COVID-19/Coronavirus

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COVID-19/Coronavirus

Legal Aid has opened its Disaster Relief Hotline for those with legal questions or legal issues related to COVID-19. Call 1-844-268-5627 and leave a voicemail. Legal Aid staff will return your call as soon as possible. 

You can also apply online at http://www.LawHelpNE.org. 

 

Employees

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Housing

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Domestic Violence

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Employees

Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Nebraska Unemployment Insurance Changes

The Governor of the State of Nebraska issued an Executive Order on March 17, 2020 loosening unemployment insurance benefit requirements effective from March 22, 2020 – May 2, 2020. A summary of the changes are described Press Release issued by the Governor’s office. More information about these changes are listed below.

You may be entitled to receive unemployment benefits if you:

  • Lost your job
  • Have been laid off
  • Are in unpaid status due to your work being shut down
  • Are in quarantine
  • Are sick and need to miss work
  • Are caring for a family member who is ill
  • Are caring for a family member due to a facility closure (e.g. school closure, daycare closure)

How to File for Unemployment

File for unemployment benefits as soon as your job ends, your hours are reduced, or any of the circumstances listed above occurs.

Work Search Requirements Waived

  • From March 22 – May 2, 2020, you do NOT need to search for work while you receive unemployment benefits. You can search for work if you choose.

One Week Waiting Period Waived

  • From March 22-May 2, the normal one week waiting period is waived
Employee FAQs

Employee FAQs

  1. My employer closed my workplace temporarily because of the coronavirus and is forcing employees to take unpaid leave. What can I do?

You may file a claim for Unemployment Insurance benefits with the Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL). To get benefits you only need to meet certain minimum requirements, including having sufficient past earnings and an immigration status that allows you to work.

For more information about Unemployment Insurance benefits, including eligibility requirements and how to file a claim, please visit https://www.dol.nebraska.gov/UIBenefits or call 402-458-2500 (English).

  1. Because of coronavirus, my employer made assumptions about me or treated me differently than coworkers because I am Asian or from another country. What can I do?

An employer who treats you worse than other workers because of your race, national origin, or ethnic background is violating the law. This includes employer actions that single you out because of negative stereotypes. See Information about Discrimination.

  1. Can my employer ask me if I have a health condition (like a compromised immune system) that would be affected by coronavirus?

No. Your answer to that question is likely to disclose a disability. Therefore, the employer’s question may be against the law.

  1. If I have coronavirus, what can my employer tell others about my condition?

Your employer is required to keep all medical information about you private and confidential, unless otherwise required by the law.

  1. I have coronavirus and am not currently able to work because of my illness. What can I do to receive income while I’m not working?

If you have sick leave, you are entitled to use sick leave if you are missing work because of illness. Your employer should provide you with pay for the accrued sick days you have.

If your job does not provide sick leave, you may file a claim for Unemployment Insurance benefits with the Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL). To get benefits you only need to meet certain minimum requirements, including having sufficient past earnings and an immigration status that allows you to work.

For more information about Unemployment Insurance benefits, including eligibility requirements and how to file a claim, please visit https://www.dol.nebraska.gov/UIBenefits or call 402-458-2500 (English).

At this time there is no Nebraska law that requires private sector employers to provide employees sick leave, paid or unpaid, although many employers do grant it as a popular employee benefit.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a federal law, was recently enacted. The law requires certain employers to provide sick leave and other paid time off under certain circumstances. The law will go into effect on April 2, 2020. Find a summary of the law related to employees here.

  1. Can I lose my job if I miss work because I’m sick with coronavirus or need to care for a family member who is sick?

Your employer cannot retaliate against you for using paid sick days.

In addition, you may be entitled to job-protected time off from work for up to 12 weeks under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). You likely qualify for this leave if all of the following statements apply to you:

  • You work for an employer with at least 50 employees within 75 miles of your worksite;
  • You have worked there for at least a year, and
  • You worked at least 1250 hours in the year before you take time off

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a federal law, was recently enacted that makes amendments to FMLA, including providing paid time off for up to 12 weeks under certain circumstances related to COVID-19. The law will go into effect on April 2, 2020.   Find a summary of the law related to employees here.

Here are more FAQs for employees developed by the Nebraska.

Employment Discrimination

Employment Discrimination

Discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), disability, marital status or age is prohibited in Nebraska. In general, covered entities include most private and non-profit employers with 15 or more employees, but the size and types of businesses covered depends upon the laws. State and local government subdivisions of any size, along with employment agencies and labor organizations are covered.

