On March 25th, 2020, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts issued Executive Order #20-17, entitled “Coronavirus – Temporary Residential Eviction Relief.” The order was designed to help Nebraska landlords and tenants deal with the economic difficulties created by the coronavirus pandemic. The order is in effect until May 31st, 2020.
Despite what you may have heard, however, this does not mean tenants cannot be evicted prior to that date. Residential landlords are prohibited from evicting tenants for unpaid rent if this breach of the lease agreement occurred on or after March 13th, 2020. Tenants who have accrued unpaid rent prior to that date can still be evicted under the order.
In addition, tenants seeking protection under the executive order need to prove (1) that they suffered a substantial loss of income due to the pandemic such as job loss, reduction in hours, or closure of their place of employment; or (2) that they missed work to care for a relative or child whose school or childcare facility was closed due to COVID-19. Presumably, a tenant cannot simply come into court and say that they lost their job. At the very least, they should bring a letter from their employer, school, or childcare facility to be protected by the order.
Evictions During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Under the order, the fact that a tenant or any person residing with the tenant has a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID cannot by itself serve as grounds for an eviction. This provision applies to condominiums, cooperative housing agreements, or neighborhood associations. Landlords should take note that the order applies only to residential property.
Landlords and tenants should both know that the order does not eliminate the duty of a tenant to pay rent or the right of the landlord to collect rent. It simply defers the time period during which these duties can be required or exercised. In addition, there is nothing in Executive Order #20-17 that prohibits a landlord from terminating a rental agreement for reasons unrelated to COVID-19, such as criminal conduct, vandalism, or material noncompliance with a separate provision of the rental agreement.
More Questions? We Have Answers
Do you have more questions about the new “Coronavirus – Temporary Residential Eviction Relief” order? The attorneys at Carlson & Burnett in Omaha are available to answer your questions. With our backgrounds as real estate and tenant-landlord lawyers, we can help you interpret your lease situation, details of the new executive order, and any other legal questions you may have.
Please call us at (402) 810-8611 or fill out a contact form today.