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Today I’m talking about how we can all do our part to help renters during this very difficult time, as COVID-19 lockdowns, moratoriums, and economic woes persist. We in the Southern chapter of the National Association of Regional Property Managers (NARPHAM) have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for rental assistance. We’re excited to be partnering with HopeLink, who will be qualifying those renters in need of assistance; our job is to raise money for those who have fallen through the cracks of existing rental assistance avenues. Thousands upon thousands of renters still need our help, and that’s why I’m humbly asking for your support in this initiative. Just click here to donate what you can so that we can all work together—not as landlords and renters, but as one Nevada community united against crisis. To hear my full message, watch the short video above.
Over the past few months, I’ve shared several videos about the eviction moratorium here in Nevada, and today I’ll redirect the focus to what landlords have been asked to do by state and federal legislators.
Essentially, they’ve asked landlords to be a part of the mobilization effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Just like medical professionals, first responders, and grocery store workers, they’ve been asked to do this without federal and state funding. When the pandemic started, every landlord I spoke to was 100% on board with working with their tenants; they did not want them to be homeless in the middle of a pandemic. Roughly nine months later, though, these landlords are still operating without the monetary support of our state and federal government. They want to continue to provide housing for everyone and keep them safe, but they also need to be able to fix faulty heaters, leaky roofs, etc., and they’re finding it harder to do so because their resources have been exhausted.
We’ve been going through this process for many months already, and I’m not sure landlords can hang on any longer.
Governor Sisolak’s latest moratorium provides some stipulations that are slightly different than the first one. The first one contained a blanket order preventing landlords from evicting anyone. This one requires that if tenants want to qualify as a “Covered Person,” they have to sign an affidavit (similar to the CDC affidavit) stating that they make less than $99,000 in a calendar year, they have no other housing options than their current residence, and that being evicted would put them at risk. The courts then have to decide whether the tenant meets these guidelines.
The moratorium also made it clear that if landlords are to file evictions frivolously, they could be sanctioned, which has deterred many of them from pursuing any evictions. Federal funding for rental assistance ended on December 31. We don’t know if there will be any more, but if there is, there will be $25 billion to go around, and landlords will be able to file for that assistance. However, we’ve been going through this process for many months already, and I’m not sure landlords can hang on any longer.
It’s a scary time for all of us, and we all want to find a solution to this problem. I’m hoping things will go smoother over the next few months if and when this federal funding comes through. In the meantime, I’m praying we can work together to combat this pandemic in a safe and economically feasible manner.
As always, if you have questions about this or any real estate topic, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to speak with you.
I know 2020 has been a rough year, and I’m hoping 2021 will be a better one—as I’m sure all of you are, too. Especially amid all this unforeseen adversity, I just want to say thank you for your support and continued confidence in my ability to guide us through changes as they come. I wish you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving, an abundance of joy throughout the rest of the holiday season, and a fantastic new year when the calendar finally does flip over.
As always, please feel free to reach out to me by phone or email if you have any questions or property management needs. Again, thank you so much, and all the best to you and yours!
On October 15, Governor Steve Sisolak lifted the stay on evictions, which means landlords can start filing the Seven-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. If the tenant files an answer with the court, there’s an extra checkbox in the new form asking whether they want to participate in the mandatory mediation program. If they check that box, the landlord is obligated to mediate that particular case.
After that, a 30-day stay notice is initiated for the eviction and the mediation is scheduled. The landlord has to be present for this; your property manager doesn’t have the authority to negotiate on your behalf. These mediations can be done virtually, so you don’t have to travel to Nevada for them. I know it’s inconvenient, but at least we’re moving in the right direction. Legislators have tied the rental assistance money to the mediation program, so in order to access those funds, you have to go through the mediation program.
There is some concern that the funds, if not spent by December 31, will be returned to the Federal Reserve or the state will have to figure out how they’ll be spent. Either way, funds that aren’t spent by that date probably won’t go to the tenants. Therefore, legislators have created a program that extends the mediation process even longer. For tenants that only have three months of back rent and can get rental assistance within three months and get back on their feet, that’s a smaller balance than five or six months’ worth of rent. The larger the balance is, the fewer people the money will go to.
It’s the classic story of two government bodies that have negated everything, decided to work against each other, and made things difficult for the rest of us.
If you file a notice now, it will take at least until the following week until you can file with the courts, and the courts will probably be backlogged, so it will take them a week or so to process the notice. We’ll be well into November by the time you can get a mediation scheduled, and I have no idea if they have enough mediators to handle the projected eviction traffic.