There is a limit on the amount of time you have to file a discrimination claim against your employer. The information contained in this section is related to Nebraska resources only. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may also investigate claims. This in not an all exclusive list of resources.

Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission

If you believe you were discriminated against by your employer because of your race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, marital status, pregnancy, retaliation, whistleblower retaliation, age, or wage retaliation you can file a complaint with the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission (NEOC). If you want to file a claim with the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission for employment discrimination, it is 300 days from the date of harm.

Information on how to file a complaint is at this link: https://neoc.nebraska.gov/complaint/complaint.html

You can begin the process online, by phone, or in-person at one of the NEOC’s office locations. The NEOC office phone numbers are:

  • Lincoln office at 402-471-2024 or 800-642-6112
  • Omaha office at 402-595-2028 or 800-382-7820
  • Scottsbluff office at 308-632-1340 or 800-830-8633

NEOC staff is available to take calls from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. If staff is not available, or you call when the office is closed, you can leave a message and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

Lincoln Commission on Human Rights

The Lincoln Commission on Human Rights (LCHR) is an agency of the City of Lincoln, and as such it can only investigate complaints that take place within Lincoln City limits. If you live in the City of Lincoln, and believe your employer discriminated against you on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), disability, marital status or age, you can choose to file a complaint with the Lincoln Commission on Human Rights. 

LCHR advises residents to be observant for any discriminatory responses or stigma related to the COVID-19 based on race, nationality, ethnicity, disability, religion or any other protected classes in our community. 

To begin the process to file a complaint, call LCHR at 402-441-7624 or complete a Human Rights Intake Questionnaire to provide contact information as well as a general picture of the discrimination which occurred. Note it is not enough to simply complete the Intake Questionnaire. A LCHR Civil Rights Investigator will assist you in the filing of an official complaint (must be in writing, signed in front of a notary, etc.). 

If you case does not fall under LCHR’s jurisdiction, you will be referred to the appropriate agency.

City of Omaha Human Rights and Relations Department

The Omaha Municipal Code prohibits discrimination because of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, age, sex, disability, familial status, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity in connection with employment, housing, and public accommodation (bars, restaurants, hotels, etc.).

The City of Omaha’s Human Rights and Relations Department (OHRRD) is responsible for the investigation, elimination, and prevention of all forms of socioeconomic disparities and prohibited discrimination in the areas of housing, employment, public accommodation, and contracting based on race, creed, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, class or any other form of discrimination prescribed by ordinance or resolution.

If you live in the City of Omaha and believe your employer discriminated against you, you can file a complaint. The complaint must be filed within 180 days of the alleged act of discrimination. Here is a link to how to file a complaint against your employer. https://humanrights.cityofomaha.org/civil-rights/filing-a-charge

The phone number for OHRRD is (402) 444-5055. 

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). This legislation provides relief for workers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The FFCRA takes effect on April 1, 2020, and expires on December 31, 2020.

The two key parts of this legislation provide employee leave and pay benefits: (1) the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and (2) the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA). Both laws apply to private employers with fewer than 500 employees.[1] Additionally, businesses with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt.[2]

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (Emergency FMLA Expansion Act)[3]

Eligible employees can take leave for “a qualifying need related to a public health emergency” for up to 12 weeks from the date on which the employee’s leave commences. 

Who is eligible?

Employees who have worked for their employer for at least 30 calendar days.

  • Some health care providers and emergency responders may be excluded by the Secretary of Labor.[4]

When is emergency leave available?

An employee can take emergency leave if she is unable to work (or telework) because she must care for a “son or daughter under 18 years of age” due to a school or childcare provider closing.

  • Son or daughter means a biological, adopted, foster child, step child, legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis who is either under 18 years of age or is 18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.

Do I get paid during emergency leave?

The first 10 days of public health emergency leave are unpaid.

  • Employees may elect to substitute accrued but unused vacation, personal, medical or sick leave benefits (if the employee has those benefits).

After the first 10 days, the rest of the public health emergency leave must be paid by the employer. 

  • The employee must be paid no less than two-thirds of their regular wage, up to $200 per day and $10,000 in total.

Can I lose my job for taking emergency leave?

