• Resources for Consumers

    Cable Shutoff Information

    From the Texas Cable Association:

     

    All four Texas Cable Association members are among 69 U.S. cable and telecommunications companies that have signed on to the FCC’s “Keep Americans Connected Pledge.” Companies signing promise that, for the next 60 days, they will not cut off broadband or telephone service to any customers, even those unable to pay their bills; waive late fees incurred because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and open their Wi-Fi hotspots to all. Learn more.

    Internet Access

    Internet providers are offering eligible Texans access to temporary free internet access during the COVID-19. Providers offering such services are listed below:

    Mortgage Payment Information

     

    From the FDIC:

     

    Homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage who may be facing eviction should, first, contact their loan servicer. Additional resources are available at the FDIC Foreclosure Prevention page located here.

     

    Federal financial institution regulators and state regulators have encouraged financial institutions to meet the financial needs of customers and members affected by the coronavirus. The agencies recognize the potential impact of the coronavirus on the customers, members, and operations of many financial institutions and will provide appropriate regulatory assistance to affected institutions subject to their supervision. Learn more.

     

    From the US Department of Housing:

    U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, in consultation with the Trump Administration and the Coronavirus Task Force, today authorized the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to implement an immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages for the next 60 days. These moratoriums are part of the continued effort by President Trump to address impacts to the financial well-being of America’s individuals, families, and businesses caused by Coronavirus (COVID-19).

     

    Fannie Mae:

    Fannie Mae (FNMA/OTCQB) wants to help ensure families are given options in these uncertain times in the case of job loss, a reduction in work hours, illness, or other issues. We want to remind those impacted by COVID-19 of available mortgage assistance and relief options. Under Fannie Mae's guidelines for single-family mortgages:

    • Homeowners who are adversely impacted by this national emergency may request mortgage assistance by contacting their mortgage servicer
    • Foreclosure sales and evictions of borrowers are suspended for 60 days
    • Homeowners impacted by this national emergency are eligible for a forbearance plan to reduce or suspend their mortgage payments for up to 12 months
    • Credit bureau reporting of past due payments of borrowers in a forbearance plan as a result of hardships attributable to this national emergency is suspended
    • Homeowners in a forbearance plan will not incur late fees
    • After forbearance, a servicer must work with the borrower on a permanent plan to help maintain or reduce monthly payment amounts as necessary, including a loan modification

    Fannie Mae also offers help navigating the broader financial effects of this national emergency to homeowners with a Fannie Mae-owned mortgage through its Disaster Response Network*, including:

    • A needs assessment and personalized recovery plan
    • Help requesting financial relief from insurance, servicers, and other sources
    • Web resources and ongoing guidance from experienced disaster relief advisors

    Homeowners can find out if they have a Fannie Mae-owned mortgage and access to the Disaster Response Network™* by visiting www.KnowYourOptions.com/loanlookup.

    Learn more.

     

    Freddie Mac:

    We are taking action to help make sure homeowners with Freddie Mac-owned mortgages who are directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19 are able to stay in their homes during this challenging time. This includes offering the following mortgage relief options for those who are unable to make their mortgage payments due to a decline in income:

    • Providing mortgage forbearance for up to 12 months,
    • Waiving assessments of penalties and late fees,
    • Halting all foreclosure sales and evictions of borrowers living in Freddie Mac-owned homes until at least May 17, 2020,
    • Suspending reporting to credit bureaus of delinquency related to forbearance,
    • Offering loan modification options that lower payments or keep payments the same after the forbearance period.

    Visit our consumer page on My Home by Freddie Mac® to learn more about our mortgage relief options to help homeowners. Learn more.

    Apartment Renters

    The Texas Apartment Association has put together a resource page for renters that may be impacted by COVID-19. You can view the site here.

     

    From the Texas Apartment Association:

    What should I do if I am unable to pay my rent?
     

    First: Contact your Property Manager. The most important thing that you can do is communicate your situation with your Property Manager.
    Providing documentation from an employer or other documentation that shows how you have been impacted by this crisis will improve your chances for getting the help you need.


    Ignoring notices and requests to contact your Property Manager is not advised. Frequent and timely communication is the best course of action.


    The Texas Apartment Association has encouraged rental property owners to waive late fees and set up payment arrangements for residents impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.


    Please remember that they can’t help you if you do not communicate your situation with them. When court proceedings resume you will still owe any amounts due and may be subject to eviction; therefore, trying to work with your property to make payment arrangements is your best course of action.


    Can I be evicted even though there is a public health crisis?
    The Texas Supreme Court has halted most evictions, including for non-payment of rent, until April 19. Someone may still face eviction for posing an imminent threat of physical harm to others, or engaging in criminal activity.


    However, you can still be issued a notice to vacate by your Property Manager for non-payment of rent. This notice is an indication that the rental property owner intends to pursue an eviction if rent is not paid and will usually occur if you fail to respond to notices/requests to contact your Property Manager.

     

    If you are unable to pay your utility bills during this time of crisis, what should you do?
    Several but not all Texas electricity providers have suspended disconnects and are waiving late fees during the COVID-19 crisis. Please check directly with your provider on what options they offer during this time. Remember that even if disconnection is suspended, your bills will continue to accrue.


    Do I still need to pay rent even though evictions have been halted?
    Yes—the court’s temporary halt of evictions does not affect your obligation to pay rent, and continuing to pay your rent protects your rights as a renter under Texas law. If you’re concerned you will not be able to pay your rent, we recommend you communicate with your property manager with specific information about your situation to see what options they may be able to offer in this unusual circumstance.


    This crisis has affected all of us and TAA members want to do their part in helping people remain in their homes. Like every other business, we have employees and supplier partners who depend on us for their livelihood, as well as other obligations we have to meet like insurance and utility bills.


    Failing to pay your rent hurts our ability to meet those obligations, as well as our ability to operate and maintain the property where you live. Ultimately it may also hurt your credit or result in an eviction once that process is reinstituted.


    What if I live at a public housing authority property, affordable housing property or use Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8)?
    Both public housing and Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) residents who experience a loss or reduction of wages should contact their housing authority to see what can be done to provide assistance.

    Price Gouging

     

    From the Texas Attorney General:

     

    Price gouging is illegal, and a disaster declaration triggers tough penalties under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
     

    Price-gougers may be required to reimburse consumers and may be held liable for civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation with an additional penalty of up to $250,000 if the affected consumers are elderly.


    Texans who believe they have encountered price gouging should call the Office of the Attorney General’s toll-free complaint line at (800) 621-0508 or file a complaint online.


    How to spot and report price gouging by visiting this website.

    Utility Information

     

    From TXU -

    • If you’re concerned about a power disconnection due to non-payment, call 800-242-9113 to discuss payment arrangements. Assistance is available from TXU Energy Aid as well. Dial 2-1-1 or visit 211 Texas online
    • Additional resources are available here

    From Reliant -

    From Atmos Energy -
    • Atmos Energy understands that the coronavirus outbreak may
      cause some of our valued customers to experience financial difficulty, whether because of illness, quarantine or a disruption at work. As part of its commitment to serving and working with its
      customers throughout this difficult time, Atmos Energy has temporarily suspended natural gas disconnections. Learn more here. 
     

    If your electric or other utility provider is not listed, please contact them directly about COVOD-19 related measures. Our office will continue to update this list as we receive additional information.

     

    If you have a complaint against your utility company, a complaint can be filed with the Public Utility Commission. Learn more here.