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What to do when rent is due during a pandemic

Posted at 9:36 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 09:26:28-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada has launched a legal and financial toolkit for Nevadans facing eviction, debt issues and more as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their office continues to operate and has been inundated with inquires, mainly calls, from community members with questions regarding family law issues, threatened evictions, health care eligibility, unemployment compensation, and debt collection issues.

Since March 16, 2020, the number of calls has risen to 2,150, up from 1,100 the week before, which is nearly double in one week.

“These are challenging and uncertain times for many,” said Barbara Buckley, Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada executive director. “We created the toolkit to help Nevadans who are struggling with job loss, evictions, and mounting debt due to COVID-19. Legal Aid Center’s team remains dedicated to serving the most vulnerable in our community to ensure their legal rights are protected. We will continue to update the toolkit with important legal information and resources as we monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation.”

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The Family Law Self-Help Center, which is managed by Legal Aid Center, continues to serve victims of domestic violence with Temporary Protection Order (TPO) assistance. The Center is temporarily closed to in-person visits but staff is providing critical service to victims by phone and email. The Family Law Self-Help Center received approval from the court to electronically sign the TPO application and email it to the clerk, so individuals do not have to visit the courthouse physically.

“We understand how important social distancing is to decrease the COVID-19 outbreak and recognize how devastating it can be for victims of domestic and sexual abuse who are trapped at home,” added Buckley. “Our staff quickly navigated obstacles to transform delivery of legal services so that we can continue to provide justice for victims of domestic violence as well as abused and neglected youth in foster care, seniors, and community members rocked by this pandemic.”

The toolkit, available in both English and Spanish, is accessible on lacsn.org and is updated frequently. Remote legal assistance is available by calling 702-386-1070 or emailing info@lacsn.org.

There have not been any cases of COVID-19 at Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.

As a reminder, earlier this week Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a new emergency directive putting a moratorium on evictions during the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, for both residential and business tenants.

Sisolak warned landlords that they can not lock you out or put notices on the your doors and mailboxes to scare you into moving out. But the governor says eventually tenants will still be obligated to pay what they owe at a later date.

13 Action News spoke with a property manager, Vandana Bhalla, who says before that due date comes, talk to your landlord and make sure to get that payment plan in writing.

"The options for certain tenants for instance. Again communication. Talk to your property manager and the landlord once you've had that conversation you can workout a payment plan for after you get back to work."

The governor advised tenants and landlords to work together to figure out a repayment plan before the end of this month. If your landlord is still attempting to evict you during this time, report them to the attorney general at ag.nv.gov.

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