If you work for a company with less than 25 employees, your employer may not be required to protect your job if certain conditions are met:

  1. An employee took public health emergency leave;
  2. The position no longer exists due to changes in the employers’ economic or operating conditions that affect employment and are caused by the public health emergency during the period of leave;
  3. The employer made reasonable efforts to restore the employee to an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay and other terms and conditions of employment; and
  4. After failing to find an equivalent position, the employer contacts the employee if an equivalent position becomes available during the “contact period” which is the earlier of:
    1. The date the employee’s public health emergency leave concludes or
    2. The date that is 12 weeks after such leave began.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA)

The EPSLA permits full-time employees to take up to 80 hours of paid sick time if they are unable to work (remotely or otherwise) for any of the qualifying uses below. Eligible part-time employees are entitled to paid sick time equal to the number of hours they work on average over a two-week period.

Who is eligible?

Any employee, regardless of how long the employee has been employed.[5] This includes part-time and temporary employees.

When can I use paid sick time?

Employees can use paid sick time if they are unable to work for any of the following reasons[6]:

  1. The employee is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. The employee has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. The employee is caring for a family member who is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order, or advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine, due to COVID-19;
  5. The employee is caring for their child due to a COVID-19 related school/childcare provider closure; or
  6. The employee is “experiencing any other substantially similar condition” specified by the Secretaries of the Department of Health and Human Services, Treasury Department, and Department of Labor.

Employees may use their accrued but unused employer-provided paid sick time before using paid sick time, but an employer may not require them to do so.

How much sick leave do I have?

  • Full time employees are entitled to 80 hours (10 days) of paid sick time.
  • Part-time employees are entitled to the average number of hours worked over a 2-week period.

What will I earn during sick leave?

You will earn your regular rate of pay, which must be greater than federal minimum wage ($7.25), or greater than your state or local minimum wage.[7]

  • For example, in Nebraska, the state’s minimum wage is $9.00. The employee must earn their regular rate of pay or $9.00 an hour, whichever is greater.

The rate of pay depends on the reason for taking paid sick leave.

An eligible employee can earn up to $511 per day – or a maximum of $5,110 for their 10 days of paid sick leave – if the qualifying use relates to the first three permitted uses:

  1. The employee is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. The employee has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.

By contrast, an eligible employee can only earn up to $200 per day – or a maximum of up to $2,000 for their 10 days of paid sick leave – if any of the other qualifying uses apply:

  1. The employee is caring for a family member who is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order, or advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine, due to COVID-19;
  2. The employee is caring for their child due to a COVID-19 related school/childcare provider closure; or
  3. The employee is “experiencing any other substantially similar condition” specified by the Secretaries of the Department of Health and Human Services, Treasury Department and Department of Labor.

Can I be fired for using my sick leave?

No. An employer cannot fire, discipline, or discriminate against an employee who takes sick leave under this act.[8]

[1] US Enacts the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Cooley (March 20, 2020), https://www.cooley.com/news/insight/2020/2020-03-20-us-enacts-the-families-first-coronavirus-response-act.

[2] Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act § 110(a)(3)(B), Congress.gov (last visited March 24, 2020), https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/hr6201/BILLS-116hr6201enr.pdf.

[3] H.R. 6201 – Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Congress.gov (last visited March 24, 2020), https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6201/text.

[4] Id. at Sec. 3105

[5] Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act §5102(e)(1), Congress.gov (last visited March 24, 2020), https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/hr6201/BILLS-116hr6201enr.pdf.

[6] Id. at §5102(a)(1)-(6)

[7] Id. §5110(5)(B)(i)(I-III)

[8] Id. §5104

Housing:

Tenants

Tenants Overview

Have evictions stopped in Nebraska?

At this time, evictions have not stopped in Nebraska.

Didn’t Governor Rickett’s Executive Order halt all evictions?

The Governor’s Executive Order does not stop all evictions. The Order applies to evictions related to non-payment of rent due on or after March 13, 2020.  This means that if your rent was due prior to March 13, 2020 and you did not pay your rent, your landlord can still bring an action for eviction.  Additionally, landlords are still allowed to pursue evictions for other reasons such as failure to cure a breach in the rental agreement or criminal actions at this time.

Legal Aid is waiting to see how the courts across the state will apply the Governor’s Order.  Legal Aid of Nebraska will continue to update the COVID-19 resource page as things progress and develop.  Check back for more information.

What does the Executive Order say about evictions for non-payment of rent?

