No one wants to have to evict a tenant. It forces tenants to find a new place to live on short notice and causes landlords to lose rental income. Unfortunately, evictions are becoming increasingly common across the U.S. In 2016 alone, Nevada had over 13,000 evictions. Whether you have 1 tenant or 100, every landlord should know their rights and responsibilities regarding evictions.
Reasons for Eviction
Landlords must provide specific notices depending on the reason for eviction:
- Nonpayment of rent
- Lease agreement violation
While nonpayment is pretty self-explanatory, nuisances may take many forms, including property damage, unapproved subletting, carrying out unlawful business on the premises, or ongoing complaints such as excessive noise or harassment of other tenants.
A lease agreement is a binding contract; any time a tenant violates one or more lease clauses, it can be grounds for eviction. Landlords are also bound by law to uphold lease agreements — one of the many reasons to make sure you draft a comprehensive lease agreement.
Week-to-week or month-to-month (also called tenancy-at-will) renters can be evicted with a 5 or 30-day notice (respectively), since no formal lease length is specified. In this arrangement, renters may also choose to end their tenancy by giving the same amount of notice.
Landlords may serve a no-cause eviction after a lease expires, when there is no lease agreement, or if the tenancy becomes a holdover tenancy. For example, if a tenant’s lease has formally ended but the tenant agrees to continue paying the landlord weekly or monthly (without a new lease), they become a holdover tenant. No reason is required for issuing such an eviction, although the landlord must follow the appropriate eviction procedures to do so.
Less commonly, landlords may evict a tenant with the intent of converting the unit into a primary residence for themselves or any immediate family members. Other possible reasons for no-fault evictions include change of property ownership, putting the property on the market, closure of the building due to major renovations or repairs, or scheduled demolition of the property.
The Eviction Process in Nevada
Nevada landlords have two options when they evict a tenant: summary eviction or formal eviction. Most landlords opt for summary evictions, which only seek to gain repossession of the rental unit. Formal evictions, on the other hand, occur when a landlord sues to repossess the unit and gain compensation for damages in the same lawsuit.
Additionally, the eviction notice requirements vary depending on the reason for eviction, as noted below.
Summary Eviction Process for Nonpayment
- In this process, the landlord must first serve the offending tenant a 7-Day Notice to Quit or Pay Rent, per NRS 40.253.
- The tenant, upon receipt of the notice, is entitled to 7 business days to pay rent, vacate the unit, or file an affidavit challenging the claim of nonpayment. Alternatively, the tenant may file a motion to delay the eviction for up to 10 days.
- If the tenant has not paid or quit in the allotted time frame, the landlord can then file a Complaint for Summary Eviction, which may result in a court-ordered eviction. If the tenant does not pay, quit, or file an answer, the court will automatically grant a summary eviction.
- If the tenant does file an answer, the court will issue a summons to both parties and a judge will decide in a hearing whether or not the tenant should be evicted.
- If the judge rules in favor of the tenant, the landlord may still proceed to file a formal eviction (see below).
- If the judge rules in the landlord’s favor, the court will send the eviction order to the constable’s office. The constable will then post an eviction notice on the tenant’s door within 24 hours of receiving it. The following day, the constable will return to remove the tenant and supervise the changing of the property’s locks by the landlord and/or a locksmith.
Summary Eviction Process for Lease Violations
- In this process, the landlord must first serve the offending tenant a 5-Day Notice to Perform Lease Condition or Quit, per NRS. 40.2516.
- If, after 5 business days, the tenant does not vacate the unit or correct the lease violation, the landlord may then file a 5-Day Notice to Quit for Unlawful Detainer.
- After receiving the unlawful detainer, the tenant may vacate the rental unit, file a motion to delay the eviction for another 10 days, or file an affidavit contesting the landlord’s complaint.
- If the tenant files an affidavit, both parties will be subjected to a hearing. A judge will ultimately decide whether or not the tenant should be evicted.
- If the tenant is evicted, the constable will follow the same procedure as noted above to remove the tenant and change the locks.
Summary Eviction Process for Nuisance
- The landlord must serve the offending tenant a 3-Day Notice to Quit for Nuisance, Waste, Assigning/Subletting, Unlawful Business, or Drug Violation.
- The tenant’s only option in this case is to vacate. If they do not, the landlord must then serve a 5-Day Notice to Quit for Unlawful Detainer.
