LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Many Las Vegas residents struggling to pay their rent or mortgage are worried about being forced out of their homes, especially as the end of the month nears and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's evictions moratorium is set to expire.
Therefore, the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada has partnered with Las Vegas-Clark County Library District to provide free legal help.
Several residents showed up on Saturday to one of the designated library branches hosting a pop-up clinic.
"I’m afraid that my landlord is going to evict me," said Dawn, a concerned resident. "I haven't been able to get work, even though I've applied many times. "
"It's just picking up here in Las Vegas," she said, "So hopefully it won't be too long, but in the meantime, there is a lot of back rent.“
Dawn applied for rental assistance through the Cares Housing And Assistance Program, also known as CHAP, and while she’s waiting for an answer, she got a good one during the pop-up clinic about her case.
Last week Gov. Steve Sisolak signed Assembly Bill 486 into law, which could keep many residents in their homes, like Dawn.
It says that if you applied for rental assistance and you're just waiting, that is going to marry into the eviction process. So, did you notify the court? if you get an eviction notice, you notify the court that you are waiting for CHAP and it will pause the eviction process to let that application be processed and ideally, get the money payout," said Jim Berchtold with Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.
Getting an answer from the court is also fundamental once you get an eviction notice.
While every situation is different, experts say the most important thing is to be proactive.
There are steps that tenants, who receive an eviction notice, can take to protect their rights:
- File the Tenant Answer or risk getting an eviction order. Tenants can access the online answer form from the safety of their homes without going to court. Las Vegas residents can also e-file from the comfort of home.
- Request mediation. Free mediation is available, but tenants must elect it when they fill out the Tenant Answer form. Be sure to attend court hearings and mediation dates.
- Apply for CARES Housing Assistance Program (CHAP). If you’ve already applied, check your CHAP account, and make sure your information is updated and complete.
- Give your landlord a CDC declaration if you haven’t done this already.
The Legal Aid Center created a video with step-by-step instructions on how to prepare the Tenant Answer online. The video is available at lacsn.org/efilevideo.
Tenants at risk of eviction can contact the Legal Aid Center at 702-386-1070 or visit civillawselfhelpcenter.org for more information.