It is no surprise to most that the worldwide pandemic wreaked havoc upon the summary eviction process as we knew it. The Las Vegas Justice Court is the jurisdiction for nearly 75 percent of the entire state’s summary eviction case filings. Historically, the court has hovered around 30,000 summary eviction cases per fiscal year, increasing to 32,810 eviction cases in fiscal year 2019 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019). Though filings decreased in fiscal year 2020 to 21,260 and increased only slightly to 24,288 in fiscal year 2021, we are on pace to close out fiscal year 2022 with approximately 45,000 summary eviction cases.
Over the past two years, all branches of government have had a hand in attempting to solve what some may deem an eviction crisis. At the state level, ever-changing Governor’s directives, a judicially-created mandatory mediation program, and a legislative bill regarding affirmative defenses to summary eviction actions have all altered the processing of a summary eviction action. At the federal level, CDC orders, Supreme Court opinions regarding the constitutionality of the CDC orders, and Congressional acts that provided rental assistance funding have also changed the summary eviction landscape. The end result has proven confusing to landlords, tenants, and lawyers alike and has had a significant impact on the administration of the Court Clerk’s Office.
While Nevada has been nationally recognized for its streamlined approach to processing rental assistance applications and has put millions of dollars into the hands of landlords curing defaulted rent and stabilizing housing for thousands of tenants, the reality is those dollars are dwindling and may be exhausted in the near future. In the meantime, availability of rental housing has become scarce and supply chain issues and labor shortages have delayed or prevented construction. The Las Vegas Justice Court is committed to tackling these issues for fiscal year 2023 and beyond.
In an effort to address this dynamic problem, the Las Vegas Justice Court has embarked upon a collaboration with community stakeholders to develop an eviction diversion program that would bring together landlords, tenants, and services in a single coordinated effort. This partnership includes representatives from Home Means Nevada mediation, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Legal Aid of Southern Nevada, Nevada REALTORS®, Nevada Apartment Association, Clark County Social Services, Supreme Court of Nevada, nonprofit organizations, and the Governor’s office. More to come as this new program develops!
About this article: This article was originally published in the Communiqué, the official publication of the Clark County Bar Association, (June/July 2022). See https://clarkcountybar.org/member-benefits/communique-2022/communique-june-july-2022/.
About the author
Judge Melissa Saragosa was appointed to Las Vegas Justice Court Department 4 in 2006.
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