Sisolak issues a statewide moratorium on evictions

By: - March 29, 2020 4:51 pm

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak was joined by state Treasurer Zach Conine, left, and Attorney General Aaron Ford, right, to announce a moratorium on evictions Sunday. (Pool photo by Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

After housing and civil rights groups issued a plea for Gov. Steve Sisolak to protect tenants during the health crisis, the governor announced Sunday a statewide moratorium on evictions.  

Sisolak is prohibiting landlords from throwing people out as well as preventing them from using intimidation tactics to force tenants out or locking them out of a property. 

“The only exception is for dangerous tenants who pose a threat to other tenants,” he added. “To be clear, that doesn’t include those who are self-isolating with symptoms of COVID-19 or health responders who are putting their lives on the line.”

The moratorium applies for residential and commercial tenants. Additionally, Sisolak said all associated fees should be waived. Shortly following Sisolaks’ remarks, the state issued a guidance document on the evictions directive.

Groups including Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada and Nevada Homeless Alliance reached out to the governor earlier in the week after receiving complaints about countless landlords threatening to evict people who couldn’t pay rent because of the health crisis. Some were even threatening illegal lockouts or to enter the property illegally on a daily basis until rent was paid.

Attorney General Aaron Ford, who spoke at Sunday’s press conference, said many of the cases his office has seen amounts to bullying. 

“These types of actions are unacceptable,” he added. “No person should be saddled with these issues during an already stressful pandemic.”

Sisolak also stressed the situation doesn’t mean tenants aren’t exempt from rent and urged people and landlords to work out a repayment agreement. 

Nevada Treasurer Zach Conine, who said he has reached out to Nevada lenders, added homeowners can apply for forbearance and work out deals to make payments on the backend of their mortgage instead of making any missed payments in one lump sum. 

Late fees for mortgages will be waived for 90 days so owners don’t have to worry about their credit score, “as late payments will not be reported to credit agencies so long as the homeowner has worked with their lender,” Conine said.

“I can’t stress this enough; you must reach out to your lender so that they can help you,” Conine said.

He encouraged homeowners to reach out to lenders to request assistance during this time to arrange any needed assistance. 

Ford also announced $2 million will be given to the United Way for emergency shelter and food assistance, adding that further details will come in the days to follow. 

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Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle

Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years.  He started his career at View Neighborhood News, the community edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During his seven years with the R-J, he won several first place awards from the Nevada Press Association and was named its 2011 Journalist of Merit. He left the paper in 2017 and spent a year as a freelance journalist accumulating bylines anywhere from The Washington Post to Desert Companion. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues. Born and mostly raised in Las Vegas, Lyle graduated from UNLV with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies. He is currently working on his master's in Communications through an online program at Syracuse University. In his spare time, Lyle cooks through Ina Garten recipes in hopes of one day becoming the successor to the Barefoot Contessa throne. When he isn’t cooking (or eating), he also enjoys reading, running and re-watching episodes of “Parks and Recreation.” He is also in the process of learning kickboxing.