The Governor’s Order:

  1. Delays eviction trials for unpaid rent until after May 31, 2020, only if the eviction is based upon non-payment of rent that was due on or after March 13, 2020 and the tenant can show to the landlord, with documentation or other evidence, that the tenant:
  • Has a substantial loss of income related to COVID-19, such as job loss, reduction in hours of work, or their place of employment has closed; or
  • Has missed work to care for a relative or child because their school or childcare facility closed, or the childcare has limited attendance, due to COVID-19.

 

  1. Waives the requirement that Courts must hear eviction trials for non-payment of rent within 10 to 14 days after the issuance of a summons. This empowers courts to delay eviction trials for non-payment of rent.  

In order to claim relief under the Governor’s Order, you must show your landlord that you have had a substantial loss of income because of COVID-19 or had to miss work to care for a relative or child because their normal care providers or schools aren’t available due to COVID-19.  You can use a paystub or other paycheck information, written communication between your employer and you, and letters from care providers or schools as proof to show your landlord.  If you need guidance on what documentation is best, contact Legal Aid of Nebraska for assistance.  You can apply for assistance from Legal Aid by calling 1 (844) 268-5627.  When you call, please leave a message with your name, a telephone number where we can reach you, and a statement that your landlord is evicting you.

Legal Aid is waiting to see how the courts across the state will implement the Governor’s Order.  Legal Aid of Nebraska will continue to update this page as things progress and develop.  Check back for more information.

Can I ask to have my court hearing continued based on the Governor’s Order?

Yes. You can apply for assistance from Legal Aid of Nebraska by calling 1 (844) 268-5627 as soon as you receive court papers.  When you call, please leave a message with your name, a telephone number where we can reach you, and a statement that your landlord is evicting you.  There is a sample motion to continue, sample proposed order to continue, and instructions on how to file the motion available on Legal Aid’s website

The court needs to decide whether your hearing will be continued.  Unless you get an order or notice from the court that your hearing is continued, your court hearing will take place as scheduled.

If You Rent from a Private Landlord

My landlord has sent me papers about ending my lease, can I call Legal Aid?

Yes. In Nebraska, your landlord must provide written notice when terminating your lease.  The most common notices in Nebraska are: a 7 day notice for failure to pay rent; a 14 day notice for violating the terms of the rental agreement; and a 30 day notice terminating a month-to-month tenancy.  If you receive a notice or other papers or communications from your landlord about ending your lease, contact Legal Aid of Nebraska for assistance.  You can apply for assistance from Legal Aid by calling 1 (844) 268-5627.  When you call, please leave a message with your name, a telephone number where we can reach you, and a statement that your landlord is evicting you.

My landlord has sent me papers about ending my lease, or the court has sent me papers about eviction or terminating my lease, can I call Legal Aid?

Yes. Call as soon as you get any papers from the court.  If your landlord has filed a case in court to evict you (called a “Petition for Restitution”), you can apply for services from Legal Aid of Nebraska. You can apply for assistance from Legal Aid by calling 1 (844) 268-5627.  When you call, please leave a message with your name, a telephone number where we can reach you, and a statement that your landlord is evicting you.

What if I need to go to court for a hearing?

Due to the COVID-19 disease certain courthouses have limited public access.  Before you attend or visit the courthouse for any matter, you should call the county court clerk’s office for information regarding access to the courthouse and their COVID-19 procedures.  Here is a link to the contact information for every county court clerk’s office. 

Should I go to court if I am showing signs of illness, have to self-quarantine, have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have travelled to a state or country at greater risk of exposure to COVID-19?

  1. If you have any symptoms of illness or if a medical provider or public official has ordered to you self-quarantine or if you have COVID-19 or have had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or have traveled to a high risk country as indicated by the CDC, you must call the court before attending your hearing or visiting the courthouse. For more guidance, you can use this link to view the Order of the Chief Justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court regarding COVID-19 symptoms and court attendance.  The Nebraska Supreme Court has a link to every county court clerk’s office in Nebraska, where you can find the telephone number to call before you attend any court hearing.  If you have any COVID-19 symptoms or have potentially been exposed to COVID-19, you must call the county court clerk before going to the courthouse. 

Can I file a motion to continue my court hearing due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes.  If you are concerned about you or a member of your household about potential exposure to COVID-19 or if you or a member of your household has been affected by COVID-19 or have symptoms of illness, you can request the court continue your hearing.  You can apply for assistance from Legal Aid of Nebraska by calling 1 (844) 268-5627 as soon as you receive court papers.  When you call, please leave a message with your name, a telephone number where we can reach you, and a statement that your landlord is evicting you. There is a sample motion to continue, sample proposed order to continue, and instructions on how to file the motion available on Legal Aid’s website

The court needs to decide whether your hearing will be continued.  Unless you get an order or notice from the court that your hearing is continued, your court hearing will take place as scheduled.

