On March 29, 2020, in response to the financial hardships Nevadans and citizens around the country are experiencing due to COVID-19’s rapid spread throughout the world, Governor Sisolak, issued Directive 008 to the Declaration of Emergency issued March 12, 2020, which effectively prohibits evictions of both residential and commercial tenants and foreclosures with only a few narrow exceptions. Directive 008 states in part:
“No lockout, notice to vacate, notice to pay or quit, eviction, foreclosure action or other proceeding involving residential or commercial real estate based upon a tenant or mortgagee’s default of any contractual obligation imposed by a rental agreement or mortgage may be initiated under any provision of Nevada law effective March 29, 2020, at 11:59 p.m., until the state of emergency under the March 12, 2020 Declaration of Emergency terminates, expires, or this Directive is rescinded by order of the Governor. This provision does not prohibit the eviction of persons who seriously endanger the public or other residents, engage in criminal activity, or cause significant damage to property.”
Pursuant to Directive 008, the only evictions that may move forward are those that were filed prior to March 12, 2020, the effective date of the Emergency Declaration, or those evictions that meet one of the very narrow exceptions relating to public endangerment, criminal activity, or substantial damage to property. Directive 008 is clear that COVID-19 does not serve as a basis for establishing that a tenant or resident seriously endangered the safety of others.
Although Directive 008 prohibits landlords from pursuing evictions of residential and commercial tenants for the foreseeable future, it does not relieve the tenant of the obligations under the terms of the lease including, but not limited to, the obligation to pay rent. It does, however, prohibit landlords from charging any late fees or penalties for any nonpayment under the terms of a lease, rental agreement or mortgage that occurs between March 29, 2020 and the termination or expiration of the Declaration of Emergency (or in the event Directive 008 is later rescinded).
The Governor’s Order encourages landlords and tenants to work together and communicate with each other and create a payment plan that will work for both sides. There are many options for creating payment plans including amortizing unpaid rent through the remainder of the lease term or forgiving a portion of the rent for a certain period of time. However, any modification should be considered on a case-by-case basis based on the tenant’s ability to pay given the economic climate and government assistance plans available to the tenant.
We are all in this together and the same rules of compassion must apply to the landlord/tenant relationship. Stay safe and healthy and we will all get through this together. If you have any questions about your rights as a landlord or tenant, please do not hesitate to contact our office.