The Clark County (Nevada) Commission unanimously passed emergency protections for renters impacted by the coronavirus. The ordinance, passed on August 4 after being introduced and championed by Commissioner Justin Jones, prevents landlords from discriminating against renters based on their source of income or if they have experienced a coronavirus-related eviction. Protections will remain in place through the end of 2020.
Renters with previous evictions and those receiving housing assistance often have difficulty finding landlords who will rent to them. These barriers to stable housing are expected to be exacerbated by the coming wave of evictions. Nevada’s statewide eviction moratorium is set to expire on September 1, and rental assistance programs are having a hard time keeping up with the volume of requests they are receiving. A study by the Guinn Center for Policy Priorities estimates that 250,000 households are at risk of eviction in Clark County alone, which includes Las Vegas. Commissioner Jones introduced the emergency ordinance in July to address renters’ concerns about finding stable housing during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors and the Las Vegas Apartment Association testified against the ordinance, while others—including some people directly impacted—testified in support. The Nevada Homeless Alliance supported Commissioner Jones’ efforts by leading a sign-on letter, advocacy on social media, and mobilization of directly impacted people. The final bill excludes landlords with only one rental unit, and it expires on December 31, with the option to extend if needed. It received unanimous support from the Commission.
“The economic crisis we are facing is driving many people to look for more affordable housing,” said Emily Paulsen, executive director of the Nevada Homeless Alliance. “Discriminatory practices such as requiring income from employment will leave people reliant on unemployment benefits and housing subsidies in the streets.” Ms. Paulson says she would like to see this ordinance become permanent and statewide.
For more information about the Nevada Homeless Alliance, visit: www.nevadahomelessalliance.org