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Texas Eviction Diversion Program Overview

Due to the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Texans struggled to pay rent. Housing and legal experts expected evictions to surge in the months following the pandemic’s onset. Texas courts also anticipated a significant increase in evictions, particularly at the end of the CDC eviction moratorium, which would have resulted in judges struggling to handle backlogged cases.

Responding to the concerns of rising eviction cases, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA), the Office of the Texas Governor, the Supreme Court of Texas and the Texas Office of Court Administration collaborated to create the Texas Eviction Diversion Program (TEDP). TEDP was added as part of the Texas Rent Relief (TRR) Program.

Through TEDP, TDHCA reserved 10% of available Texas Rent Relief funds to help low-income tenants facing eviction remain in their homes, and provide landlords with an alternative to eviction. As the program comes to a close, as of this writing in June 2023, TRR continues to assist households with its remaining funds, and TEDP continues to operate in courts across Texas where landlords and tenants agree to participate in local rental assistance programs.

By design, TEDP did the following:

  • Allowed courts to pause eviction cases while tenants and landlords applied for rental assistance.
  • Provided training to court administrators about how tenants and landlords could access available rental assistance.
  • Made lump-sum payments to participating landlords for past-due rent and late fees so tenants could remain in their homes.
  • Kept evictions off tenants’ records by making eviction case records confidential.

By the Numbers

1st statewide eviction diversion program in Texas.
25,000+ renter households received more than $243 million in assistance, had their evictions stopped and had their court records made confidential.
800 Texas Justices of the Peace (JPs) implemented TEDP at eviction hearings.
254 County Court (Appeal) Judges implemented TEDP at eviction appeal hearings.
55,000+ renter households received legal aid assistance through Texas Access to Justice Foundation (TAJF) awards.

How It Works

Context and History

The Supreme Court of Texas officially established the court component of the Texas Eviction Diversion Program (TEDP) through the September 25, 2020 Twenty-Seventh Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster. As of this writing in June 2023, the Supreme Court of Texas has continually extended the life of the program via subsequent emergency orders, which direct eviction and eviction appeal courts on how to implement TEDP. All TEDP emergency orders are available on the court’s TEDP website.

From October 2020 through February 2021, TDHCA administered a TEDP pilot program using $3.3 million in Community Service Block Grant funds. Funding helped 380 households in eight Texas communities avoid eviction and stay housed with up to six months of rental assistance. Feedback from participating tenants, landlords, subrecipients and other organizations informed the development of the statewide Texas Eviction Diversion Program (TEDP) that launched February 15, 2021.

Program Evolution

TDHCA, the Texas Office of Court Administration, the Supreme Court of Texas and many stakeholders have collaborated to make ongoing improvements to TEDP. Those improvements include:

  • Expanded protections and program eligibility for tenants who have applied to any available local rental assistance program (i.e., city or county programs), and not just the TRRP.
  • Expanded TEDP protections for tenants who file eviction appeals with the county courts.
  • Allowed legal aid or volunteer legal services representatives in the eviction courts and eviction appeals courts (in person or remotely) to provide information, advice, intake, referral or other assistance to tenants.
  • Provided a historic $43 million in Housing Stability Services (HSS) awards to TAJF to fund legal aid services, including representation in eviction court, legal counsel and mediation services. A portion of TDHCA’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) allocation funds the HSS grants. These services are estimated to continue through March 2024.

TDHCA also made the following changes to make Texas Rent Relief more effective at stopping evictions:


        • Prioritized the processing of TEDP applications (when the parties have an active eviction case in court), which meant processing TEDP applications an average of 22 days faster than other applications, from submission to payment.
        • Allowed applications to be updated and prioritized if a tenant was sued for eviction while waiting for assistance.

No Income Documentation

        • Waived income documentation requirements for renters with a court docket number.

De-incentivized Evictions

        • Expanded assistance provided by TRR to include past-due rent at a tenant’s previous residence, as long as no formal eviction judgment or writ of possession was issued.

Maximizing Eviction Protection Period

        • Maximized the amount of rent provided to include current and future months, protecting tenants from future eviction for up to three months, giving tenants time to obtain stable income and pay rent without further assistance.

Supporting Tenants Appealing Eviction

        • Tenants who received direct TRR payment could use funds to make rent payments to the justice court or county court registry for eviction appeals.

Legal Aid Direct Outreach to Renters

        • More than 22,000 tenants facing eviction expressed interest in legal assistance when completing their application. TRR shared this information with legal aid service providers, who then conducted direct outreach to many TRR applicants.

Eviction Education and Resources

        • Posted guidance related to evictions and trained call center representatives on how to help applicants prevent eviction and access legal aid services.

Legal Aid Services Provided

With the $43 million in Housing Stability Services funding TDHCA provided to the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, legal aid organizations across the state have been able to provide a wide range of services to help keep Texans housed during the pandemic, including:

Advocating for Clients in Eviction Court

        • Legal aid attorneys have helped to dismiss eviction cases and make them confidential; defended against improper eviction suits or improper Notices to Vacate; and allowed tenants more time to move out of their unit prior to eviction judgment.

Working with Landlords

        • Legal aid attorneys have negotiated with landlords on behalf of tenants, encouraging landlords to accept rental assistance or enter into payment plans with tenants, forgive some of their tenants’ debt, ensure tenants are not overcharged for rent or other fees they owe, terminate a lease without negatively affecting their tenants’ records or develop move-out agreements.

Appealing an Eviction Determination

        • Legal aid attorneys have supported tenants as they appealed an eviction judgment, representing the tenants in court and helping them use TRR or other assistance funds to pay into the court registry (a requirement in the appeals process for nonpayment of rent evictions).

Program Impact Timeline

The TRR and TEDP programs, along with many local and county level rental assistance programs, helped to keep Texans housed and keep Texas eviction rates at or below their pre-pandemic levels.

Download the Texas Eviction Diversion Program Highlights PDF

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Page Last Updated: July 7, 2023