Yesterday evening, Governor Steve Sisolak signed Emergency Directive 031 extending the moratorium on certain residential evictions for 45 days, through October 14, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
This directive extends the moratorium on residential evictions based on nonpayment of rent in the State of Nevada to provide for greater housing stability so that people can remain in their homes as the State continues to fight and recover from both the health and economic ramifications brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Extension aims to keep people in their homes
“As I have done previously, this extension is intended to keep people in their homes while we are still battling this pandemic,” said Governor Sisolak. “I am confident that this 45-day extension will allow the various agencies and organizations more time to get these programs up and running and help Nevada’s renters and landlords continue to navigate these unprecedented times and stay healthy and safe in the midst of this pandemic.”
Landlord and tenants can find the guidance and read more about this new directive as well as past evictions related directives on the Governor’s Directives and Declarations page of the Nevada Health Response website.
The residential eviction moratorium and subsequent extensions were enacted to keep Nevadans safe during the COVID-19 pandemic by keeping people in their homes to slow the spread. These emergency directives were safer than forcing people to making emergency shared housing or shelter arrangements, which increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Nevada still has an elevated level of COVID-19 cases, including in Clark and Washoe.
This directive seeks to maintain public safety during COVID-19 as Nevada transitions to programs that protect landlords and tenants.
This directive does not change any tenant’s obligation to pay rent. Nevada’s landlords have a seat at the table towards helping us all move forward out of this pandemic for a better Nevada.
The Governor’s Prepared remarks were as follows:
Good afternoon. Thank you all for being here today to get more information on the evictions moratorium. As was announced earlier, I will be extending the moratorium on residential evictions by 45 days in the State of Nevada.
Throughout this pandemic we have been faced with many difficult decisions – including this one.
I originally put a residential eviction moratorium in place to keep Nevadans safe during COVID-19. Keeping Nevadans in their homes to slow COVID-19 was safer than them making emergency shared housing or shelter arrangements, which increases the risk of spreading COVID-19. That still remains true today.
Nevada still has elevated COVID-19 transmission risk, including in Clark and Washoe, our largest counties.
The directive I’ll be signing to extend this moratorium seeks to maintain public safety during COVID-19 as Nevada transitions to programs that protect landlords and tenants.
It will allow more time for these programs to be fully implemented and get assistance to those who need it most during this difficult time:
First, it will allow counties time to continue distributing funds for short-term rental assistance to landlords;
Second, it will give more time to the Justice Courts, who handle evictions, and are not ready to safely handle the potential number of evictions with in-court filings and hearings. It will also provide the courts additional time to implement the newly-created eviction mediation program -- allowing them to more quickly stand up the residential mediation program, passed at the most recent special session on a broad, bipartisan basis.
Finally, it will allow DETR the time to continue making progress on reducing the backlog of unemployment claims, which should be used to pay rent and other living expenses.
Today’s directive does not change any tenant’s obligation to pay rent. Nevada’s landlords have a seat at the table towards helping us all move forward out of this pandemic for a better Nevada.
Programs in place to prevent eviction crisis
I now want to walk through a few of the programs I mentioned that are aimed at preventing an eviction crisis and further exasperating the public health crisis in our State:
As many of you know, my office, in coordination with the Nevada Housing Division, Clark County Social Services, the Reno Housing Authority, the Nevada Rural Housing Authority and the State Treasurer, announced a statewide short-term rental assistance program, and I approved $30 million in State Coronavirus Relief Funds to be used for this effort. That’s in addition to money set aside by local governments for rental assistance.
In light of this extension and in an effort to provide more relief to tenants and landlords who are still struggling to make ends meet by paying rent or making mortgage payments, I am earmarking an additional $10 million in State Coronavirus Relief Funds toward the short-term rental assistance program.
I know our local governments are working hard to get these funds out the door to landlords to keep qualified tenants in their homes. In Clark County, they had to put a temporary stop on applications due to the high demand, but that they are currently exploring creative ways to get this money out the door faster. I want to thank Clark Commission Chair Marilyn Kirkpatrick for working with us on this effort and for her continued leadership.
By adding this additional money and approving this 45-day extension, I am confident those processing short-term applications will be able to send more money out the door to landlords on behalf of Nevada’s renters.
This 45 days is time for these local governments to get this money out as quickly as possible. I understand how difficult it can be, but whatever the State can do to continue helping, we stand ready to help assist.
Payments made directly to landlords
And to our Nevada landlords, I recognize that this time is hard on you, too, that you pay your bills with this money. The rental assistance program makes payments DIRECTLY to landlords on the tenant’s behalf. That’s why it was important to me to set aside an additional $10 million for this rental assistance program.
This 45 day extension will also help with the alternative dispute resolution, passed this summer during a special session of the Nevada Legislature.
This program will help people mediate potential solutions to mitigation in the courts and -- most importantly -- the impact on landlords and tenants. It is critical that tenants and landlords continue to work together to come to resolutions.
We can’t keep continuing this moratorium forever, so we need to ensure this program is up and running to allow for this type of this resolution. I know that during this time period, our court system will move as fast as possible to launch the new program.
In order to help this program get off the ground, I am empowering the Supreme Court to expedite the standing up of the eviction mediation program by allowing it to waive the 60-day requirement to create new rules for the program, so that the program can get up and running to serve Nevadans even faster.
My expectation is that as soon as the rules have been completed and thoroughly examined, a meeting will be scheduled for their immediate approval and implementation before the end of September.
DETR Strike Force
And finally, I am pleased to see the progress the DETR Rapid Response Strike Force has made under the direction of Barbara Buckley, but we know there is more work to be done.
I’m proud of the initial progress of the Rapid Response Strike Force led by Barbara Buckley and the work of Acting DETR Director Elisa Cafferata.
In under 30 days, this Strike Force has analyzed the backlog and identified reasons why eligible Nevadans are awaiting payment. In fact, I’ve been informed by DETR that 5,000 people who have been identified will be paid this upcoming week.
And they are quickly recruiting staff to help more who are still waiting: last week, 200 part-time welfare eligibility workers began training to assist with the backlog, and their are 200 more ready to come on board to help. Retired state employees are also being rehired to assist as well.
We are also piloting a new program called ID-me which will allow people to verify their identity so they are more quickly connecting to benefits. Our hope is to make significant progress on the backlog over the next 45 days.
But the unemployment backlog is one reason why I am extending the eviction moratorium. We do not want Nevadans getting evicted while awaiting a determination of their case. And the State will do all it can to get a resolution to outstanding claims.
I am confident that in the next 45 days all of the various agencies and organizations will work as fast as possible to make sure these programs are up and running to help Nevada’s renters and landlords continue to navigate these unprecedented times and stay healthy and safe in the midst of this pandemic.