What’s the Impact in Nevada of an End to the Eviction Moratorium?
On August 1, the federal eviction moratorium expired. Nevada lifted its moratorium in May. On August 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new moratorium for areas experiencing a rapid increase in COVID cases amid a surge in infections from the delta variant.
As reported in the Reno Gazette Journal, a loss of eviction protections is expected to cause a ripple effect in Nevada, one of the states hit hardest by the impact of COVID-19. Susan Fisher, Senior Vice President of McDonald Carano’s Government Affairs & Advocacy Group, and Mackenzie Warren, an attorney and Vice President of the Government Affairs & Advocacy Group, shared their insights and observations in an August 5 news article titled “Nevada evictions expected to spike as uncertainty surrounds federal eviction moratorium.” Please click here to read the August 5 article. In an August 16 Reno Gazette Journal article titled “Average rent in Reno-Sparks just broke past $1,600 for first time,” Mackenzie also noted that “The moratorium is driving rental prices up … by keeping people in homes and creating a false occupancy. An apartment community might be at 100% occupancy but that’s not economically accurate because a landlord may have units available once the moratorium lifts.”
As Susan and Mackenzie explained in the August 5 article:
- The problem is compounded by technical issues as the state’s systems are overwhelmed by a large number of applications for rental assistance. Such delays not only affect tenants who need financial help but can also have a domino effect on the court system as it deals with a large number of eviction cases. “Nevada is not equipped with the technology to handle the rash of evictions and applications for rental assistance,” said Mackenzie Warren, a lawyer and vice president of the McDonald Carano law firm’s government affairs and advocacy group. “It really comes down to state resources.”
- But there are two eviction stories unfolding in Clark and Washoe counties. The dichotomy between the northern and southern parts of the state is reflected in the processing of rental assistance. Such assistance is important not just for tenants but also landlords who ultimately receive the money as payment. Susan Fisher, a McDonald Carano lobbyist who represents the Nevada State Apartment Association, confirmed that the group’s members are facing more challenges in Clark County. While the Reno Housing Authority has done a good job in processing applications quickly, the story is different in Southern Nevada. “It’s definitely worse in Clark County,” Fisher said. “Obviously, there aren’t as many people in Northern Nevada but Clark County has really been struggling to get rental assistance dollars out.”
- Lawyer Warren also adds that the delays in processing rental assistance is spilling over into Southern Nevada courts. The courts need rental assistance applications to be vetted in order to make accurate decisions on eviction cases but the delays are leading to a larger backlog. “There’s a high burden to vet applications,” Warren said. “No one can vet as fast as these dollars need to move.”
- Representatives of the apartment industry stressed that evictions are always a last resort. The industry works with the state to find ways to make rental assistance approvals go faster, Warren With the exception of problem tenants, working with renters is also the preferred route for landlords faced with delinquent clients. “Landlords do not make money evicting our residents,” Warren said. “It takes time and money on our end and there’s also the work involved in filling that unit. But eviction is a necessary tool for us when an impasse has been reached and a tenant is no longer financially able to afford (their rent).”
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