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Eviction Laws and Tenant Rights in Nevada

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In a Nutshell

Landlords in Nevada can’t just change the locks, toss your belongings out on the front yard, or shut down essential utilities. A landlord must follow the eviction process in order to have a tenant evicted for any reason. Here's an overview of what this means for tenants in Nevada.

Written by Upsolve Team
Updated December 1, 2021

Like other states, Nevada has special laws that outline the steps landlords must take to evict tenants from rental properties. But Nevada is a little different in that it offers landlords two ways to evict tenants — a summary eviction or a formal eviction. This article provides a basic overview of each of these eviction methods, including the rights tenants and renters have in Nevada. While evictions can occur for multiple reasons, you’ll find this article most helpful if you’re facing eviction because you’re behind on rent or your lease is about to end.

What Is Eviction? 

Eviction is a legal process landlords use to remove tenants or renters from real property. Nevada has special statutes that set out what landlords must do to get an eviction and what rights tenants have during this process. If landlords don’t follow the steps outlined by the applicable Nevada law, they can be liable for an illegal eviction.

Landlords have two options to evict tenants in Nevada. Both options are generally available regardless of the reasons for the eviction.

Who Can Be Evicted in Nevada?

If a landlord wants to evict a tenant in Nevada, they’ll need to have a landlord-tenant relationship with the renter. This typically exists after the renter and landlord sign a contract like a written lease or rental agreement. The contract lists the terms and conditions of the tenancy, including how much rent the tenant must pay and what property rights the tenant has in return for paying rent. The lease will often also explain the reasons the tenant can get evicted.

In addition to evicting a tenant, a landlord can usually evict individuals living with the tenant at the rental property. This is true even if those individuals didn’t sign the lease. 

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Why Can Someone Be Evicted in Nevada? 

Nevada recognizes five reasons for evictions. Tenants may face eviction if:

  • They haven’t paid rent, which includes being late or behind on rent.

  • They’ve sublet improperly, conducted an illegal business, or created a nuisance or waste on the property.

  • They’ve violated a term in the lease other than the requirement to pay rent.

  • The landlord has decided to terminate a tenancy-at-will. A tenancy at will can be ended at any time by either the landlord or tenant. There’s no lease agreement.

  • The lease has expired or there’s no lease.

The eviction process will be similar for any of the above reasons, except that there’ll be different eviction notice requirements. The primary differences depend on the eviction process the landlord chooses — a summary or formal eviction.

Late, Short, or Behind on Rent? 

Unless the lease says otherwise, a rent payment is late if it’s not paid by its due date. But if a landlord wants to evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent, they’ll need to give the tenant at least seven days to become current with rent before starting an eviction action.

Lease Expiration or Termination

Landlords may evict a tenant if the landlord has terminated the lease or the lease has expired. Most of the time, a lease expires because the landlord doesn’t want to renew or extend an existing lease. Landlords have the right to evict when a lease expires even if the tenant didn’t breach the lease and is willing and capable of paying rent. If there’s a lease termination, it’s usually because the tenant has breached the lease.

The Nevada Eviction Process 

There are two eviction processes for residential tenancies in Nevada: 

  • Summary evictions, which are like expedited court hearings. 

  • Formal evictions, which are more like traditional trials. 

Summary evictions are faster than formal evictions. Even though most landlords in Nevada choose the summary eviction process, it has some limitations. For example, landlords can’t use summary evictions to get a monetary judgment from the court. A monetary judgment allows the landlord to collect money from the tenant in addition to evicting them. Instead, a landlord has to file a separate legal action to collect money from the tenant.

Another limitation is that summary evictions are only granted when there’s no genuine issue of material fact concerning the landlord’s right to evict the tenant. In other words, if the tenant raises legitimate questions about the legal or factual basis for the eviction, the court will deny the landlord’s request for summary eviction. If this happens, the landlord will have to try to evict the tenant using the formal eviction process.

What does a landlord have to do to begin a summary eviction?

The eviction process begins with the landlord giving the tenant notice. The amount and type of notice will depend on the reason for the eviction. 

  • If the lease has expired or there’s no lease, you’re entitled to two notices. If your tenancy is a week-to-week, the first notice is a Seven-Day “No Cause” Notice to Quit. This gives you seven days to leave the property. If you have any other type of tenancy, the first notice you receive is a Thirty-Day “No Cause” Notice to Quit., which gives you 30 days to leave the property. If you don’t leave the property by the applicable deadline, you’ll receive a Five-Day Notice of Unlawful Detainer. This second notice gives you another five days to leave before the landlord asks the court to evict you.

The above notices must be served on the tenant by a sheriff, constable, licensed process server, or the agent of a licensed Nevada attorney. There are three ways the tenant can be served:

  • Personally, in the presence of a witness.

  • If the tenant isn’t at the rental property, the copy of the notice can be left with a person of “suitable age and discretion” and mailed to the tenant at the address of the rental property.

  • If the tenant or person of suitable age and discretion can’t be found at the tenant’s place of business or residence, a copy of the notice should be posted in a visible place at the rental property and mailed to the tenant at the address of the rental property.

If you disagree with the landlord’s reason for evicting you, you should file an answer or affidavit with the court and serve a copy on the landlord.

What happens once the summary eviction action is filed with the court? 

The next phase of the summary eviction process is the landlord filing a Complaint for Summary Eviction with the justice court. If the tenant filed an answer or affidavit in response to one of the eviction notices, the court will schedule a court hearing date and time. The court will normally try to schedule the eviction hearing within one week after receiving the landlord’s complaint.

