Go In-Depth on Our Legislative Priorities: Eviction Sealing
Eviction is the leading cause of homelessness, and just one eviction filing can cause housing insecurity for up to seven years. During the current Texas legislative session, we support two bills that would seal eviction records when the tenant wins their case or has it dismissed.
Background on Eviction Sealing
Increased cost of rent, inflation and the ongoing effects of the pandemic have left millions of Texans in crisis, struggling to find affordable housing. Workers in Texas’ fast-growing occupations have average wages below 50% area median income (AMI), putting them at greater risk of housing insecurity. When low-income working Texans lose stable housing, many fall into homelessness.
When accepting rental applications, 90% of landlords rely on third-party screening companies that do not specify the reason for prior eviction or the outcome of the case. This results in the denial of housing to renters who won their eviction case or had a case dropped. Landlords use eviction filings as protection against renters with a pattern of eviction filings. However, 77% of Dallas County residents with an eviction filing had only one eviction filed against them in a six-year period.
What’s Happening This Legislative Session
House Bill 511 (Rep. Wu, Houston) and its companion, Senate Bill 1822 (Sen. Johnson, Dallas), would automatically seal eviction records when the tenant wins or the case is dismissed, increasing housing access for Texas families. These bills would also prohibit third-party screening companies from reporting sealed eviction filings, preventing future housing discrimination.
Learn more about eviction in our community:
- Dallas Court Observation Project: Summer 2022 Findings
- Eviction at Dallas College: How Students Are Affected and What to Do Next
We’ll be watching this legislation throughout the session. Check back here for important updates as these bills advance through the legislative process.