The CDC affidavit is another issue to be aware of. A tenant can print it off and sign it, but there doesn’t seem to be any burden of proof on their part to obtain the affidavit. Receiving a signed affidavit means you have to stop the eviction process and won’t be able to do anything until January. This also means you can’t get them into mediation and connect them to rental assistance. I’m trying to explain to tenants that this affidavit isn’t in their best interest because of the way Nevada has tied rental assistance to the mediation program, and I’m doing everything I can to work with them so they can receive rental assistance.
At the end of the day, it’s the classic story of two governmental bodies that have negated everything, decided to work against each other, and made things difficult for the rest of us.
As always, I plan on keeping you updated on this ongoing story. If you have any questions in the meantime, don’t hesitate to call or email me. I’d be happy to speak with you.
Last week, I went to court over a lease violation; the tenant was running her water all day long because she thought that gnats were coming out of the drain. Even though we had been checking on it every week, we were not able to find any gnats. The owner was paying the water bill, which was very, very high.
I have three buildings, all of which have separate water bills. I brought the owner of the building in question all three bills and showed them the difference between theirs and the other two. While their building had only four units, the water bill was as high as it was for the other 10-unit building.
The tenant didn’t show up to court but still tried the case as though she were there. After reviewing all the documentation, the judge determined that the occupant was causing damage to the unit (i.e., the owner) and therefore granted my eviction.
To be honest with you, I was shocked. I’d expected him to deny the eviction based on everything else that had been seen, but I think a large portion of why he granted it was that the occupant didn’t show up to court. That was good news, and I was glad to see that we were making some headway for the owner.
Certain organizations are asking for sunset mediation, which would provide an end-date for mandatory mediations.
However, I did receive the news recently that the 30-day no-cause notices that were filed in August are being denied. We believed from the memorandum that we had previously received that we would be able to start filing 30-day no-cause evictions for tenants who are on a month-to-month lease in August. But the courts have decided that we should have filed those evictions on September 1, so we’re now having to re-file those notices, which means that it won’t be until October that we’ll be able to evict some of those tenants if they don’t move out at the end of the 30 days.
Additionally, the Supreme Court’s mediation program will soon hear the testimonies of property managers, legal aides, and legislators who are asking for sunset mediation, which would provide an end-date for mandatory mediations.
We also learned there are legislators who are trying to earmark the extra $10 million that the governor issued for rental assistance (specifically to the mediation program). This means that anyone who is going through the mediation program would be eligible for that money in rental assistance, but no one else would.
That comes with a lot of issues. First of all, we probably won’t be able to get into mediation until January, which means that certain occupants’ bills will continue to get higher and higher and delay payments to the owner. It also means that fewer tenants will be helped. We’re hoping that the Supreme Court won’t tie up the $10 million and that there will be added stipulations requiring tenants to have some responsibility to prove that they’ve actually been affected by the pandemic so that we can weed out the bad apples.
I’m sure that I’ll have even more updates for you in our next blog post. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you may have.
I recently got a taste of what it’ll now be like for property owners and managers to pursue evictions per lease violations. I had sought two evictions for two separate tenants following unacceptable incidents. For the first incident, I had police support in the form of red cards, and I had video evidence of the second incident.
Here’s the first case: I have a property that’s in a bit of a rougher area, and after a shooting there, police issued red cards to the property managers so we can file lease violations, which the judge will then grant since there is police support.
To summarize the situation without divulging protected information, let’s say a shooting occurred between Unit A and Unit B. Tenant A and Tenant B were involved; we had to allow Tenant B to break her lease so she could gather her items and be escorted off of the property by police for her own safety.
Despite all of the documentation I had with me indicating otherwise, Tenant A showed up in court claiming that it was actually Tenant B who shot at her. Tenant A did not have to supply any documentation proving her account, though, and since the police report did not specifically state that Tenant A had shot Tenant B, the judge denied my eviction. The ruling shocked me because I know that six months ago, this eviction would have gone through—no doubt about it.
The ruling shocked me because I know that six months ago that eviction would have gone through.
The second case involved what we’ll refer to as Unit C. I had a video of the tenant, Tenant C, having a visitor leave her apartment at about 2 a.m. to discharge a firearm in the middle of the courtyard. However, Tenant C claimed that it was actually the guest of another tenant (this particular property has 28 units) who discharged a firearm. She also claimed she wasn’t home at the time of the incident; her alibi was that she had gotten a hotel room and spent that night gambling (keep in mind she hasn’t paid rent in four months), so she couldn’t have had a visitor.