 

What if I am having trouble paying rent?

If you are having trouble paying your rent, there may be resources available in your community to help.  Call 211 to obtain information on possible community resources to help.   You can also visit the 211 Resource Hotline online at https://www.unitedwaymidlands.org/2-1-1/.

If you have lost your job, have had to take time off from work because you are sick or need to care for a family member, have had to take an unpaid leave of absence, you may be able to apply for Unemployment Benefits.  The Nebraska Department of Labor has uploaded an FAQ regarding employment and COVID-19, which you can find here.  For more information on how to apply for unemployment benefits, visit the Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance Benefits page. Legal Aid has prepared information related to Unemployment Insurance Benefits and other information for employees. There is also information for employees prepared by Legal Aid available on Legal Aid’s website.   

Can my landlord evict me for having or being suspected of having COVID-19?

No.  Landlords can only evict you for reasons outlined in the Nebraska Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, which governs most evictions in Nebraska.  The Governor’s Executive Order also states that your landlord cannot evict you, or anyone authorized to stay with you, because you have or are suspected to have COVID-19.

If You Live in Public Housing Owned by a Public Housing Authority

The only Nebraska Public Housing Authorities that has officially notified the public that they have temporarily stopped evictions for nonpayment of rent are the Omaha Housing Authority and the Douglas County Housing Authority.

  • Tenants living in public housing should contact their Public Housing Authority if they are having trouble paying rent during this time. Tenants should report any change in income to their Public Housing Authority, as the amount of rent you owe may be re-determined based upon a loss of income.

Omaha Housing Authority (OHA) Information:

If you live in public housing owned by OHA:

  • OHA has currently closed its office to the public. If you need to speak with someone at OHA, you can call (402) 444-6900 or send an email through their website.
  • You should contact OHA as soon as possible, if you have a change in income as the amount of rent you owe may be re-determined based upon a loss of income.
  • Rent is still due, even if you cannot pay it, during this time. If you are unable to pay rent, you must contact OHA as soon as possible. 
  • OHA may still file court evictions for criminal activity or other serious lease violations.
  • While the OHA has suspended evictions for failure to pay rent for the present time, once the public health emergency passes, OHA will resume the process of terminating leases and filing court evictions for failure to pay rent.

OHA’s decision to stop evictions temporarily does not apply to tenants who have Section 8 rental subsidy vouchers and rent from private landlords.

 Douglas County Housing Authority (DCHA) Information:    

  • DCHA has currently closed its office to the public. If you need to speak with your housing specialist at DCHA, you can call (402) 444-6203 or send an email to your assigned housing specialist.  You can find the phone extensions and emails for each housing specialist on the DCHA website.
  • You should contact DCHA as soon as possible, if you have a change in income as the amount of rent you owe may be re-determined based upon a loss of income.
  • Rent is still due, even if you cannot pay it, during this time. If you are unable to pay rent, you must contact DCHA as soon as possible. 
  • DCHA may still file court evictions for criminal activity or other serious lease violations.
  • While the DCHA has suspended evictions for failure to pay rent for the present time, once the public health emergency passes, DCHA will resume the process of terminating leases and filing court evictions for failure to pay rent.
  • DCHA has halted termination of Section 8 housing subsidy vouchers due to non-compliance, unless the non-compliance is for serious criminal activity.

DCHA’s decision to stop evictions temporarily does not apply to tenants who have Section 8 rental subsidy vouchers and rent from private landlords.

Tenants Living in Properties with FHA-Insured Mortgages

On March 18, 2020, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development put in place a 60-day halt on all foreclosures and evictions on Federal Housing Administration (FHA) single family insured mortgages. This moratorium only applies to single-family properties with mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), a part of HUD that insures home loans made by FHA-approved lenders.

The moratorium not only prevents new foreclosure and eviction actions but also suspends all foreclosure and eviction actions currently in process. 

This decision does not apply to any other federally subsidized housing. 

For more information, please review the HUD Mortgagee Letter 2020-04 dated March 18, 2020 and HUD Press Release.

Tenants Sample Order to Continue Tenant

IN THE COUNTY COURT OF ____________COUNTY, NEBRASKA

 

 

__________________________                   

Plaintiff,

 

            v.

 

___________________________

Defendant.

