Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Sunday announced an order halting all residential and commercial evictions in the state for as long as the state of emergency related to the coronavirus is in effect.
“This is not the time to put people out on the street,” said Sisolak, who has issued orders closing schools and nonessential businesses and asked residents to “stay home for Nevada” to prevent spreading the disease.
Sisolak said his order applies to evictions that were already filed before the declaration, and prohibits new lockouts, evictions filings and notices to pay. It also applies to commercial buildings, to protect small businesses closed by Sisolak’s previous order.
The only exception, the governor said, was for evictions related to tenants who pose a danger to other residents.
The governor also said his order means landlords cannot place notices on doors or mailboxes trying to scare tenants into moving out, short of an official eviction. In Las Vegas some local renters still feared evictions as recently as Saturday, based on notes posted by building management.
“Any attempt to get around this directive will be dealt with by the attorney general,” Sisolak said.
The governor added, however, that his directive doesn’t constitute “free rent.” He said tenants need to work with their landlords to make payment arrangements, and they they would have to make up missed payments when the crisis is over. In the meantime, landlords are still expected to maintain properties, and cannot ignore any necessary maintenance.
Sisolak thanked the essential employees, including teachers, doctors, grocery store employees and government staff who have worked “to get out in front of this crisis.”
“The word essential has taken on a different meaning in the midst of a pandemic, but it is by no means lost on me that small business owners, casino and hospitality workers and many others who have lost their jobs and income as a result of this virus have played an active and critical role in supporting Nevada’s economy providing for themselves and their families,” Sisolak said.
To help landlords and property owners, Sisolak’s announcement was followed by state Treasurer Zach Conine who said the Nevada Bankers Association and several other credit associations have enacted a 90-day grace period on mortgage payments and the waiving of late mortgage payments. Late payments also will no longer impact a credit score during this time, as long as the resident has spoken with his or her lender.
“For many Nevadans, the rent or mortgage is due the first of the month and they don’t know how they’re going to pay it,” said Attorney General Aaron Ford. “What we don’t need right now is more families turned out of their homes and sent to the street and what we don’t need right now is businesses wondering if they’ll have a location to return to when this issue subsides.”
The announcements came after the state’s official COVID-19 caseload swelled to 920 Sunday with 15 deaths, and Washoe County registered its first death from the illness.