Even though the person seen leaving Tenant C’s apartment is not a tenant at the property (at the very least, not an individual with whom I am even remotely familiar), the judge denied my eviction and stated I needed to investigate the issue of identity further. The burden of proof was on me; I had to provide more evidence that the individual who discharged the firearm wasn’t a tenant in my building. Again, I was shocked; six months ago, I would have easily been granted this eviction.
When I left court, I trusted my gut and made a few phone calls. I was able to confirm that the governor’s office was very concerned that property managers would be using lease violations to oust tenants who aren’t paying rent, and as such, they instructed judges to use a stricter set of guidelines when assessing lease violation cases.
We’re not yet sure what those guidelines are, but we’ll continue to do research. However, let me make this clear: Property managers, landlords, and legislators alike all want to provide assistance to people who have been affected by COVID. There have been fears that tenants have been taking advantage of this leniency, though, and now I’ve witnessed it; one of my tenants said—in open court, under oath—that she had been paying for a hotel room and gambling her money away instead of paying rent. I couldn’t address this fact at the time, however, as we weren’t in court that day for a non-payment case.
I hope our legislators and leadership will begin doing more to advocate for landlords. It has been jarring to see such blatant disregard for landlords’ interests. I wish I had better news, but I do have an upcoming court case I’m looking forward to. It’s for a lease violation, but this time it involves the lease addendum promissory note that the governor approved, so we’ll see what happens! Until then, you can reach out via phone or email with any questions or concerns you may have.
These are unprecedented times for real estate investors and property managers, and I have more news to share regarding the Nevada eviction moratorium.
As we know, about a month ago the governor set a timeline for the lift on tenant evictions. Lease violations could be filed in August, and evictions for nonpayment of rent could be filed in September. Just recently, though, the governor extended evictions for nonpayment of rent another 45 days.
His reasoning was that the state’s unemployment software is still broken and people haven’t gotten their unemployment assistance payments yet. During a recent special session of the Nevada Legislature, about $30 million was earmarked to go toward rental assistance, and the applications for that assistance are still being processed. In another special session, they passed a law allowing judges to court-order mediation between a landlord and tenant, which would extend the eviction another 30 days, but this mediation program isn’t up and running yet.
If you’re a landlord, mortgages, property taxes, HOA dues, and repair costs still need to be paid, but there doesn’t seem to be much relief on the way.
I wish I had better news for all the landlords and property managers out there. Over the past few months, I’ve been telling you that there was an end date for these updated eviction laws, but they’ve changed the rules all over again. I don’t know whether these timelines will be extended again, but if we have to do mandatory mediation, they’ll likely stretch all the way into December. Judges don’t like to make people homeless during the holidays, so I don’t foresee an end to the madness until January, February, or even March of 2021.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to work every avenue and find a solution for any party that’s involved in this type of situation. If you’re a landlord, mortgages, property taxes, HOA dues, and repair costs still need to be paid, but there doesn’t seem to be much relief on the way.
However, if you have questions about this topic or need any assistance, I’d be happy to speak with you and offer my advice. Just call or email me anytime!
If you’re a property owner, you should know that the governor has recently updated eviction timelines for tenants. On July 1, commercial properties, foreclosure properties, and rentals were all allowed to commence in foreclosure or eviction. Also, any eviction that doesn’t have to do with non-payment of rent can be filed starting August 1. On September 1, evictions for non-payment or rent can be filed. To find out more about these updated tenant laws, watch my latest video.
I’ve been getting some questions lately about commercial leases, so Dertrez Pressley, our designated commercial agent, joined me to answer them and talk about the process of leasing out commercial spaces.
Typically, we’ve seen clients attempt to represent themselves in a commercial lease. According to Dertrez, this leaves them vulnerable to many different pitfalls. Just like with any industry, a lack of specialized knowledge can hurt.
Each state has its own set of rules and regulations.
For example, most people don’t understand the difference between an LOI and a lease. The LOI is a non-binding letter that says the owner is willing to lease under certain conditions, but it’s not a contract. Once you do agree to the LOI, then you sign the lease. These leases are typically written by the building owner’s lawyer, so the lessee needs to have a lawyer on their side, too.
Recently, a client was working on an industrial property from out of state. In our state, you need a personal or corporate guarantee on all leases, and this buyer didn’t know how to negotiate this. They also didn’t understand the TI. They had the landlord contribute x amount of dollars toward their buildout but didn’t understand that it was a reimbursement, not an upfront payment. These are just a few issues that this one client encountered and the consequence was that he ended up losing out on the property he really wanted.
Thanks so much to Dertrez for joining us. If you have any questions for us, don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email today. We look forward to hearing from you.