 

Case No.: CI ________________

 

 

 

ORDER TO CONTINUE

 

            This matter came before the Court on the Defendant’s Motion to Continue the hearing for Restitution of Premises scheduled for _____________________, 2020.  The Court finds that Defendant has shown good cause and that the Court should sustain said motion.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, in compliance with Nebraska Executive Order 20-07 and the principles of public health and equity, that the Court will continue the hearing for Restitution of Premises scheduled for ____________________ until __________________________.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

DATED this _____ day of ______________, 2020.

 

BY THE COURT:

 

 

   

County Court Judge

 

 

Tenants instructions for the motion to continue tenant case

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE MOTION TO CONTINUE

 

  1. CASE CAPTION: The top of your Motion to Continue and the Order to Continue have a section called the case caption. Your case caption must be identical to the case caption on the Complaint.  Fill out the case caption on your Motion to Continue so that the County, Plaintiff and Defendant names and the Case Number match the Complaint. Do the same for the Order to Continue.

 

  1. PARAGRAPH 8: Paragraph 8 on page 3 requires you to check off at least one box. Read each box carefully and check off any of the boxes that apply to you. It is likely that you will check more than one box.  If there is additional information you believe applies to your situation, you can check the other box and include it. 

 

  1. SIGNATURE BLOCK: At the bottom of page 3 and the top of page 4, you need to enter the date, sign your name, and fill in your contact information. You must sign the document in order for the court to accept it. 

 

  1. CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE: On page 4 of the motion is the section called “Certificate of Service.” This certifies to the Court that you sent a copy of the motion to the other side. 

 

  1. Fill in the date and month in the blanks.

 

  1. Enter the name and address of the plaintiff’s attorney. You can find the attorney’s name and address on the Complaint. 

 

  1. You must mail a copy of this motion to the attorney for the plaintiff.

 

  1. ORDER TO CONTINUE: The only thing you need to do for the Order to Continue is fill out the case caption so that it matches the Complaint. Do not fill in any of the blanks.  The judge will fill in everything else. 

 

  1. SAVE A COPY: It is essential that you save a signed copy of the Motion to Continue for your records. If you do not have access to a scanner or a copier, you can take a picture with your phone. 

 

  1. FILE YOUR ORDER: Call your local County Court clerk. Tell them your case number and that you want to file a motion to continue your hearing because of COVID-19. Ask the best way to get the motion to the judge. The clerk should have an email address and fax number, if you have access to email or a fax machine. If you have enough time, you may be able to mail it, but talk with the clerk before doing this. Make sure you are sending the documents to the right person and address. If you fax or email the documents, make sure to call the court that same day to confirm they received them.  Here is a link to the contact information for every county court clerk’s office.

 

  1. FOLLOW UP: After you file your Motion to Continue and unsigned Order to Continue, you need to follow up with the Court by phone to learn the judge’s decision. The court is not going to call you with information.  

 

  1. If the judge granted (or sustained) your motion, then make sure to write down the new hearing date and time. You will need to attend the court hearing on the new date and time. 

 

  1. If the judge denied (or overruled) your motion, then you need to still go to court at the date and time of the original hearing. If you do not go to court, the judge will automatically rule in the favor of the landlord. 
Tenant pro se motion to continue Tenant

IN THE COUNTY COURT FOR ______________ COUNTY NEBRASKA

 

__________________,

                        Plaintiff,

            v.

__________________,

                     Defendant.

 

 

 

Case No.: CI ____________

 

 

MOTION TO CONTINUE

 

COMES NOW the Defendant, pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 76-1403, which provides that the principles of public health and equity supplement the provisions of the Nebraska Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, and Executive Order 20-07, and moves this Court for a continuance of the above-captioned matter until May 31, 2020 or such time as there is no longer a threat to Defendant’s health or the public’s health due to COVID-19.  In support of this Motion, Defendant states and alleges as follows: 