- The rest of the process follows the same procedure as lease violations.
Summary Eviction Process for Tenancy-At-Will
- The tenant must be served with a 5-Day Notice to Quit for Tenancy-At-Will.
- If the tenant does not vacate within 5 business days, the landlord may serve them a 5-Day Notice to Quit for Unlawful Detainer.
- The rest of the process follows the same procedure as lease violations and nuisance.
Summary Eviction Process for No-Cause
- The landlord must serve the tenant a 30-Day “No Cause” Notice to Quit if they pay monthly, or a 7-Day “No Cause” Notice to Quit if they pay weekly.
- If the tenant does not vacate within the allotted time frame, the landlord may serve them a 5-Day Notice to Quit for Unlawful Detainer.
- Tenants who are over the age of 60 and who pay monthly may request, in writing, to stay in the rental for an additional 30 days before vacating. They can also file an affidavit to request a hearing. The process then follows the same procedure as above.
Formal Eviction Process
Formal evictions may be appropriate after a summary eviction fails, or if the landlord is seeking monetary compensation from the tenant. The process for formal evictions is much lengthier and requires more effort on the landlord’s part. Because of this, hiring an attorney is strongly recommended.
- The formal eviction process begins by serving the tenant with the applicable notice depending on the violation. The court will require proof that the notice was served to the tenant.
- If the tenant does not comply with the initial eviction notice, the landlord can then file a Complaint for Unlawful Detainer and a Summons — Unlawful Detainer.
- The landlord should then file an application for a Show Cause hearing. At said hearing, the landlord can ask for a Temporary Writ of Restitution, in which the tenant is removed by court order.
- All of these documents, once filed, can then be served to a tenant before the scheduled hearing.
- At the hearing, the judge may grant an eviction. However, proceeding to trial (potentially with a jury) to collect money for damages can be an even more tedious legal process.
Tenants and landlords do not always have to go to court. If they both agree, they can negotiate a deal outside the court system, likely saving both parties time and money.
Following proper procedure when evicting a tenant is paramount. Here’s some things you absolutely should not do when evicting a tenant:
- “Self-Help” Procedures: Under NRS 118A.390, it is illegal to attempt to force a tenant to vacate a unit by making the living conditions on the property unbearable. This means you cannot change the locks on a tenant’s unit or shut off their utilities without the court’s authorization. If a landlord engages in any “self-help” illegal evictions, they could face $2,500 or more in fines in addition to the tenant being allowed to stay in the rental.
- Not Sending an Eviction Notice: While not sending the proper eviction won’t stop an eviction completely, it can significantly delay the process. Tenants who do not receive due notice can use their landlord’s failure to follow procedure as a defense against the eviction lawsuit. Some tenants may use this as a tactic to remain in the unit as long as possible. Eviction proceedings in Nevada can take anywhere from 10 to 180 days. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be!
- If a tenant pays their rent in full before seven business days have elapsed after serving the first notice, you cannot evict them for nonpayment of rent.
- If you give a tenant an eviction notice for a violation of the lease agreement and they remedy the violation (e.g. they remove a pet who was previously living in a pet-free unit) in the allotted time frame, you can no longer proceed with eviction.
- If the tenant alleges that you did not make the necessary repairs to uphold the implied warranty of habitability, they may be able to avoid eviction. However, the tenant must provide proof that they notified the landlord in writing of the issue. The landlord is also entitled to 14 days to repair the rental defect. A full list of habitability requirements for dwellings can be found in NRS 118A.290.
If the landlord fails to complete repairs within 14 days, tenants have two options:
- They can withhold rent until repairs are made. Rent should be deposited into an escrow account.
- They can pay to have the unit repaired and deduct this expense from their rent payment.
Reasons You Cannot Evict a Tenant
- You cannot evict a tenant for exercising their legal rights to report code violations, join a tenant union, or file a lawsuit against you for failing to maintain the premises.
- Under the federal Fair Housing Act, you cannot evict a tenant based on race, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, or disability.
- Nevada Fair Housing Law also makes it illegal to evict or discriminate against a tenant based on sexual orientation.
An eviction is the last thing anyone wants to deal with, but it is better to be prepared. It can be a complicated process, and laws will vary by state and sometimes by county. However you decide to approach a potential eviction, make sure to follow all eviction laws to the letter and don’t engage in any illegal self-help procedures.
Related: Rent Control in San Francisco