LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Landlords expected to return to normal operations when the state and federal eviction moratorium expired, but delay after delay stemmed their ability to get paying renters into delinquent units.
The federal moratorium is set to end on Aug. 1, but normal operations are still far off on the horizon thanks to actions by Gov. Steve Sisolak and the Nevada Legislature.
Nevada State Apartment Association Director Susy Vasquez said even though courts have already processed many eviction filings, the potential tidal wave of lockouts wouldn't come all at once.
"What we're really going to be facing are all of the people who have been evicted, but the lockout hasn't happened yet," she said.
Vasquez said the end of the moratorium would be a laborious process for property owners.
She said for every eviction the courts would need to alert constables, constables would need to do the lockouts with limited resources, and limited conversation between tenants and landlords late in the pandemic would force property owners to determine which units were vacated early or still needed locked out before they could renovate or repair an apartment in preparation for a new paying tenant to move in.
"I'm sure that it will take some time for us to be able to recover," Vaquez said.
A new law signed by Gov. Steve Sisolak could delay the process even further.
The law allows a renter to petition a court and stay an eviction if they have applied for federal rental assistance and are waiting for approval or payout.
"You notify the court that you're waiting for CHAP, and it will pause the eviction process to let that be paid for," said Legal Aid Center representative Jim Berchtold.
Vasquez said the main problem with the law was that renters were under no obligation to tell their landlords if they've applied for rental assistance or what the status of their application is without being forced through the eviction process.
"Everyone has to understand that, from a landlord's perspective, the only way for us to truly find out what the status is of this tenant's rental application is to file an eviction," she said.
Another new law pushed by Assemblyman Howard Watts could make the process of vetting new tenants less transparent for property owners.
The law automatically seals all eviction records related to non-payment of rent caused by the pandemic.
Watts said the law was designed to help people find new homes and avoid a cycle of homeless-related poverty.
"Evictions are often the result of poverty, but they are also a cause of poverty," Watts said.
Vasquez said the NSAA normally has a payment delinquency rate of 2%.
She said, during the worst period of the pandemic, delinquency hit 16% and only recently dropped to roughly one in ten renters unable to make their rent payments.