11 May 2023
In the continued battle over rent control in Nevada, Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D-Las Vegas) presented AB289 to the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Monday, which passed out of the Assembly with bipartisan support last month after heavy amendments.
The policy seeks to add additional protections for renters over the age of 62 or for those living on Social Security. The bill would require landlords to return application fees to applicants who were not selected and screened for an apartment but still applied, and cap rent increases at 10 percent of the resident’s rent in effect on June 30, 2023, until December 31, 2024.
The policy would also mandate that landlords share explicit details about the qualifications for application approval and an itemized list of application fees, so those seeking housing are only charged the costs that the landlord or business actually spends on screening. Representatives from the Culinary Union, Legal Aid Center, Seniors Coalition of Washoe County, Nevadans for the Common Good and the Nevada Realtors Association testified in support of the policy.
Sen. Scott Hammond (R-Las Vegas) and other Republican senators on the committee said the policy had several structural issues, noting that applicants would need proof that they were screened or not screened by landlords in order for the policy to be effective, and added that some complexes screen multiple applications at once for one apartment.
“I’m concerned that if you put this in there, you may have landlords that will purposefully not rent to senior citizens because they will not be able to potentially recover their costs,” Sen. Jeff Stone (R-Henderson) said. “I worry … you may create a challenge for some seniors to get housing.”
Opponents of the bill mostly focused on the rent cap portion, with most commenters stating they can live with the rest of the bill. Groups testifying in opposition included the Nevada State Apartment Association, the Institute of Real Estate Management and Capital Equities of Las Vegas.
“The bill is unfair because it puts the full burden of homelessness and housing insecurity only on one property class — the residential property owners,” said Deborah Mittman with Capital Equities of Las Vegas. “The state should offer subsidies to seniors or implement incentives for landlords so the burden of homelessness and housing falls on the entire state, and not expect private property owners alone to solve the state’s problem.”
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