Consumer rights

Know your rights regarding rent increases

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Everything seems more expensive these days, but the cost that hits many Valley residents hardest is skyrocketing rents. 13 Action News anchor Tricia Kean spoke to a local woman facing a nearly $600 rate hike.

“I was absolutely livid. Just livid,” says tenant Cathy Sostaric.

She recently came home with a notice on her door.

She currently pays over $1,100 a month for her one-bedroom apartment near US 95 and Russell Road. But after March, his rent goes up – very high.

“I couldn’t even think straight. I really couldn’t,” Sostaric said.

This is because if she wants to continue living here, she will have to pay an extra $590 per month.

“I understand the market. I completely understand that. I completely understand that things are going to go up and rents go up,” Sostaric said. “But it’s just too much increase, too fast.”

IS IT LEGAL?

So Cathy contacted 13 Action News. She wants to know, “is it even legal?”

“There are no rent control laws in Nevada. Landlords can raise the rent until the market supports it,” said Taylor Altman, consumer rights project attorney for the center. Southern Nevada Legal Aid.

She says Sostraic is not alone.

“There are a lot of tenants we hear from all over the Valley who have told us their landlords are raising rents,” Altman said.

WRITTEN NOTICE

The good news is that landlords can’t raise the rent while you’re on the lease. They must provide 60 days notice if they plan to increase the rent after the lease expires.

Sixty days notice is also required for month-to-month tenants, and weekly tenants must be given at least 30 days written notice.

“If someone is really struggling to pay their rent, there’s help out there,” Altman said. “There’s rental assistance. For example, there’s the CHAP program.”

CHAP, or CARES Housing Assistance Program, provides up to 15 months of back rent to tenants who are struggling to pay their rent due to pandemic-related hardship.

TO NEGOTIATE

“Another thing they (the tenants) can do is, of course, negotiate,” Altman said. “Especially emphasize that they’ve been good tenants for several years, paid their rent on time. You know, show off.”

Altman says the other thing you should do is write to your local officials about creating rent control laws in Nevada.

As for Sostaric, she has spoken with her property management, but they are not reducing their rent hike.

“I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to,” Sostaric said.

“But are you going to have to move? Kean asked him.

“I will have to move, yes,” Sostaric said. “At least if I buy my own house, nobody can increase my monthly mortgage.”

LEGAL AID

If you have questions about evictions, tenant rights, or housing issues, contact the Legal Support Center at 702-386-1070.

You can also visit the Civil Law Self Help Center at the Regional Justice Center at 200 Lewis Avenue for help with any tenant-landlord issues, including eviction and questions about rent increases.