Eviction Lab, which collects nationwide eviction data, recently released its COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard to look at how states fare at preventing people from being thrown out of their homes during the health crisis.
For once, Nevada did fairly well, receiving 3.55 stars out of five stars. That was good enough to rank the state fourth, behind Massachusetts with 4.15 stars, Delaware with 3.88 and Connecticut with 3.78.
Eviction Lab, the brainchild of sociologist Matthew Desmond who won a Pulitzer Prize for his book “Evicted,” along with Columbia Law School “developed a policy scorecard for each state, distilling the contents of thousands of newly-released emergency orders, declarations and legislation into a clear set of critical measures included in, and left out of, state-level pandemic responses related to eviction and housing.”
Items the scorecard took into consideration:
- Initiation of eviction, or whether states bar landlords from serving tenants notices for nonpayment related to COVID-19.
- The court process, or whether states suspended eviction hearings, judgments of possession, extending court deadlines and eviction sealing.
- The enforcement of eviction orders, or whether law enforcement is prohibited from executing orders.
- Short-term supports that provide grace periods to pay rent and bar landlords from reporting tenants to credit bureaus.
- Tenancy preservation measures that extend legal representation for tenants or provide safe housing or rental assistance.
Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a statewide moratorium on eviction March 29 to prevent landlords, both commercial and residential, from throwing or locking out tenants. The directive urged tenants to set up repayment plans with landlords and also waived all fees associated with late payments.
Despite the order, the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada said tenant-based complaints have jumped from an average of 250 a month to nearly 2,500 since March 19.
Many of the complaints have stemmed from people living at weekly or extended stay motels.
On Thursday, the Nevada Attorney General’s office released additional guidelines for landlords that include items such as:
- A tenant is anyone that manifests an intent to stay regardless of the type of housing and includes transient lodging in a motel/hotel.
- Landlords may not issue any lockout notices to vacate, notices to pay or quit, evictions or proceedings against tenants, absent the exceptions outlined in the directive, even if the tenant does not make payments under a payment plan for agreements made after the directive was entered.
- Landlords may not use coercion, duress or intimidation with tenants.