LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The pandemic and ensuing unemployment created a lot of questions for many people on how they’re going to pay rent. The research from the Guinn Center shows the potential number of Nevadans struggling to pay rent could be well into the hundreds of thousands in the near future.
How to pay rent? The question has been on the mind of many tenants during the pandemic. Research from the Guinn Center paints a concerning picture showing between 272,000 and 327,000 Nevadans could struggle to pay their rent by September of this year when the state’s residential eviction moratorium is lifted.
“It isn’t surprising because of cash flow issues that we would see something like this, but the numbers are still quite high.”
Meredith Levine, the director of economic policy at the Guinn Center says low-income and people of color are some of the most vulnerable. That’s because people of color make up a big part of the local hospitality industry, which has been hit hard financially by the pandemic. She explains the cash flow issue comes in different forms from unexpected medical expenses or benefits from sources like unemployment insurance being delayed or not enough.
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“There’s been a backlog and issues with an old legacy system that hasn’t been available for processing,” she said.
The Guinn Center suggested some short-term actions for lawmakers to consider such as suspending late fees on rent and establishing a mediation program for tenants and landlords. It’s something attorney Thomas Fell says is a good idea. He is already seeing landlords and tenants make deals.
“Everyone seems to be aware of the crisis this pandemic has caused, whether it’s the unemployment or the shutdown and everything about it,” he said.
Levine says the center’s report could compel lawmakers to take action.
“Certainly, there might be an opportunity with the illumination of this potential crisis to address that as a policy concern," she said.