HBA-MPM H.B. 2202 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2202 By: McClendon Business & Industry 3/29/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently, a tenant maybe evicted for nonpayment of rent resulting from an eviction suit. If a tenant does not prevail in the suit, the tenant may appeal the judgment, which requires the payment of additional fees. However, current law does not specifically address the procedures to be utilized in the eviction appeals process if the tenant is a pauper. In addition, landlords may face problems in the appeals process because there are no guidelines for the justice of the peace and county judge regarding what constitutes pauper's status. Some justices refuse to hold pauper's affidavit hearings after the landlord contests a pauper's affidavit in a timely manner. Additionally, making a motion to a county court for issuance of a writ of possession is both costly and protracted. House Bill 2202 specifies the information that is required to be in a pauper's affidavit in order to establish pauper status and establishes a time line during which a justice court is required to hold a hearing on a pauper's affidavit and to issue a writ of possession. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS House Bill 2202 amends the Property Code to authorize a tenant in a residential eviction case based on nonpayment of rent who is unable to pay the costs of appeal or to file an appeal bond to appeal the justice court's judgment by filing with the justice court within five days after a judgment is signed a sworn affidavit stating that the tenant is a pauper and unable to pay the costs of an appeal or to file an appeal bond. The bill requires the affidavit to contain information regarding the tenant's identity, employment income, spouse's income, governmental entitlement income and all other income, cash and savings and checking accounts, real and personal property, debts, monthly expenses, and information regarding the tenant's dependents. The bill requires a justice if a landlord contests a pauper's affidavit within the time frame permitted by law to hold a hearing and rule on the matter within five days after the notice of contest is received. The bill provides that the tenant has the burden to prove the alleged pauper status. The bill requires the tenant after a determination that the tenant is a pauper to tender rent to the justice court and county court, respectively. The bill provides that if the payment of rent is shared by the tenant and a governmental agency in a rental agreement with the landlord, the rent required to be paid by the tenant into the justice or county court registry is the portion for which the tenant is liable under the agreement. The bill provides that if the court approves the pauper's affidavit in an appeal of a nonpayment of rent eviction case to the county court, the county court filing fee or an additional pauper's affidavit in lieu of a county court filing fee is prohibited. If a tenant fails to timely tender rent to the required court, the bill authorizes the landlord to file a sworn motion of nonpayment with the county court, which upon verification is required to issue a writ of possession. If during the appeal a governmental agency is responsible for a part of the rent and does not pay it to the landlord or to the required court, the bill authorizes the landlord to file a motion with the county court asking that the tenant be required to pay the full rent amount as a condition for remaining in possession. The bill authorizes the court to grant such motion if the landlord did not cause the governmental agency to cease paying the rental payments and the landlord shows good cause. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.