantly evolving, Texas property owners and operators need to stay up-to-date on the latest rental housing laws. What are the biggest challenges facing both operators and their residents, and what do multifamily experts in the region have to say? What does the newest security deposit bill passed in May 2021 mean for the industry?
States continue to roll out rental assistance programs, and a wave of security deposit legislation is sweeping across the nation, so we invited esteemed industry experts from AMLI Residential and Madera Residential to discuss key concerns, including:
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The CDC eviction moratorium is set to expire June 30, 2021. As of March 31, the Texas Supreme Court’s 34th Emergency Order, which applied the provisions of the CDC moratorium to Texas courts, has expired. This means eviction proceedings can take place, barring where local government protections apply.
To help make sense of the various regulations, we hosted an educational presentation and expert panel to help inform apartment operators in the state of Texas — below is a recap of the webinar.
The CAA and ARPA bring a combined total of $45 billion in federal funding to cover rental arrears. Based on population, the program allocates $1.3 billion in funding for Texas.
The eligibility criteria for both the CAA and ARPA funding programs require that:
The 2021 Texas Rent Relief Program (TRRP) — which is intended to distribute the $1.3 billion in federal funding available in Texas — is currently available and being distributed. Those interested in applying should visit texasrentrelief.com.
Applicants are eligible for up to 15 months of assistance, covering past due rent from the previous 12 months and future rental assistance for three months. While there is no maximum grant allowance per household, rent may not exceed $4,600 per month. Units that exceed the limit are not eligible for assistance from the Texas Rent Relief Program.
Operators can begin the process of applying for funds themselves, but renter participation is required in order for an application to be accepted. For a list of program FAQs, visit here.
The Texas Eviction Diversion Program (TEDP) is a voluntary program that allows eligible landlords and tenants to mutually agree on a resolution to an eviction case before displacing a resident. The program was created to prevent evictions that are already on court dockets, as a last resort to keep renters in apartments.
TEDP is a program specific to Texas, and is designed to encourage mediation to resolve past-due rent issues between operators and their residents, rather than evict or displace renters. Applicants are given funding priority over those utilizing the Texas Rent Relief Program, making this an attractive option for operators. For a full list of program requirements, visit here.
In May 2021, new security deposit legislation was passed in Texas, marking a big win for both operators and renters in the state. Effective September 1, 2021, SB 1783 codifies the current practice of utilizing a small monthly deposit waiver fee instead of a large upfront deposit upon move-in. The bill outlines the following:
SB 1783 specifically says that the fee collected under this section is not a security deposit, meaning the fee does not need to comply with the security deposit statute.
Considering today’s economic climate, it’s increasingly important for operators to meet the needs of renters who are dealing with financial strain. Most Texas operators understand that renters prefer not to pay large upfront deposits. In the great state of Texas, we’ve seen more and more operators try to address affordability by charging, sometimes, only $100 for deposits.
What’s the issue with this approach? It doesn’t mitigate risk. So, what happens when these security deposits aren’t enough?
Lately, we’ve seen a trend to move away from deposits toward risk fees. But these fees do not always provide sufficient coverage for operators in relation to the risk they’re taking on. Operators need better backend protection, which is why across the country, we’re seeing rapid movement toward deposit replacement solutions, like Zero Deposit lease insurance, to protect against rent loss.
In fact, since the start of 2020, there’s been a 58% increase in Zero Deposit properties across Texas.
Legislation like SB 1783 takes Renter’s Choice laws — which require deposit alternatives like surety bonds be offered — a step further in eliminating the issues associated with deposits and their alternatives. In other words, deposit replacement laws provide apartment operators true deposit replacement solutions while leaving it up to the operator to determine the best deposit replacement option.
Ultimately, deposit replacement laws like SB 1783 enable operators a secure way to choose a deposit solution like lease insurance while also creating more affordable move-ins for renters.
SB 1783 marks an important victory for the multifamily industry. LeaseLock supports legislation that gives operators a true — and secure — choice in selecting deposit solutions that they determine is best for their properties and which, at the same time, can make renting more affordable for their residents.
More operators are seeking out deposit solutions more than ever before. Some key concerns operators are looking to tackle include:
Operators should understand the key differentiators between the deposit solutions available: deposit replacements and deposit alternatives.
Deposit alternatives (i.e., surety bonds) create operational complexity as they require onsite training, third-party applications, and background checks and/or FICO scores. Because they’re out-of-workflow, deposit alternatives often lead to low adoption.
Deposit replacement solutions (i.e., lease insurance) totally eliminate deposits. Lease insurance eases administrative burdens, streamlines back-office workflows, and provides significantly more protection for rent and damages compared to traditional deposits and deposit alternatives.
LeaseLock hosted an educational webinar and expert panel session on the many legislative challenges facing owners and operators in Texas. Moderated by our very own Ed Wolff – Chief Revenue Officer, the panel featured industry thought leaders, Jeffery Lowry – Chief Operating Officer at Madera Residential and Traci Hall – President – West Region at AMLI Residential.
Below is a preview of the panel questions covered:
To access a recording of the of the rental housing laws presentation and panel, fill out the form below: