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No rush at Las Vegas area courthouses after eviction moratorium expires

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Posted at 4:49 PM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 00:01:51-04

LAS VEGAS, NV (KTNV) — Now that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's moratorium on evictions is over, the Constable can start locking out tenants who don't pay rent. What does that mean for the thousands in Las Vegas who are at risk of losing their homes?

For the past several months, 13 Investigates has been hearing from renters fearing eviction while they're still waiting on unemployment back pay and Cares Act Housing Assistance money.

We've also heard from agencies, advocates and courts bracing for a possible surge of evictions.

But there was no tidal wave today--the first business day since the federal freeze on evictions expired.

To be clear, landlords in Nevada have been able to start the process and file evictions for non-payment of rent since the state moratorium ended two months ago. The CDC hold prevented actual lockouts.

Las Vegas Justice Court Chief Judge Melissa Saragosa said Monday, her staff is seeing business as usual at the courthouse. And the same goes for North Las Vegas Justice Court.

In pre-pandemic years, Las Vegas Justice Court saw about 30,000 eviction cases every year--an average of 2500 per month.

There was a recent spike in June with just over 3726 immediately following the end of the state moratorium.

But new cases went back down last month to 2994, closer to pre-pandemic numbers.

By lunchtime Monday, Las Vegas Justice Court had helped 110 people in person. Only three were waiting in the lobby. So they didn't see a rush downtown. Tenants have until August 10 to file answers to eviction notices or complaints filed Monday.

The chief judge is taking the recent numbers as a positive sign. She's hopeful it means people are applying for rental assistance and landlords are participating in the process set forth by AB486, which could slow evictions because landlords have to wait to see if rental assistance is granted to tenants and if so, they must take the money and hold off on filing for eviction.

We also reached out to the constable's office to ask what they're hearing from landlords and how many lockouts they're doing since this is the first day that's allowed. They tell us activity was normal Monday with no surge in evictions.

As for the courts, county officials, Nevada Legal Services, Legal Aid Center, and property managers, they're all saying there's no way to predict how this will play out, but the coming months will be telling. We will continue to keep you updated.

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