Eviction Court Watch in Texas

Texas groups have set up an eviction Court Watch program, to track how eviction laws are actually being carried out on the ground.

The Texas Housers group and the Texas Eviction Solidarity group have set up a Court Watch system in Texas counties — with a focus on tracking what is happening in (often virtual) eviction court rooms, and whether the law on the books is being followed on the ground. In Texas, Justices of the Peace (JPs, who are elected officials but not necessarily lawyers) run eviction courtrooms.

The program will be expanding soon to Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Fort Worth. It began in Houston as of September 2020, and will be Texas-wide in January 2022.

The Texas Eviction Solidarity group provides housing resources, tenant support systems, and policy advocacy more broadly.

Texas Housers set up their eviction Court Watch in Harris County (where Houston is located, with over 4 million people, and the 3rd largest county in the country). The Court Watch program helps them understand what is happening in the eviction system in the many different courtrooms and jurisdictions.

The program website has a detailed video that describes how the Court Watch program works, and how others might learn from it.

The network recruits volunteers who can learn how to observe court, attend virtual (or live) hearings, track the legal proceedings, and contribute to the network’s understanding of what’s happening with evictions.

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