Sisolak: “There is not another state extension of the eviction moratorium coming”

As state prepares for federal moratorium to end, officials promote assistance programs

By: - July 29, 2021 5:57 am
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Gov. Steve Sisolak in March 2020 announcing a moratorium on evictions via social media. “As the pandemic has changed and evolved, so has our approach to the moratorium,” Sisolak said Wednesday.

As the federal eviction moratorium ends Saturday, Gov. Steve Sisolak says the structures put in place, including legislation that connects the eviction process to rental assistance applications, are enough to prevent at risk Nevadans from being locked out. 

Though Covid-19 cases have been rising, prompting the return of other mitigation efforts such as mask mandates, Sisolak reiterated during a press conference Wednesday he won’t extend the moratorium. 

“The moratorium expires this weekend,” Sisolak said. “I encourage everyone to get a vaccine as quickly as possible and we can put an end to this virus and pandemic. There is not another state extension of the eviction moratorium coming.”

Nevada’s eviction moratorium ended May 31 and allowed landlords to start the eviction process, but federal protections prevented some lockouts from occurring. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a moratorium in September, and after several extensions, it is set to expire July 31.

“We first implemented an eviction moratorium early on in the pandemic to help residents stay home for Nevada and help slow the spread of Covid-19,” Sisolak said. “As the pandemic has changed and evolved, so has our approach to the moratorium. We’ve been able to build out rental assistance programs with state and county partners, mediation programs with the court system, and most recently by partnering with the Nevada Legislature to create a glide path for evictions.”

Assembly Bill 486, which was passed during the recent legislative session, will help catch tenants who are waiting for their rental assistance applications to be processed, Sisolak said. 

The bill was supported by legal and housing justice groups working with vulnerable tenants. 

“This legislation helps ensure qualified tenants who are waiting for rental assistance applications to be processed are protected from being evicted for nonpayment of rent,” Sisolak said. “AB 486 was enacted and creates a glide path for the end of the eviction moratorium. The law ensures both landlords and tenants will receive the benefits of $360 million in federally funded rental assistance to keep tenants in their homes, pay landlords and prevent avoidable evictions.”

Clark County Assistant Manager Kevin Schiller said there is a backlog of about 8,000 applications in the CARES Housing Assistance Program queue right now and that the County is processing between 800 and 1,000 a week. 

“Across the country, it’s a national issue in terms of the sheer volume,” Schiller said. “We’ve added almost 350 staff to support this program.”

During a special legislative session last summer, lawmakers authorized the creation of a statewide eviction mediation program, which began in October. 

Home Means Nevada, a nonprofit established by the Nevada Division of Business and Industry, runs the state’s eviction alternative dispute resolution program for tenants and landlords. 

In addition to offering mediation between tenants and landlords, the program also helps tenants with rental assistance and unemployment. 

Labor Commissioner Shannon Chambers, the president of Home Means Nevada, said starting Aug. 1, landlords will also be able to apply directly for rental assistance. 

AB 486 authorized the creation of an online program for landlords to fill out forms that would be sent to social services agencies that would then contact the tenant.

“The key point to remember is that rental assistance still runs through the tenant, so while AB 486 does provide some additional options for landlords the process still must start and end with the tenant,” Chambers said.

Throughout the pandemic, officials have said there were cases where landlords still refused rental assistance after tenants applied and were approved for funding to cover unpaid rent. 

“One of the issues Assembly Bill 486 is specifically addressing is that if there is a rental assistance application that is pending, the landlord cannot simply throw up their hands and say I don’t want anything to do with this,” Chambers said. 

People can also respond to evictions online. Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada urges renters to respond to every eviction notice. 

Information on looking up court cases, filing a response and getting connected to assistance is available at Civil Law Self-Help Center.

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Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle

Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues.