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Eviction Moratorium Phase-Out Begins

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(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

In this April 1, 2020, file photo, a paper envelope written with the words "Rent Money $" is left tucked in a lighting pole in the Boyle Heights east district of the city of Los Angeles.

The moratorium that Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak put on evictions in late March was only meant to last until the end of the COVID-19 state of emergency.

That time appears to be coming soon. Two weeks ago, Sisolak released a phased plan for rolling back the eviction moratorium.

There are two sets of rules - one for residential and one for commercial real estate. On the residential side, there are three important dates, and on the commercial side, one important date has already passed.  

On the residential side, July 1 was an eviction date for transient housing like hotels, inns, and boarding houses. 

On August 1, landlords can start the eviction process for three-day nuisance notices for things like unlawful subletting and criminal activity that was not covered under the moratorium, said Chris Storke, the Consumer Rights Project attorney for Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.

Landlords can also start five-day evictions for violations of lease agreements like HOA violations or general provisions outlined in the lease.

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Storke expects a lot of landlords will try to use these kinds of violations to evict people. 

On September 1, Storke explained that landlords can start the eviction process for non-payment of rent and 30-day no-cause evictions. 

Storke said it is vital that renters talk with landlords about repayment plans and addendums to their leases. Plus, he said renters should have all the documents about the repayment plan, lease agreement and any violations ready to go.

"If you don't have the relevant evidence to be able to attack the notification you received as a tenant for the eviction notice then it's going to be very difficult for you to move forward," he said.

On the commercial real estate side, the eviction date for non-payment of rent was July 1.

Courtney O'Mara is the business litigation director for Fennemore Craig in Reno. 

She said that tenants and landlords should have already worked out an agreement on a payment or repayment plan. O'Mara said landlords have their own obligations to lenders and want to keep good tenants when they can.

"If you're a commercial tenant and you've entered into an agreement with your landlord as an addendum to your lease, you'll be looking at that in connection with your lease as to what terms govern your tenancy at that property," she said, "However, if there is no agreement in place or if the agreement you did enter into has now been breached then the tenant could be evicted."

O'Mara said landlords want to work with tenants because the alternative might be empty space in a shopping area or office building.

"There may not be a lot of bar tenants to refill an empty bar space," she said.

O'Mara believes the phased-in approach will help stop a deluge of eviction notices and give people a chance to understand what they're facing as each new deadline approaches. 

Help is on the way for the tenants facing those deadlines. The state had set aside $25 million for commercial rent assistance.

On the residential side, there will also be assistance. Storke said the governor's office will soon be launching a rental assistance program. 

"From what I've heard, they're going to be very generous in terms of the amount of money that they are going to be able to provide to a renter that is in default for their rent beyond the pandemic period," he said.

Storke said about $30 million in CARES Act funds have been earmarked to help people stay in their rental properties and more money will be added to that pot when it becomes available. 

When the funds are available, he said renters need to get their lease agreement in order, along with a ledger of payments they've made. They'll be able to submit the paperwork online.  

Overall, Storke said each individual residential situation is different and each one is governed differently. He said it is vital that tenants understand what their rental agreement is and what rules do - and do not - apply to them. 

 

RESOURCES:

Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada

Nevada Legal Services 

Governor's Office Eviction Moratorium Information

Guests

Courtney O’Mara, business litigation director, Fennemore Craig; Chris Storke, Consumer Rights Project attorney, Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada

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