After passing SB151, lawmakers shouldn’t be surprised to see apartment managers being stricter with renters

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August 14, 2019
No one likes to say “we told you so.” But in this case, “we told you so.”

My first reaction after reading this front-page story in the July 24 ReviewJournal, https://www.reviewjournal.com/business/housing/nevadas-new-tenant-protectionsprompt-reduced-times-to-pay-rent-1809509/, was why wouldn’t they listen to us when we told them this is exactly what would happen to our hard-working Nevada families. The story quoted concerned apartment renters who are understandably worried about how some huge apartment complex owners are responding to a new state law that was passed as Senate Bill 151.

As the story pointed out, at least some of the companies that manage thousands of apartments in Southern Nevada have begun notifying tenants that “starting Sept. 1 rent will be considered delinquent on the second day of the month, allowing the company to charge overdue rent fees and start the eviction process.”

The president of one of these property management companies told the RJ this change and others are in response to SB151, a bill that Nevada REALTORS® who work to protect the rights of property owners aggressively opposed when it was passed last month – without public debate in the waning minutes of the state legislative session.

Supporters of this law want you to believe all landlords are wealthy, or big and uncaring companies.

In reality, most of the local property owners harmed by this law are “mom and pop” homeowners who rely on their tenants to pay their rent on time so they can pay their mortgage. In reality, these “mom and pop” homeowners who are able to provide safe and affordable single family homes for our hard-working Nevada families are every bit as susceptible to the same financial concerns as their tenants. In reality, these Nevada homeowners care about their tenants and work with them during times of trouble because they know keeping that family in their home is important to both parties. In reality, these single-family homeowners understand even one financial mishap puts both their tenant and themselves in trouble.

Of course, most Nevadans understand this, and so do the supporters of these last-minute changes to Nevada law done under the darkness of night which are now damaging Nevada families. They know because we told them exactly what would happen if they continued with their bullying tactics to get bad legislation passed in the waning moments of the Nevada legislature.

For these legislators, being someone important outweighed doing something important. Our Nevada homeowners and Nevada families are now paying the price. We told them so.

Our more than 17,000 Nevada REALTORS® members opposed several bills proposed last session that we continued to say would have damaging effects on Southern Nevada’s fragile housing market. We told lawmakers it would have an adverse impact on both property owners and tenants. Hundreds of Nevada homeowners told these legislators their actions were shortsighted and would put them in a bad predicament.

Nevada REALTORS® worked with all interested parties for over a year prior to the 2019 legislative session, providing real solutions to Nevada families who rent homes here. Those real solutions were ignored, and in spite of our repeated warnings that their efforts would harm Nevada’s hard-working families, they blocked us out of their late-night legislative party. Now tenants are paying the price, and we told them so.

Even still, we continue to commit to Gov. Sisolak and reasonable state leaders to work with them to find real solutions to our affordable housing issues that won’t damage Nevada’s homeowners and the hard-working Nevada families who rent their homes.

By working together, we can find solutions that will actually have a positive impact on our Nevada families who need affordable, safe and stable housing. And we won’t have to continue saying, “we told them so.”

Keith Lynam is the 2019 president of the statewide Nevada REALTORS®, formerly known as the Nevada Association of REALTORS® (NVR), a professional trade association with more than 17,000 members committed to protecting, promoting and preserving our communities. Visit www.nevadarealtors.org.