Austin tenants affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic have 60 days to come up with owed rent once a landlord starts threatening eviction. With a unanimous vote Thursday, council members approved an ordinance adding another step to the eviction process, thereby slowing a potential force-out of tenants unable to pay rent because their wages have dried up. It goes into effect immediately and applies to both residential and commercial properties. “No one should lose their home during the pandemic,” Council Member Greg Casar, who brought the item forward, said. “It’s wrong and it’s also terrible for public health.” There had been confusion on behalf of renters and landlords about how to move forward amid staggering unemployment. Some landlords have begun offering payment plans to those affected by the coronavirus, while others have reiterated that rent is due in full. Before council’s vote, landlords could still file evictions against tenants, although Travis County judges are not hearing these cases. Judges have suspended eviction hearings until at least May 9. The new rule buys renters time by adding a step to the eviction process, which typically begins when a landlord posts a “notice to vacate” sign on a tenant’s door. This indicates the intent to file an eviction with the courts within days unless the tenant pays rent or moves out. Click to read more at www.kut.org.