LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A Las Vegas family packed their bags and were forced to leave their home after they say they didn’t do enough when applying for financial aid.
The eviction notice that was placed on their door Monday morning said Terry Martinez and his family had less than 24 hours to be out of the building.
Frustrated, angry, and desperate are just a few of the emotions Martinez says he experienced when he received this letter.
“I stopped paying rent because I didn’t have any money, I didn’t have any money at all,” Martinez explained. “I didn’t get unemployment, could never get into the unemployment line to call them and tell them the situation.”
Martinez applied for the Clark County CARES Housing Assistance Program, also known as CHAP, in February. He received multiple emails from CHAP, but he says he never followed up and wasn’t given clear direction.
“They never told me anything, I never got any information from the courts or from the landlord. The landlord doesn’t talk to me, call me, or text me.”
Martinez is currently 9 months behind on rent with a debt of more than $6,500.
Taylor Altman a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada says Martinez could have prevented this with the right help.
“What is really important is once a tenant files an application with one of these rental assistance agencies, that they follow up.”
She says it is not just a one-step process. Tenants must do their part to make sure they avoid getting evicted.
“Maybe a caseworker was assigned but they didn’t get back to him or her with all the required documents in the right period of time, so the application was denied”
Altman says under Assembly Bill 486, tenants can get out of eviction if they have proof of a pending rental assistance application. She says tenants in rental debt should also come to an agreement with the landlord while they find a way to get financial help.
If you or someone you know is facing financial challenges and are struggling to pay rent, Altman says the Legal Aid center of Southern Nevada is happy to help.
Click here to visit the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.