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Know your rights when it comes to rent hikes

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Posted at 5:06 PM, Jan 12, 2022

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Everything seems like it's more expensive these days, but the cost hitting many valley residents the hardest is the soaring price of rent. 13 Action News anchor Tricia Kean spoke with one local woman facing a nearly $600 rate hike.

"I was absolutely livid. Just livid," says renter Cathy Sostaric.

She recently came home to a notice on her door. Sostaric currently pays more than $1,100 a month for her one-bedroom apartment near U.S. 95 and Russell Road. But after March, her rent is going up — way up.

"I couldn't even think straight. I really couldn't," Sostaric said.

That's because if she wants to continue living here, she'll have to pay an extra $590 per month.

"I understand the market. I totally get that. I totally understand things are going to go up and rent does go up," Sostaric said. "But that's just too much of an increase, too fast."

IS IT LEGAL?

So Sostaric reached out to 13 Action News. She wants to know, "Is this even legal?"

"There are no rent control laws in Nevada. Landlords are able to increase the rent to as much as the market will bear," said Taylor Altman, an attorney with the Consumer Rights Project for the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.

She says Sostraic isn't alone.

"There are lots of renters that we're hearing from all over the valley who have been telling us that their landlords are raising rent," Altman said.

WRITTEN NOTICE

The good news is landlords can't raise the rent during your lease. They must provide a 60-day notice if they plan to increase rent once the lease is up.

A 60-day notice is also required for month-to-month renters, and week-to-week tenants must get at least 30 days written notice.

"If someone is really struggling to pay their rent, there is help out there," Altman said. "There's rental assistance. For example, there's the CHAP program."

CHAP, or CARES Housing Assistance Program, provides up to 15 months of back rent for tenants struggling to pay rent due to pandemic-related hardships.

NEGOTIATE

"Another thing they (tenants) can do is, of course, negotiate," Altman said. "Especially emphasize that they've been a good tenant for a number of years, paid rent on time. You know, make a case for themselves."

Altman says the other thing you should do is write to your local representatives about creating rent control laws in Nevada.

As for Sostaric, she spoke with her property management, but they're not lowering their rent hike.

"I don't want to leave. I don't," Sostaric said.

"But you're going to have to move?" Kean asked her.

"I'm going to have to move, yeah," Sostaric said. "At least if I buy my own place, no one can raise my monthly mortgage."

LEGAL AID

If you have questions regarding evictions, tenant rights or housing issues, contact the Legal Aid Center at 702-386-1070.

You can also visit the Civil Law Self Help Center at the Regional Justice Center at 200 Lewis Avenue for assistance with any tenant-landlord issue, including eviction and questions about rent increases.