LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- State and local officials are urging tenants to protect themselves from evictions for nonpayment of rent.
Gov. Steve Sisolak on Wednesday addressed Nevadans via livestream ahead of the end of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction moratorium on July 31. Nevada's eviction moratorium ended on May 31.
"As the pandemic has changed and evolved, so has our approach to the moratorium. We've been building out rental assistance programs with state and county partners, mediation programs with the court system, and most recently by partnering with the Nevada Legislature to create a so-called 'glide path' for evictions," Sisolak said.
The governor mentioned Assembly Bill 486 passed by the Nevada Legislature, which aims to keep tenants in homes by paying landlords directly with $360 million in federal assistance. The law says if a tenant has a pending application for CARES Housing Assistance Program (CHAP), a court can stay the eviction proceeding.
"This legislation helps ensure that qualified tenants who are awaiting rental assistance applications to be processed, can be protected from eviction for nonpayment of rent," Sisolak said. "We have plenty of rental assistance available through funds from the federal government, and there are dedicated people at all levels of government working to process those payments as quickly as possible, directly through landlords on behalf of the tenants."
The president of Home Means Nevada, the nonprofit vendor heading the state's eviction mediation program, said landlords and tenants must take action to access rental assistance funds, otherwise they cannot avail themselves of protection under the law.
"The key point to remember is that rental assistance still runs through the tenant. So while AB 486 offers additional options for landlords, the process must start with the tenant," said Shannon Chambers, president of Home Means Nevada.
Chambers emphasized that tenants must fill out an application for rental assistance, in order to for the law to apply. Applications for rental assistance are available on the Nevada Housing Division website.
Applications for rental assistance for landlords will open on Aug. 1, Chambers added, which will allow landlords the same eviction protection as tenants under Assembly Bill 486.
“Communication is key right now,” said Susy Vasquez, executive director of the Nevada State Apartment Association.
Vasquez said people worried about evictions need to talk to their landlords as soon as possible. Vasquez explained some people have not been paying rent and not telling their landlords why. Consequently, she said she expects landlords to pursue evictions and expects to see many more homes on the market soon.
“I don’t anticipate a tsunami of evictions come July 31 or August 1 but certainly, we do need to start looking forward and making some tough choices that probably some people don’t want to make,” Vasquez said.
Clark County Assistant Manager Kevin Schiller said the county is processing 800 to 1,000 CHAP applications per week, and has added 350 staff to address a backlog of applications. In May, the county said 9,000 applications were pending with some tenants waiting months for their applications to be processed.
"Since June 2020, Clark County has distributed $165 million serving about 90,000 households between utility assistance and rental assistance," Schiller said.
Schiller said Clark County landlords can call 702-455-4071 to reach the landlord portal to expedite payments of rent through the CHAP program. He also said Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada has resources for tenants and can be reached at 702-386-1079.
The full press conference with Gov. Sisolak is available here: