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Court-granted evictions increase as CHAP applicants ignore landlords’ notices, expert says

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Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 9:10 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- This month marks one year since the Nevada housing division received $124 million to provide temporary rental and housing assistance through the CARES Housing Assistance Program, better known as CHAP.

But housing experts say one critical mistake is leading to many being evicted.

That mistake? Not answering to an eviction notice.

“It’s very important for tenants to understand that when they are served an eviction notice, they have to respond to it,” said Elizabeth Carmona, directing attorney for Nevada Legal Services. “Even if they’ve applied for CHAP funding, even if they have the most solid defense to the eviction notice, they still have to protect themselves and follow that timely tenants affidavit. By doing that, they are preserving their right to a hearing.”

After receiving an eviction notice, Carmona said your best protection is to immediately file an affidavit to set up an eviction hearing so you can defend yourself.

She said many times people will ignore their eviction notice, ultimately leading to their eviction.

“It’s very common. Unfortunately tenants here in Nevada don’t understand our backwards system, but you have to protect yourself.”

This is a misconception she’s seen frequently across the valley, but she said it’s important to remember that setting up a hearing is your chance to win your case.

“By failing to follow a response, or failing to timely file a response, the court can essentially grant the eviction,” said Carmona.

There has been a rise in eviction cases across the valley after eviction moratoriums were lifted last year, Carmona said. Pre-pandemic, she said court hearings would normally require one to three days to be scheduled.

Now, she said it takes one to two weeks, likely due to the influx of cases.

According to Clark County Social Services’ website, “If your landlord gives you an eviction notice, you must file an answer in the Justice Court. If you do not file an answer, your landlord can evict you even if you have applied for rental assistance. When you file the answer, tell the Justice Court that you have applied for rental assistance and request mediation. This is the only way to protect yourself. Free forms and help are available at the Civil Law Self-Help Center, 200 Lewis Ave., Las Vegas, inside the Regional Justice Center or online at www.civillawselfhelpcenter.org.”

Click here to view tenants rights forms, including an affidavit for nonpayment of rent with a mediation request, on Nevada Legal Services’ website.