LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed and emergency directive on Thursday to lift the moratorium on evictions, in what he called a "phased" approach.
Landlords of commercial tenancies and mortgages may charge late fees, initiate lockouts, or start eviction actions for non-payment of rent or foreclosure proceedings beginning July 1. The order allows residential evictions and foreclosures to resume on September 1. Late fees or penalties for non-payment of rent or mortgage may not be charged retroactively.
For those staying in transient lodging (hotels, inns, motels, motor courts, boarding houses or lodging houses), eviction or other appropriate removal proceedings may begin on June 25, 2020.
Attorneys with Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada clarify, however, that long-term tenants at weekly motels (who have stayed more than 30 days) have the same rights as renters, and eviction proceedings will begin Sept. 1.
Tenants with no lease or "at will" tenants can be evicted August 1. Attorneys caution, however, a landlord cannot modify a lease for lack of non-payment.
“It is just as imperative today as it was when I signed the original directive to allow Nevadans to stay home and stay safe as much as possible, while also providing clarity and a timeline in which rental obligations must be met,” said Sisolak.
The directive reinstates residential summary evictions and unlawful detainer actions prior to September 1 for certain causes other than non-payment of rent. These caused based actions do not include non-payment of rent, but include holdover tenants, tenants at will, waste, unlawful business, nuisance, violations of controlled substance laws, and violations of lease conditions other than non-payment of rent.
Sisolak urged landlords and tenants to work together and collaborate on repayment plans.
Attorneys with Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada provided FOX5 with the following advice:
"DON’T PANIC. On June 25, Governor Sisolak announced that the eviction moratorium which had paused evictions in Nevada would gradually lift. The key word is gradually. The moratorium remains largely in place until September 1, 2020, and no evictions for missed rent can occur before that date.
"EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT YOUR RIGHTS AND STAY UPDATED. Find out exactly what the Governor’s directive says and stay on top of new developments. Things are changing fast, so arm yourself with accurate information. Don’t rely on gossip from a friend or neighbor, and don’t assume what your landlord says is accurate. A reliable place to get up-to-date information is Legal Aid Center’s COVID Toolkit, available at www.LACSN.org.
"KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR NEW RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS. When the Governor announced the gradual lift of the moratorium, he also announce a new $50 million program to assist tenants through the Nevada State Treasurer’s Office. Clark County is also developing a program and has dedicated $30 million to help renters. So help might be right around the corner! But only if you keep your eyes peeled for it. Keep checking the Toolkit on Legal Aid Center’s website, www.LACSN.org, for up-to-date information.
"GET A GOOD PICTURE OF YOUR FINANCES. In the next few weeks, you might find yourself applying for rental assistance or negotiating with your landlord about a repayment plan. So make sure you have a clear picture of your money. If you don’t have a budget, create one so you know how much money is coming in and going out and how much you might have left over to devote to repayment. Also calculate exactly how much rent you’ve missed and how much it will cost to stay in your apartment. And if you’re still applying for unemployment benefits, keep plugging away no matter how frustrating.
"GATHER IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS. It’s unclear what documentation the new rental assistance programs will want, so be prepared. Gather copies of your pre-COVID paystubs and bank statement to show what you were making before the pandemic; gather documents showing how you’ve been financially impacted, maybe a layoff notice, a notice of salary reduction, or a letter awarding unemployment benefits; and gather documents showing what your current income is, maybe unemployment statements, paystubs, or bank statements. If you’ve received rent demands or invoices from your landlord, collect those as well to show how much you owe.
"EVALUATE YOUR SITUATION CRITICALLY. Use this time to evaluate your situation and decide whether it makes sense. Will you be able to afford your current apartment going forward? Would it make more sense to downsize? To move in with a roommate or family? The new rental assistance programs might pay for moving expenses and down payments. So maybe it makes more sense to use the money to move than to pay back rent on an apartment you can’t afford only to face eviction again in a month. If you need to make a change, now might be the time to do it.
"DON’T BE FORCED INTO A REPAYMENT PLAN. For some people, signing a repayment plan for missed rent might make perfect sense. For others, it might make none. Every situation is different. It could be that you’re missing some information – like the possibility of rental assistance --- that makes it currently impossible to evaluate what’s right for you. As part of its plan, Clark County will have people available to help you evaluate your options. Legal Aid Center will also have attorneys available to help. So take your time, don’t be forced into anything, and make sure you’re making the smartest decisions for you."