  1. On March 12, 2020, Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael G. Heavican issued an administrative order regarding procedures to be followed in Nebraska’s trial and appellate courts in response to the public health emergency caused by the novel coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease.
  2. On March 13, 2020, President Donald J. Trump declared that the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States is a national emergency.
  3. On March 13, 2020, Governor Pete Ricketts declared that a state of emergency exists within the State of Nebraska as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  4. On March 16, 2020, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services issued guidance urging people limit public gatherings to 10 or less people as critical to reducing the transmission of COVID-19.
  5. On March 25, 2020, Governor Pete Ricketts issued Executive Order 20-07 titled “Corona Virus—Temporary Residential Eviction Relief.” This Executive Order defers the rights of landlords to bring evictions for non-payment of rent for any unpaid rent that accrues on or after March 13, 2020 until May 31, 2020, so long as the tenant can demonstrate to the landlord as a result of COVID-19 or the associated emergency that they have either suffered substantial loss of income or missed work due to caring for a child or relative due to closure or attendance limitations of school or care providers.  This Executive Order also waives the provision of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 76-1446, which requires this Court to hear eviction matters not less than ten days nor more than fourteen days after the issuance of summons. 
  6. The Centers for Disease Control and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services have repeatedly iterated that the best defense against the COVID-19 virus is for people to stay at home as much as possible and practice social distancing. By allowing the courts to continue with unnecessary civil hearings, the risk of exposure and spread of the virus to parties, attorneys, court staff, and judges expands exponentially.  This is in direct contradiction to the recommendations of the CDC and other medical experts.
  7. There is good cause to grant a continuance due to the public health emergency, and proceeding at this time on Plaintiff’s alleged cause(s) of action does not outweigh the concern for public health and safety, and Plaintiff’s alleged cause(s) of action are not “emergency” in nature.
  8. Furthermore, Defendant offers the following statements of fact in support of the motion (check all that apply):
  • I have traveled outside the United States within 14 days of this motion or has come in to close contact with someone who has.
  • I have been asked to self-quarantine by a health care provider or public official.
  • I have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or come in to close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • I am exhibiting at least one of the following symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath
  • I, or someone with whom I live, is over 60 or has an at risk medical condition.
  • I am the parent of a minor child(ren) living in my household, I have no other childcare options, and I must take my child(ren) to court if not continued.
  • I have suffered a substantial loss of income as a result of COVID-19 or the related state of emergency.
  • I have missed work due to care for a relative or child due to a notice from their school or childcare facility that the child may not attend due to closure or attendance limitations.
  • Other: _________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________.

 

Wherefore, Defendant hereby moves this Court for a continuance of the above captioned matter until May 31, 2020 or such time as there is no longer a threat to Defendant’s health or the public’s health due to COVID-19.

 

 

 

 

Date: _______________________

 

 

_______________________________________

                                                                  Defendant (print name)

 

_______________________________________

                                               Signature

_______________________________________

                                                       Street Address

_______________________________________

       City, State, ZIP Code

 

 

 

 

 

Certificate of Service

            The undersigned hereby certifies that they served a true and correct copy of the foregoing Motion to Continue upon all parties by mailing a copy by first class mail on this ______ day of __________, 2020.   

 

Name:

Address:

 

 

 

______________________________________________

Defendant Signature

 

Housing:

Homeowners

Homeowners Overview

If you have lost your job, have had to take time off from work because you are sick or need to care for a family member, have had to take an unpaid leave of absence, you can apply for Unemployment Benefits here: https://neworks.nebraska.gov/vosnet/unemployment.aspx?pu=1&plang=E

If you are in need of other assistance, there may be resources available in your community to help. Call 211 to obtain information on possible community resources to help. https://www.unitedwaymidlands.org/2-1-1/

 

FEDERAL MORTGAGE RELIEF PROGRAMS

FHA-Insured Mortgages

On March 18, 2020, HUD put in place a 60 day moratorium on all foreclosures and evictions on Federal Housing Administration (FHA) single family insured mortgages. The moratorium only applies to homeowners with mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), a part of HUD that insures home loans made by FHA-approved lenders.

The moratorium not only prevents new foreclosure and eviction actions but also suspends all foreclosure and eviction actions currently in process. 

See  HUD Mortgagee Letter 2020-04 dated March 18, 2020 and  HUD Press Release

 

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which oversees Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan banks, is providing payment forbearance to borrowers impacted by the coronavirus for up to 12 months due to hardship and other relief. 

 

Private Mortgage Relief Programs

Contact your bank/loan servicer if you will not be able to make your full or a partial mortgage payments. Many banks have programs that provide hardship assistance, sometimes called customer assistance programs. If you are having trouble making payments, it is best to contact your bank before you become delinquent on your payment. Let them know you care not able to make your mortgage payment due to a hardship (like you got sick, lost your job, your hours were reduced, etc.). Write down the date, who you talked to, and what they said related to paying your mortgage. If any adjustments were made, (e.g. the bank agreed to provide you with more time to make your payment) see if you can get written confirmation from the bank/loan servicer.

