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As mediation program for tenants and landlords ends, evictions surge in Clark County

As mediation program for tenants and landlords ends, evictions surge in Clark County

You can feel the stress in Room 302 of the Clark County Courthouse.

It’s in the restless legs of people whose knees bounce nervously as they balance stacks of court documents on their laps. It’s in the hunched backs being comfortingly rubbed by friends and family.

It’s the fear of walking out of those courtroom doors with no place to call home and a hindrance to finding another one.

This is Clark County’s unlawful detainer docket, where every Thursday the court orders evictions. And the stress within it has been growing as the number of eviction cases has surged in recent months.

In August, Clark County experienced the highest number of eviction filings in one month that it’s had in years, according to court records. August saw 202 eviction cases — more than double the number from June.

Although experts cite a variety of reasons, the increase does coincide with the June 30 end of the state’s pandemic-era protections against evictions, including the two-year Eviction Resolution Pilot Program and two state rental assistance programs.

The eviction resolution program helped tenants and landlords mediate their differences before their cases went to court and resulted in an eviction.

Just how fair and successful the Eviction Resolution Pilot Program was is debated, but the program did prevent many cases from reaching court, where a filing would stain a renter’s record no matter the outcome.

The exact number of eviction filings the program prevented is unknown. But with more than 13,000 people in Clark County accessing the program within its last year and an eviction filing avoided around three out of four times after mediation, mediators say the impact was significant.

Now with the program gone — and with Clark County being third in the state last year for evictions despite being fifth in population — many people, including court officials, are clamoring for another option to keep eviction filings in check.

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