I-Team: Tensions between Las Vegas valley landlords, tenants rise

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — While tenants are facing an eviction crisis, the owner of a property management company says some landlords are facing a crisis of their own. They’re finding properties trashed and damaged after tenants are kicked out.

“What other business is vilified for trying to stay in business? Yet property managers are. Owners are,” expressed Derek Moellinger, owner of Vice Realty, a property management company.

He says he manages about 650 units throughout the Las Vegas valley. Moellinger tells the I-Team that damaged property is a frequent problem.

“We don’t just file a piece of paper, kick someone out because we don’t like them,” he said.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new eviction ban through Oct. 3. However, a previous Supreme Court ruling indicated that only congress could extend it past last Saturday’s deadline.

The announcement adds more confusion this week about whether the eviction moratorium has ended or not. If it ends, Moellinger estimates he’ll soon be locking out tenants in 20 units for unpaid rent.

It’s something he says could be prevented if tenants applied for rental assistance.

“They don’t want it because they see it as us against them, and it’s really not that way,” Moellinger explained. “We have a symbiotic relationship. I need tenants. Tenants need me.”

While evictions are expected to increase, rent in Southern Nevada is also going up. The I-Team first contacted Moellinger after meeting one of his tenants, Tommie Wesley, on Monday. The resident told the I-Team his rent was raised by $275, which the landlord confirms.

We asked how Moellinger can justify that increase, to which he replied:

“Same way the gas station goes from $2.43 in January to $4.11 today. Same way Home Depot charges $70 dollars for a sheet of plywood now, and it used to be in the teens. Same way when I got to the grocery store, prices went up.”

He says in many cases, he is willing to work with tenants, like Wesley, by giving them another month at the old rate. He also says he has obligations to the landlords he represents.

“They’re trying to make a living. Some of them count on this for their retirement,” he shared. “Some of them, yes, they have a bunch of units, and this is a business for them. The majority of people, it’s not that.”

Moellinger says at the end of the day, he just wants the rent money, whether it’s from rental assistance or directly from tenants.

Clark County reports that 9,000 applications for rental assistance are still pending. Currently, they are making it through about 800 to 1,000 applications a week. It’s important to note, that if a tenant applies for rental assistance, they cannot be kicked out of their current living space.

Moellinger says he is frustrated with how slow the process is going.

Listed below are several resources for those facing eviction or in need of rental assistance.

Civil Law Self-help center information:

  • WHO: Tenants and Landlords
  • WHAT: Free legal aid due to evictions
  • WHERE: Civil Law Self Help Center – Regional Justice Center, 200 Lewis Ave. (Downtown Las Vegas)
  • WHEN: Mon.-Thurs., 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Fri., 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Other helpful resources:

  • Legal Aid Southern Nevada: (702)-386-1070, website information click here.
  • Clark County CARES Housing Assistance Program: website information click here.

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