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Legal Aid Center defending Las Vegas renter in case of 427% rent increase

The Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada is defending a Las Vegas renter who received a notice demanding daily "rent" would increase $6,400.
Published: Feb. 24, 2022 at 3:06 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada is defending a Las Vegas renter who received a notice demanding daily “rent” would increase $6,400 to total $7,890 a month.

The total monthly fees would amount to a 427% rent raise.

There is no rent control in Nevada.

The Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada is fighting the circumstances surrounding claims of amounts owed, lease terms and timelines, and the eviction notice.

The landlord’s family and property manager, who FOX5 is not naming, said in a statement: “The rent is whatever we want to deem it...If a tenant doesn’t want to pay what is being asked in order to rent a property, they don’t have to rent it. No one is obligating anyone to rent a property they cannot afford.”

The property is in the area of Hualapai and Desert Inn Road. A “Zillow” search for the single-story, three-bedroom home suggests a potential rent of $2,100.

According to documents from the tenant and the landlord’s relative and property manager, rent was previously $1,495 plus fees. The owners sent a increase of rent notice from November onward, raising the lease terms from to $3,950 plus fees.

According to the landlord and property manager’s statements and emails, daily “holdover” fee for anyone residing at the property past their lease would be $263 a day. In a 30-day month, fees would skyrocket to $7,890 a month.

“I laughed out loud. I knew it wasn’t a joke. But in your head, you’re like, “This has got to be a joke. Who does this? How does this happen?” the tenant said. The tenant has been trying to leave the property, but is in the same predicament as thousands of other Nevadans: low inventory, steep rent prices, and no limits on fees for applications under Nevada state law.

“I know that there are thousands of people here in Las Vegas dealing with significant increases that they can’t afford,” he said.

The tenant fell behind on rent, and the landlord ordered an eviction notice in December. The tenant applied for CHAP, federal housing aid through Clark County, shortly after.

A new Nevada state law passed in 2021′s special session creates a stay on evictions after a tenant applies for CHAP.

According to the tenant, officials with Clark County referred them to contact Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada. The assigned attorney plans to fight the landlord’s claims of rent and fees owed.

“I would argue the provision doubling the rent is unconscionable... Certainly, this was a unilateral decision by the landlord. [The tenant] couldn’t agree to that amount of money and it would be unreasonable to do so,” said Nick Haley, the tenant’s attorney.

The amount CHAP has offered is also being disputed by the landlord. According to the property manager, she argues that CHAP is not honoring the terms of the lease she presented with a 60-day notice to the tenant.

“CHAP can pay the increased rent based on the actual lease terms. It’s really a shame CHAP is the reason for causing all of these problems when they’re supposed to be here helping,” a statement to FOX5 read.

According to documents, a CHAP representative e-mailed the tenant, stating that the landlord “is refusing CHAP” and a monthly payment by the federal program of $3,070.

In previously signed lease documents, which the landlord argues is not the current lease, “During a holdover not authorized by the landlord, rent shall increase by 100%.”

The landlord’s relative tells FOX5, the ultimate goal is to move the owner back into the home. “The Landlord is an elderly senior citizen… It’s been made clear to the Tenant that we need the property back. This is about the health and wellbeing of an elderly lady going blind, who just wants to move back into a house she owns,” the relative said in a statement.

The eviction hearing for the case is Thursday morning.