The COVID-19 pandemic is not just compromising public health. It has threatened the financial viability of both tenants and landlords across Nevada.
Gov. Steve Sisolak has ordered a moratorium on residential evictions throughout the state, a ban he recently extended through Oct. 15. But adding more specificity to his executive order would create more long-term stability in the local housing market.
As a large and leading association of Nevada property owners, the Nevada State Apartment Association has consistently shown grace to those facing financial hardship during this pandemic, which rounds into its seventh month.
Unfortunately, a number of our members have been plagued by habitual bad actors who are intentionally abusing the spirit of the protections provided by the state’s eviction moratorium. This group is taking advantage of the situation by simply not paying rent — without showing any evidence of financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.
Instead of a blanket moratorium, our members believe we should trust the judicial system to uphold the law. That includes helping those who truly need it but also holding bad actors accountable.
We wholeheartedly agree with Gov. Sisolak that we are all in this together. We are committed to doing our part and continuing to provide safe, quality housing.
In tens of thousands of instances all over Nevada, our members and other local landlords are working with tenants to offer manageable payment plans. And we believe judges are capable of separating these cases from those involving tenants who are willfully taking advantage of these trying times.
The governors of New York and California, as well as new orders from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have made this exact distinction in their own eviction protocols. We urge Nevada to also include an eligibility requirement to weed out those opportunistic tenants.
In some cases here in Nevada, tenants are responding to requests from landlords to work out an equitable payment plan by saying, in effect: “We don’t have to pay rent, and there is nothing you can do about it.”
Gov. Sisolak has stated repeatedly that Nevada tenants must pay their rent if they are able. However, there is no way to enforce that directive. We urge Gov. Sisolak to intervene and better balance the interests of tenants with those who provide housing in our state.
Nevada’s moratorium on evictions should be allowed to sunset as scheduled in mid-October, allowing the CDC order to continue to protect only those in need.
Susy Vasquez is the executive director of the Nevada State Apartment Association (www.NVSAA.org), the voice of the multifamily housing industry in Nevada.