LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Evictions in Clark County – both applications filed and granted – are creeping up in the months since tenants with pending rental assistance applications no longer receive protection from the courts, new data obtained by the 8 News Now Investigators reveals.
After much debate over several such programs in the 2023 legislative session – which kept intact certain protections but couldn’t save others from Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo’s vetoes – tenants now must enter eviction court exposed to many of the harsher pre-COVID rules that often allow tenants to summarily remove tenants who don’t pay.
Since the start of COVID, landlords had a lot of trouble getting rid of tenants who don’t pay. But over the last few weeks, that’s changed.
It was 25-year-old Imani Robinson’s lucky day. Months behind in her rent and late to her hearing, Robinson was at the mercy of the Clark County Eviction Court hearing master Amy Ferreira.
“I am going to allow her to come and participate in the proceeding,” Ferreira decided.
That proceeding could have spelled the end for Robinson and her two children’s stay in their apartment. However, her landlord agreed to let her stay because she has a rental assistance application pending.
The landlord didn’t have to do that — especially since the COVID rule expired.
“There is no requirement that a landlord wait on a pending rental assistance application because that particular legislation expired,” Ferreira said. However, Robinson’s landlord is willing to wait for that rental assistance to kick in. It’s a second chance for Robinson.
The Legislature gave $100 million to a homeless program, but that doesn’t help people before they end up on the streets.
And Robinson was sure she would be thrown out.
She wouldn’t be alone. Last month, eviction filings in Clark County increased to more than 4,200, up from 4,084 in July. And the number of evictions granted also increased to almost 3,200, up from 2,954 in July.
Lately, if you don’t pay your rent and you don’t provide a legal excuse, the court will not hear your excuses.
“While the court certainly is sympathetic for those particular life circumstances I’m just not allowed to base my decision on that,” Ferreira said.
That means Imani Robinson might not be so lucky next time if things don’t work out with her rental application.
“I’m nervous because I don’t know what my next steps will be,” Robinson said.
Protections still exist for seniors and people with disabilities. And if you have a valid reason for not paying, you’re less likely to get evicted.
Nevada also has a rule that requires the person evicted to file the first legal paperwork to stop the eviction process. It’s the only state in the country that makes the tenant file first. A bill that would have flipped that process was vetoed by Lombardo.