FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 22, 2023
Housing advocates stressed the urgency of their policy priorities as Nevada renters struggle to make ends meet
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CARSON CITY, NV – The Nevada Housing Justice Alliance (NHJA), joined by tenants, lawmakers, and other community leaders, held a press conference outside of the Nevada Legislature.
NHJA member groups were joined by Carson City lawmakers to rally for legislation in favor of expanding tenant legal protections, reform to the summary eviction process, and neighborhood stability (a.k.a. Dillon’s Rule) to quell exorbitant hikes in the cost of rent.
Last year, rent prices in Nevada soared well above the national average. In addition, Congressional hearings on the subject of evictions have uncovered, ‘egregious’ abuses of tenant rights. The NHJA and its member groups are prioritizing legislation that address the rising costs of rent, unfair application fees and deposits, discrimination against renters based on their source of income, and end summary evictions. The event also focused on the need for local control of Neighborhood Stability.
Assemblywoman Venicia Considine said: “I am so happy to join the Nevada Housing Justice Alliance today. We all fight for the same thing – to fix the growing issue of housing insecurity in Nevada. That is why I’m sponsoring AB218 to prevent landlords from charging fees if people use a website to pay their rent and other deceptive practices. Many in Nevada can barely afford rent, much less extra fees tacked on by landlords. changes like those in AB218 make the process of paying rent more transparent and affordable. Fees and lack of transparency add to the stressors Nevadans face and it’s time we work to correct that. All Nevadans deserve access to housing without fear of undue fees or fines that may compromise that.”
Senator Pat Spearman said: “Affordable housing is a human right. Right now in Nevada, access to affordable housing is a top issue facing families across the state, including many of my constituents. Right now, according to a study at UNLV, 7 of the 10 most common jobs in Las Vegas do not earn enough to comfortably rent a studio. In Reno, it’s only 6 of the 10 most common occupations that pay well enough for a resident to comfortably afford a studio. We need to address this crisis first and foremost — Nevadans across the state need to know they can keep a roof over their families’ heads before they can do anything else.”
Assemblywoman Shondra Summers-Armstrong said: “I am thrilled to be here today alongside the Nevada Housing Justice Alliance to talk about my bill, AB340. We must do something about summary evictions. Nevada’s eviction procedures are some of the fastest in the country. This unfair process of removing someone from their home leaves renters with little chance to defend themselves. AB340 will update this eviction process to make it fair for renters. Families deserve a fair chance to defend themselves and a fighting chance to keep their homes.”
“Before the pandemic, I was renting a 3-bedroom apartment with two other roommates for $1,800. My roommates had to move back in with their parents, and my boyfriend and I also had to move back in with my parents because rent is too expensive. My hope is that one day I will be able to move out of my parent’s house, find an affordable apartment, and become a homeowner one day, but right now this path is not possible for me because I can’t find an affordable apartment,” said Melanie Arizmendi, a Culinary Union youth member & daughter of a Culinary Union guest room attendant “I’m supporting the Neighborhood Stability and other housing justice reforms being considered in the Nevada Legislature, because something has to be done to ensure young people like me can move out and be able to save up money for a down-payments towards our first-home without every paycheck going to (high and constantly) rising rent. Me and other young Nevadans deserve a chance to have a successful future.”
“The stories I’ve gathered from residents across the valley underscore the pressing need for housing reform in Nevada. As a housing organizer, I have witnessed firsthand the devastating impact of unaffordable rents, exorbitant application fees, and evictions, which have led to a rise in homelessness in our communities,” said Andy Romero, Housing Justice Organizer with Make the Road Nevada. “SB78 is a crucial step towards addressing these issues and providing much-needed transparency to those struggling to find a new home. Bills like AB176 and SB155 tackle even bigger challenges, such as addressing homelessness and ensuring that vulnerable populations, such as low-income families, single mothers, senior citizens, and young adults, have access to safe, affordable housing.”
“Nevada has some of the fastest eviction processes and weakest tenant protections in the country, which often allow for working families who are already struggling to be tossed out in the street without their day in court,” said For Our Future Nevada State Director Gariety Pruitt. “After years of organizing tenants, we’re glad to see the Nevada Legislature address issues like summary eviction reform, excessive housing fees, and the confusion between state and local governments around rent regulations. By taking these steps to correct the power imbalance between renters and landlords, we can make Nevada a place where working families can secure safe, affordable housing and thrive.”
“Last November, I was facing an emergency and needed to find stable housing quickly but it was nearly impossible to get into an apartment,” says Alex Baraza, a member of Faith in Action Nevada. I was able to find one apartment complex that wasn’t in the best area but had less expensive rent, and it was close enough to my daughter’s school. In order to just apply, they wanted me to pay a $250 holding fee in addition to the $40 application fee. That was also on top of the first and last month’s rent and security deposit too. Even with some financial assistance, I just couldn’t afford it. I’m here, today, to show my support for more tenant protections because I know the struggle that comes with all these excessive fees and application costs.”
“Today, Nevada legislators got an up close look at what tenant power looks like! Property managers, real estate corporations, and their lobbyists have spent years trying to maintain the profit-first, people-last ‘Nevada Way’ that has made housing unattainable for far too many Nevadans,” said Laura Martin, Executive Director of PLAN. “Tenants should be at the core of the decision making process. We are happy to have legislation like Senate Bill 78 move forwards because it begins to address some of the countless stories and core issues we hear from community members on a daily basis. We hope to see more of Nevadans’ concerns around housing such as rent affordability and eviction reform move forward in the coming days. Every Nevadan deserves an attainable and safe place to call home so that they and their families can begin to thrive.”
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About Nevada Housing Justice Alliance: The Nevada Housing Justice Alliance (NHJA) is a coalition of grassroots organizers and community advocates who work with Nevada tenants to develop solutions and advocate for community investments that solve the root causes of housing insecurity.
The NHJA coalition includes the following stakeholders: Make it Work Nevada, ACLU of Nevada, Battle Born Progress, Culinary Union Local 226, Faith in Action Nevada, For Our Future Nevada, Las Vegas DSA, Make the Road Nevada, Nevada Homeless Alliance, Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, and the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.