MARCH 30, 2020

Gov. Steve Sisolak announced a statewide eviction moratorium/ban. The directive will apply to the duration of the state of emergency.

Sisolak was joined with Attorney General Aaron Ford and State Treasurer Zach Conine to talk about housing stability amid the virus pandemic.

This directive is intended to keep people in their homes at a time when we are encouraging all Nevadans to stay at home,” Sisolak said on Sunday. “This is not the time to put people out on the streets. This is also not the time to evict small business owners who have been hit hard by the economic fallout of this pandemic.”

If you are unable to pay rent, Sisolak advised tenants to reach out directly to their landlords, property managers and lenders.

RENTERS

Sisolak said the state is prohibiting lock-outs, notices to quit or pay and eviction filings for as long as Nevada is in a state of emergency. It applies to both residential and commercial tenants.

This directive applies to those residing in extended stay motels and weekly rentals, according to the governor’s office.

Landlords can continue to evict dangerous tenants, who Sisolak said are those who pose a threat to other residents, the public or their property. “Dangerous tenants” does not include those who are self-isolating because they have been diagnosed with the virus or are healthcare workers or first responders who may be exposed due to their work.

“This does not constitute free rent or mortgage,” Sisolak said. The directive doesn’t end contractual obligations between tenants and landlords, property managers and lenders, he said.  

Sisolak also warned landlords that they can not lock out tenants or put notices on the tenants’ doors and mailboxes to scare them into moving out.

According to Legal Aid of Southern Nevada, weekly motel residents — such as Budget Suites and Siegel Suites — are protected under the governor’s directive. Residents of hotels who have stayed at the facility for more than 30 days are also included under the order.


Does this mean I don’t have to pay rent/make mortgage payments?

No. The directive signed by the governor explicitly says that it should not be “construed as relieving any party of their contractual obligations to pay rent, make mortgage payments, or comply with any other obligations imposed on parties by a lease, rental agreement, or mortgage.”

The state is also maintaining a list of major national and local mortgage lenders, with summaries of assistance that they are offering to customers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as contact information.

I own a small business. Does this apply to me?

Yes. The language in the order states that all of its provisions apply to both “residential or commercial real estate.”

“These rules also apply to small businesses,” a guidance issued by the state says. “Landlords should neither evict nor begin the process of eviction while Nevada is under this state of emergency.”

Can I be charged a late fee if I don’t pay rent/mortgage on time?

No. The emergency order explicitly forbids landlords and lenders from “charging any late fees or penalties” for nonpayment as a result of the pandemic. It covers any payments owed between the state of emergency being declared and whenever the directive expires or is rescinded by the governor.

If I’m a tenant, and something in my house/apartment breaks, who is on the hook to pay for it?

It depends on the terms of the rental agreement. If a landlord would normally be responsible for any repairs, he or she would still need to comply with any obligation in a lease agreement.

“For example, if a pipe bursts in your home through no fault of your own, and if your landlord is responsible for the repair under your lease agreement, your landlord must fix that pipe,” the state said in an official guidance.

If I’m a landlord, do I have any ability to evict a tenant?

For the most part, no, unless a tenant is shown to “seriously endanger the public or other residents, engage in criminal activity, or cause significant damage to the property.”

The emergency order also explicitly notes that landlords cannot evict anyone on the basis of them being diagnosed with COVID-19, or having been potentially exposed to the virus.

Landlords and lenders are also prohibited from changing locks or putting notices on tenants doors that threaten eviction.

I live in a weekly. Do these protections apply to me?

Yes. Although weekly apartments or extended stay hotels are not specifically mentioned in the order, the emergency order nonetheless suspends the legal process used to carry out evictions typically used for weekly rental apartments.

On Tuesday morning, Sisolak’s office issued an updated guidance and stated unequivocally that the eviction protections “applies to those residing in extended stay motels and weekly rentals.”

What if my landlord is trying to evict me, or threatened to do so?

If you believe your landlord is violating any portion of the directive by processing an eviction, you can file an online complaint with the Nevada attorney general’s office, or call a special hotline maintained by the office; 888-434-9989.

Additionally, various legal aid organizations in the state may be able to provide assistance. These include:

Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada: 702-386-1070 or email info@lacsn.org

Washoe Legal Services: 775-329-2727 or email intakeuser@washoelegalservices.org

Nevada Legal Services: Check website for individual office phone numbers

What if I already have eviction proceedings filed in a court?

The directive applies to any pending eviction proceedings, unless previously filed evictions were initiated because the tenant posed a danger to other tenants, the public, committed criminal activity or engaged in property damage. Again, an eviction is not allowed if the tenant is self-isolating because of a COVID-19 diagnosis or if he or she works in the health care field.

The order does not count if the eviction or foreclosure proceeding began before March 12, when the initial state of emergency was declared.

When will rent be owed?

Per the emergency order, any rent or payments are due after the governor terminates the state of emergency order that was declared on March 12.

The order encourages borrowers, lenders, tenants and landlords to “negotiate payment plans or other agreements within 30 days of the termination of this Directive” to allow borrowers and tenants the ability to “cure any defaults or missing payments” caused by financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Sources: Fox 5 News, The Nevada Independent