Nevada Suspends Commercial and Residential Evictions and Foreclosures Due to COVID-19 Crisis
April 8, 2020
By Kelly H. Dove
Nevada recently joined the rapidly-increasing list of states suspending or barring eviction and foreclosure actions during the COVID-19 pandemic. By both executive directives and judiciary orders, almost all foreclosure and eviction activity, including residential and commercial, has been put on hold for the duration of the state of emergency. Further, state officials have expressed their intent to enforce these measures, as well as assist constituents in securing forbearance options voluntarily offered by most lenders.
On March 12, 2020, the Governor of the State of Nevada issued a Declaration of Emergency to facilitate the State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Subsequently, on March 29, the Governor issued a directive broadly suspending the initiation of foreclosure and eviction proceedings through the duration of the state of emergency. The directive found that “serious health, safety, welfare, and financial consequences … may result from eviction,” and as a result, suspending “foreclosure or other removal of Nevadans and businesses from their homes or establishments during this emergency” is reasonable and necessary. The directive provides that no foreclosure or eviction based upon a tenant or mortgagee’s default of any contractual obligations under a rental agreement or mortgage may be initiated under any provision of Nevada law as of March 30, 2020, which moratorium will continue until the state of emergency is lifted or the directive is otherwise rescinded. Importantly, the moratorium encompasses both residential and commercial property. While exceptions exist, they are narrow and limited to exigent circumstances, such as where timely eviction is necessitated by public safety concerns, criminal activity, or circumstances causing significant property damage.
Immediately following the Governor’s directive, the judiciary issued an administrative order on March 31, stating the consideration of all eviction and foreclosure matters, with the exception of a few types of emergency matters consistent with above-described exceptions. The stay of these matters means that the justice court will not accept any new complaints for eviction or unlawful detainer, hold hearings, rule upon, or issue dispositive orders on any of these matters.
State officials, including the Attorney General, have communicated their intention to take any action necessary to move against landlords and lenders who violate the moratorium or stay, including by employing actions under state statute and consumer protection laws for those who do not comply. Violations include posting notices of intent to evict on tenant property and other actions that could be seen to “bully” a tenant into vacating the premises.
Further, the state government is also working to educate borrowers about lenders’ voluntary forbearance programs and other available relief. While these programs are currently voluntary, state officials have expressed their willingness to support borrowers in securing such relief. Nevada State Treasurer, Zach Conine announced, “If you are unable to get the COVID-19-related relief you need after reaching out to your lender, please let me know, and we’ll call them together.”
In sum, foreclosure and eviction activity is almost entirely halted in Nevada until further notice.