To provide relief and peace of mind during the ongoing state of emergency brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Steve Sisolak signed Directive 008 on March 29, 2020. The directive largely suspended evictions and foreclosures for both commercial and residential properties in Nevada during the ongoing pandemic.
The Declaration of Emergency retroactively suspended evictions and foreclosures back to March 12 and is to stay in effect until it is rescinded by the Governor. This means that any foreclosure actions or evictions which were granted before March 12 are still active and will stand.
While the directive was broad insomuch as the suspension of evictions, foreclosures, and lockouts was made for both commercial and residential real estate, there were still provisions for evictions in limited circumstances. Those provisions allow for tenants to be removed for endangerment, criminal activity, and significant damage to property. However, the directive specifically clarified that residents testing positive for COVID-19 or those that were potentially exposed to the virus does not constitute endangerment and cannot be threatened for removal because of it.
In addition to a suspension of most evictions, late fees for non-payment have been prohibited. This includes any type of penalty fee for nonpayment whether it be for a lease, rental agreement, or mortgage. The Directive does not remove obligations for payment or compliance with other clauses in contracts.
In the case of mortgages, Zach Conine, Nevada’s State Treasurer, has requested lenders tack the missing time onto the back of a mortgage schedule and offer 90-day grace periods on payments. No impact to credit reports are allowed from late fees or non-payment during the Directive coverage. This coverage is not carte blanche and requires that mortgage holders speak with their respective lenders.
For rents and leases, the directive encourages landlords and tenants to work out payment plans within 30 days of the Directive termination. This is not to be read as only 30 days to make up payments but 30 days to negotiate repayment schedules.
To be clear, the Directive does not excuse rent payments. It only moves the timeline to allow for relief. Any rent owed is still owed, less late fees.
The rules for obtaining rental assistance normally require a seven-day eviction notice. A written notice of nonpayment is allowed to stand in for the eviction notice for this eligibility during the Directive period.
Those already living in subsidized housing have access to a rent forbearance under the CARES Act. The Act grants a 60-day moratorium on foreclosure dating from March 18. This can be extended to 180 days by contacting the loan servicer. No proof of hardship needs to be presented but contact to request the forbearance must be made.
For small businesses and those seeking relief for commercial rent a similar process needs to be undertaken. Reach out to the Small Business Administration for information on the current funding options under the CARES Act. As with residential tenants, commercial renters are asked to reach out to their landlords and lenders to establish contact and work out options or now and for repayment after the declaration terminates.