DISCLAIMER: The information provided by Legal Aid of Nebraska is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely upon this information in regard to you and your unique circumstances. You should always consult with an attorney regarding the laws and your rights. As the COVID-19 public health situation changes and evolves, different branches of our government will continue to issue new laws and regulations. While Legal Aid of Nebraska strives to keep the information on this page up to date, the information provided here may change on a day-to-day basis.

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Tenants Overview

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If You Rent From a Private Landlord

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

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The Federal CARES Act and Evictions in Nebraska

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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?

The Governor’s Order:

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.

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.

I heard there was a new federal law that stops evictions, is this true?

Yes, but only for some tenants, not all tenants. The Federal CARES Act protects tenants from eviction for non-payment of rent but only for those that live in a property that receives a federal subsidy or federal financing. Please see Legal Aid information sheet about the Federal CARES Act and Evictions in Nebraska below.

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

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?

NO. 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.

The Federal CARES Act and Evictions in Nebraska

On March 27, 2020, the president signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) into law.  The CARES Act provides some tenants with immediate protections.  One of the protections is a federal moratorium, also known as a temporary ban, on evictions for tenants who live in certain types of housing.  For more details on the CARES Act and how it impacts tenants, you can visit: National Housing Law Project’s Summary and Analysis of Federal CARES Act and Eviction Moratorium.

    This information is meant to provide a broad overview of how the federal act affects Nebraskan tenants. 

    NOTE: The CARES Act does not stop all evictions for all tenants.

    What is a moratorium? 

    A moratorium is a temporary ban of a certain activity.  In this case, the CARES Act restricts landlords of certain “covered properties” from filing new eviction actions for non-payment of rent for 120 days. 

    What does this mean for me?

    If you live in a covered property, your landlord cannot file a new eviction action against you for failure to pay rent starting from March 27, 2020 and continuing until July 25, 2020. 

    What if my landlord already filed an action against me before March 27, 2020?

    The CARES Act does not stop or affect any pre-existing action for eviction.

    What if my landlord sent me a 7 Day Notice before March 27, 2020?

    If your landlord sent you a written 7 Day Notice prior to March 27, 2020 and has not yet filed an action for eviction, the CARES Act applies to you if you live in a covered property. 

    What are covered properties?

    The CARES Act eviction moratorium only applies to four types of properties.

    • Federal housing rental programs covered by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA);
    • Properties that participate in the rural housing voucher program;
    • Properties with federally back mortgage loans; and
    • Properties with federally back multifamily mortgage loans.

    How do I know if the CARES Act covers my housing?

    The CARES Act protects housing that receives a federal subsidy or federal financing.  If you live in public housing, Section 202 housing for the elderly, Section 811 housing for people with disabilities, or rural rental housing, then your housing is covered.  If you receive a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, USDA housing voucher, or VA voucher, your housing is also covered. 

    The CARES Act also protects housing where the property owner receives low-income housing tax credits or has a federally backed mortgage loan for single or multifamily units. 

    As a tenant, it will be difficult for you to know if your landlord has a federally backed mortgage.  It is the landlord’s responsibility to prove to the court that their housing does not have a federally backed mortgage.  However, you may have to remind the court of that. 

    My housing is not considered a covered property, does the CARES Act stop my landlord for evicting me for failure to pay rent?

    No, the CARES Act does not apply to properties, which are not covered.  However, Governor Rickett’s Executive Order 20-07 might apply to your situation. For more information, you can visit our page on Information for Tenants,

    I live in a covered property, but my landlord is evicting me for something else, am I protected?

    The CARES Act only protects evictions related to the non-payment of rent.  If your landlord is alleging a breach of the rental agreement for someone other reason, the CARES Act may not protect you.  If you are unsure of your rights, contact Legal Aid of Nebraska or an attorney for guidance. 

    How long does the CARES Act protect me?

    The CARES Act’s protections began on March 27, 2020 and extend for 120 days, Saturday, July 25, 2020. 

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