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Some Nevada evictions can still proceed despite moratorium

Updated September 2, 2020 - 2:19 pm

Gov. Steve Sisolak’s newest directive on evictions means that renters can’t be kicked out of their homes for not paying their rent for at least another 45 days.

But that doesn’t mean all evictions remain halted in Nevada.

Under the governor’s newest directive, landlords can move forward with “no cause” evictions and even charge renters late fees for failing to pay their rent on time.

A recent report issued before Sisolak’s extension estimated 250,000 residents in Clark County to be at risk of eviction starting Sept. 1.

Here’s a rundown of what the governor’s new eviction directive does.

Evictions for nonpayment still can’t happen

The directive, issued Monday, is more narrowly tailored than his previous directives that dealt with eviction moratoriums.

In March, Sisolak implemented a moratorium on most evictions, with the exception of those done in cases when a tenant is considered a danger to the public or other residents, has damaged the property or was doing something illegal.

If a tenant’s lease has expired and there is no month-to-month tenancy agreement in place, landlords can file what’s called an unlawful detainer notice. That gives the renter five judicial days to move out of the property. That and a few other types of evictions have been allowed since Aug. 1.

“Some landlords have expressly NOT entered into a month to month tenancy and just want the holdover tenant out of their property — these evictions are permitted and were permitted previously under Directive 025 as allowable effective August 1, 2020,” Sisolak’s spokeswoman Meghin Delaney said in an email.

The new directive only extended the moratorium on evictions for nonpayments of rent for 45 days, a move done in order to give the state more time to set up a legislatively approved eviction mediation program and distribute rental assistance money to landlords.

But those types of evictions could be remain banned in most cases even beyond than Sisolak’s 45-day extension.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday issued a sweeping federal ban on evictions in order to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Under the federal ban, renters will need to sign a declaration saying they do not make more than $99,000 per year (or double if filing joint tax returns), that they have exhausted all possible solutions to rental assistance, and that they would become homeless or would live in close proximity to more people if they were evicted.

What are no-cause evictions?

What changed under the newest directive is that landlords can now also file what are called 30-day no-cause evictions. Those can be filed in cases where a tenant’s lease has expired and he or she is now paying rent on a month-to-month basis. They cannot be filed if someone is under a lease.

Delaney noted that while a 30-day notice is allowed going forward for tenants under month-to-month agreements, the moratorium still prevents landlords from filing a seven-day eviction notice for nonpayments.

But could people under month-to-month tenancy who are unable to pay their rent find themselves facing that type of 30-day no-cause eviction?

Yes, says Las Vegas attorney Terry Moore of the Marquis Aurbach Coffing law firm.

“The landlord doesn’t need a reason to get their property back,” Moore said. “The law doesn’t require a reason.”

Some leases automatically become month-to-month once the term of the lease has expired, said Moore, who recommended that renters carefully read their lease agreements to know exactly what the terms are.

Those no-cause evictions take several more weeks than a typical eviction for nonpayment, which gives renters just seven days to leave.

A no-cause notice requires landlords to give renters 30 days from the date they were notified they had to move out. After that, they can then serve a five-day unlawful detainer notice, Moore said. But the tenant has the right to challenge that in court, and those hearings usually take place seven to 10 days after that second notice.

Landlords can charge late fees

Landlords had been prohibited from charging late fees to tenants who have not paid their rent since late March. But that prohibition ended Monday night and was not extended in the governor’s newest directive.

That means that landlords can once again charge those late fees and penalties, even though they cannot evict someone for not paying rent, the governor’s office confirmed Tuesday.

Those fees cannot be retroactive, however, meaning they can only be for late payments going forward from Sept. 1.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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