Some banks are offering relief to mortgage customers affected by coronavirus, including: 

Property Taxes

Property taxes still need to be paid if you own a home or other real estate in the State of Nebraska. Not paying your property taxes may result in you losing your home. Nebraska law allows for county treasurers to sell the taxes owed on your home, and through that process you can lose your home. Taxes are paid through your local county treasurer’s office.

Homestead Exemption

You may be eligible for property tax relief through the Nebraska Homestead Exemption Program. The deadline to apply for the homestead exemption is June 30, 2020. Applications need to be filed with your county treasurer. Information and forms are available at https://revenue.nebraska.gov/PAD/homestead-exemption.  Contact your county treasurer’s office for more information.

 Those who may qualify for the homestead exemption are:

  • Persons over age 65
  • Veterans totally disabled by a non-service connected accident or illness
  • Qualified disabled individuals
  • Qualified totally disabled veterans and their widow(er)s
  • Veterans whose home was substantially contributed to by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) and their widow(er)s
  • Individuals who have a developmental disability 

Housing:

Utilities

Utilities Overview

Looking for resources to help?

If you are having trouble paying your utility bills, need energy assistance or other assistance, there may be resources available in your community to help. You can call 211 to obtain information on possible community resources to help.

https://www.unitedwaymidlands.org/2-1-1/

 Lost your job, had your hours reduced, or have had to take unpaid leave?

If you have lost your job, have had to take time off from work because you are sick or need to care for a family member, have had to take an unpaid leave of absence, you can apply for Unemployment Benefits. Follow this Link for More information. (Need to Link to Page)

 

Need Energy Assistance?

 DHHS Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps low income households by providing heating assistance, cooling assistance, year round crisis assistance, emergency furnace repair and replacement, fan program and weatherization services for eligible Nebraska citizens/households. Apply for Federal/State LIHEAP assistance by filling out an application via the ACCESSNebraska website: or by calling ACCESSNebraska at (800) 383-4278.

 

Contact your utility company if you are having trouble making payments.

Some utility companies will not disconnect utilities during this time. Here are some utility companies that have temporarily stopped disconnecting utility services:

Omaha

  • U.D. Until further notice, M.U.D. will not disconnect gas or water due to non-payment. Moving forward M.U.D.’s dedicated customer service representatives will work to help customers through financial hardships that may occur as a result of COVID-19, M.U.D. will also work with customers on payment plans. Any impacted customer can call Customer Service at 402.554.6666 or toll-free at 800.732.5864. https://www.mudomaha.com/node/5373

 OPPD will suspend disconnections for non-payment through April 30. At that time, the utility will re-evaluate this moratorium. https://oppdthewire.com/keeping-the-power-on-while-covid-19-plans-in-place/. You can also contact OPPD’s customer service at 402-536-4131 for payment arrangements.

Lincoln

Lincoln Electric System – LES has temporarily suspended disconnections for nonpayment. Customers who cannot pay their bills are urged to call LES at 402-475-4211 to make payment arrangements so they don’t get further behind.

Lincoln Water System – LWS has temporarily suspended disconnections for nonpayment. If customers are unable to pay their bill, they are urged to call Lincoln Water System (LWS) at 402-441-7551.

Grand Island and North Platte

NorthWestern Energy – NorthWestern Energy has voluntarily suspended service disconnections for non-payment to help customers who may be financially impacted as the result of this outbreak. This suspension will remain in effect until further notice. Customers having trouble paying their bill are encouraged to call 800-245-6977 to speak with a Customer Service Representative.

Kearney

The City of Kearney will not be shutting off utility services for non-payment until further notice. The City of Kearney is offering a $10.00 one-time enrollment credit and a $1.00 monthly credit to utility customers that chose to have their monthly bill paid by “Bankdraft” and chose to receive their monthly utility bill electronically. Here is the Press Release for more information regarding these credits.

Hastings

Hastings Utilities wants their residents to rest assured that there will be no disruptions to utility services. The Utility Department Disconnections of service will be suspended until April 30, and the plan will be re-evaluated at that time.

Norfolk and Scottsbluff

Black Hills Energy  To support customers who may be impacted by the nation’s response to COVID-19, Black Hills Energy is temporarily suspending nonpayment disconnections for our customers. Black Hills Energy offers various assistance options to customers such as, payment arrangements, budget billing and medical extensions. Visit www.blackhillsenergy.com for more information about these programs. Customers can also call our customer care specialists anytime at 1-888-890-5554.