Facing Eviction In Nevada? Here’s What You Need To Know.
Stephanie Cortes Graduate of California State Polytechnic University of Pomona
Brian Babb on Unsplash
Over one million people rent apartments or other housing units in Nevada.
On March 29, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed an Emergency Directive that puts a moratorium on eviction proceedings to prevent families and individuals from losing their housing until at least June 30th.
It is unclear what will happen at that point.
The directive doesn’t just protect people renting apartments. It protects other renters too.
According to James Hidalgo at Reno Gazette Journal, the bill “not only includes apartment buildings but also extends to small business owners who are renting workspaces and residents at weekly or monthly motels, with the exception that they have been at the property for more than 30 days.”
Fortunately, according to Princeton University’s Eviction Lab and Columbia Law School Professor, Emily Benfer, Nevada is one of the best states when it comes to helping renters who are on the verge of eviction.
Although Governor Steve Sisolak’s announced on May 26th that Nevada is ready to move into Phase 2 of reopening the state, and Las Vegas casinos are planning to re-open this week, it doesn’t mean business will be 100% back to normal.
The Coronavirus and protests may prevent people from going back out as they once did.
That means many people won’t be getting paid what they once were before the Coronavirus.
If you are a tenant in Nevada concerned about being able to pay rent now or in the future, know that you are not alone.
Here are some Nevada-specific answers to the most frequently asked questions we from Court Buddy receive from tenants concerned about paying rent during COVID-19.
Can my landlord evict me if I don’t pay my rent because I’ve lost my job due to COVID-19?
Not at the moment.
In response to the economic turmoil, the U.S.Congress issued the CARES Act on March 27th, placing a temporary eviction moratorium that prohibits eviction proceedings for tenants in properties that receive federal funding, including a halt on eviction cases already filed until July 25th.
However, the CARES Act protections do not extend to everyone.
A tenant may still be evicted before July 25th under the following conditions, even if they lost their job due to COVD-19:
- If the tenant already received an eviction judgment for possession ordering them to move out, then the CARES Act does not prohibit landlords from continuing the process of evicting the tenant.
- If the tenant is being evicted due to a reason other than unpaid rent payments. The CARES Act only prohibits evictions that are due to the tenant’s failure to pay.
- If the tenant lives in a property that is not eligible under the CARES Act. The CARES Act only covers properties that receive government funding, which may include programs such as Section 8 vouchers and Section 42 credits.
In short, this means that in order to avoid illegal evictions, tenants may have to rely on their state or local laws. In Nevada, this means you have at least until June 30th before eviction proceedings can start.
But there’s a catch. The Governor has said that landlords can continue to evict “dangerous tenants” if they pose a threat to other residents, the public, or the property.
With protests erupting across the country, a landlord use this language to his/her/their advantage.
The governor further clarified the terms “dangerous tenants” do not represent “individuals who are self-isolating because they have been diagnosed with the virus, healthcare workers, or first responders that may have been exposed.”
What happens at the end of the 120-day federal moratorium on evictions?
As of now, it is unclear.
The Cares Act says that landlords have the right to collect back-rent. Officials in Nevada have not addressed rental debt once the state mortarium expires.
However, Governor Steve Sisolak has strongly encouraged landlords and tenants to communicate and try to come to an agreement regarding payments.
Can I pay partial rent?
Yes, however, you may still need to pay the full amount of rent and possibly risk eviction when the ban is lifted.
Governor Sisolak announced that the current ban on evictions “does not end contractual obligations between tenants and landlords”, which means that you will still need to pay your rent, as indicated on the lease.
It may be worth communicating your financial concerns with your landlord to see if they can work out a payment plan with you or possibly reduce your rent.
Nicole Dow The Penny Hoarder at Las Vegas Review Journal suggests this: “Ask the landlord to use your security deposit to cover any unpaid rent and agreeing to replace the amount at a future time.”
Even if you and your landlord come to an agreement, you may still have to pay your full amount of rent. Additionally, current orders in Nevada “do not prohibit landlords from increasing the rent amount when renewing leases during the pandemic,” according to Princeton’s Eviction Lab. You may be running the risk of having an eviction filed against you by the landlord for the remaining amount once the eviction ban is lifted.
It is suggested to have any agreements made with your landlord or property manager in writing.
Can my landlord charge me late fees?
No. At least not right now.
The CARES Act prohibits landlords to charge late fees for non-payment until July 25th. Additionally, Attorney General Aaron Ford announced that “all late fees and penalties associated with late rent payments must be waived during the period of emergency.” However, the landlord may charge you late fees for failure to pay the remaining rental balances on July 25th.
Can my landlord lock me out during moratoriums?
On March 29, Governor Steve Sisolak announced Nevada’s housing stability measures due to the COVID-19 public health crises. These measures:
temporarily halt lockouts
ban notices to vacate
ban notices to pay or quit
halt evictions and foreclosures during the pandemic with the exception of those who pose a threat to others or their property
In an interview at KUNR Public Radio with Paul Boger, Attorney Rita Greggi says Nevada’s Emergency Directive is “clear” and indicates that evictions for “no-cause, nonpayment of rent, and even violation of the lease are not going to be heard by the courts at this time.”
In order for the landlord to legally evict a tenant, they must obtain a court judgment. The first step a landlord must take is to serve the tenant with notice. If the notice was not followed by the time the notice period ended then the landlord may file a case to begin the eviction process. Until the landlord receives the judgment order, they are not able to remove the tenant form the property or change the locks.
During Court Buddy’s Legal Meetup on May 8th, Michael Neiumann, Esq suggested that if you do find yourself locked out, “Try calling 311, the local sheriff department, or the county court to explain to them the situation and ask them what you should do.” He further explains that the Sheriff may come and let you back into the property.
Does my landlord still have to fix things that are broken even if I haven’t paid rent?
Governor Sisolak announced that even with the issuance of Nevada’s Emergency Directive, “landlords and property managers must continue to provide the basic provisions of their lease agreements regarding maintenance and other required services.”
Therefore, if you are experiencing habitability problems and did not cause the damage, then according to the Directive, your landlord must continue to fix that issue.
Some habitability problems may include infestation, broken windows or doors, plumbing not working properly, inadequate locks, etc.
How will breaking my lease or eviction affect my credit?
Renters may seek to leave their lease early without impacting their credit by making an agreement with the landlord. According to Jaclyn Shultz at FOX 5 Las Vegas, the “landlord may be okay with you breaking your lease or possibly hold you liable for the remaining balance in the lease agreement.”
Eviction judgments may have an impact on your credit history and may hurt your ability to try to rent a new apartment.
It is important to know that if you have any debts leading to your eviction, then they may be included in your credit report.
States have not announced grace periods for tenants who fail to pay their rent debt and according to Nevada’s scorecard on Princeton’s Eviction Lab.
In Nevada, landlords are “not prohibited from reporting missed or late rent payments to credit agencies.” Moreover, eviction judgments are public record and can be seen by potential landlords.
In an interview at KNPR with Heidi Kyser, Nevada Legal Services Director of Litigation, David Olshan states, “If you are covered under the CARES Act passed by Congress, credit scores will not be impacted for nonpayment during the pandemic.”
If you are concerned about being evicted or your credit being impacted and you decide
to seek legal advice, Court Buddy is here to connect you with an attorney who can help.
Court Buddy is here to connect you with an experienced and trusted lawyer who can help you at an affordable rate. The company assists with the management of your case and lawyer relationship. Your lawyer will assess your legal issue in a timely and confidential manner, explain why you need or do not need a lawyer, and only charge you for the legal services performed and associated out of pocket fees. This article is intended to convey general information and does not constitute legal advice.