If you fail to appear at this hearing or fail to file an answer or affidavit in response to an eviction notice, the court will typically enter a default judgment in the landlord’s favor and grant the summary eviction. If the court issues a default judgment, the landlord automatically wins the eviction case because you didn’t respond to the landlord’s allegations. This response could be filing an answer or affidavit with the court or appearing in court.

Depending on where the eviction lawsuit is taking place, the landlord and tenant may have the option of using a mediation program to resolve their differences. In mediation, a neutral third party listens to the landlord and tenant to see if they can come to an agreement without having the eviction hearing. Mediation is optional in most courts. But in a few of them, like the Henderson Justice Court in Clark County, mediation is required. Even if it’s required, the parties aren’t obligated to reach an agreement through mediation.

At the hearing, both sides will present their cases to the judge and submit any applicable evidence. If there’s any reasonable dispute about the facts or legal basis of the eviction, the judge will usually deny the summary eviction. For instance, if granting the eviction comes down to whether the judge should believe the landlord’s word or the tenant’s word and the judge isn’t sure who to believe, then the judge won’t grant the summary eviction.

If the judge believes there’s no genuine question about the landlord’s reason for evicting the tenant, then summary eviction will be granted. This situation might exist if the landlord provides the court with documents proving the tenant was given proper notice about the eviction and served with the summons and complaint. Then the landlord provides a copy of a police report and court records showing the tenant’s arrest and conviction concerning the manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs at the rental property.

What does a landlord have to do to begin a formal eviction?

The formal eviction process begins the same way as a summary eviction. This means the landlord must provide the appropriate first notices to the tenant, based on the reason for the eviction:

  • Nonpayment of rent: Seven-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit

  • Nuisance, improper subletting, waste, or conducting an illegal business: Three-Day Notice to Quit for Nuisance, Waste, Assigning/Subletting, Unlawful Business, or Drug Violation

  • Lease breach: Five-Day Notice to Perform Lease Condition or Quit. 

  • Ending a tenancy-at-will: Five-Day Notice to Quit for Tenancy-At-Will. 

  • Lease has expired or there’s no lease: Seven-Day “No Cause” Notice to Quit (for week-to-week tenancies) or the Thirty-Day “No Cause” Notice to Quit (for all other types of tenancies). 

Assuming the tenant hasn’t moved out or cured (addressed) the lease breach, the next step for the landlord to evict the tenant is to file a Complaint for Unlawful Detainer.

What happens once the formal eviction action is filed with the court? 

The formal eviction process starts with the landlord filing a Complaint for Unlawful Detainer with the justice court. The court then issues a summons, which explains why the tenant is being sued and what they can do in response, such as file an answer. What happens next depends on what the landlord does. 

If they want to go straight to trial, they’ll file paperwork to get a court date. This is called a Notice of Trial Setting. This date can be set no earlier than 20 days after you’re served with a copy of the summons and complaint. 

To serve the tenant with the summons and complaint, the landlord needs to use a constable, sheriff’s deputy, or any person who’s not a party to the eviction lawsuit who’s at least 19 years of age. This server will either personally hand you a copy of the summons and complaint or leave copies at your residence with someone of “suitable age and discretion.”

If the landlord wants you out as quickly as possible, they won’t include a Notice of Trial Setting with the summons and complaint served on you. Instead, they’ll file an application with the court requesting the court to issue a Temporary Writ of Restitution, which allows the landlord to force you to move out of the rental property before the court decides the eviction case. If the court grants the Temporary Writ of Restitution, you can’t appeal it.

If the landlord seeks this temporary writ, then they’ll serve you with a copy of the application, the Order to Show Cause, and the summons and complaint. The Order to Show Cause will be signed by the judge and have a hearing date that you need to attend to contest the landlord’s request for a Temporary Writ of Restitution.

If you want to oppose this request, you must file specific paperwork in opposition. If you also want to fight the eviction, there’s a separate answer form you’ll need to file. You must file both of these with the court and serve them to the landlord or the landlord’s attorney.

If the court grants the landlord’s request for a Temporary Writ of Restitution, the landlord will need to file additional paperwork with the court and make arrangements to have a constable remove you from the rental unit.

If the landlord is successful with their Temporary Writ of Restitution, the landlord will often voluntarily dismiss their eviction case. They got what they wanted and don’t want to spend the time or money to prepare for trial. But in some cases, a landlord may still want a trial, especially if they’re also seeking monetary damages from the tenant or they want a Permanent Writ of Restitution from the court. They might seek the permanent writ if they want an official document granting them the legal right to repossess the rental property.

If the case goes to trial...

If a landlord still wants to go to trial after getting the temporary writ, they’ll file a Notice of Trial Setting to get a court date. If you want to contest the eviction at trial, you’ll most likely have already the necessary answer form with the court and landlord. 

Either party may request a jury for the eviction trial, and it’ll be similar to what you see on television in terms of courtroom procedures. There will be opportunities for the tenant and the landlord to submit evidence and call witnesses to give direct testimony. Witnesses will also be subject to cross-examination. There will be opening and closing statements, and the judge will require the parties to follow the relevant rules of civil procedure and evidence. 

If all of this sounds intimidating, it can be. So if you’re planning on going to trial, consider consulting with a tenant’s right lawyer. Not only will they give you legal advice on the best way to fight the eviction, but they’ll also know the ins and outs of the trial process and understand how the courtroom rules work.

After both sides present their cases and give their closing statements, the judge (or jury) will issue a verdict. 

Telling Your Side of the Story: Affirmative Defenses and Counterclaims

If you want to dispute the landlord’s reasons for evicting you, you have two main types of defenses: affirmative defenses and counterclaims. 

An affirmative defense addresses the basis of the eviction. If it’s successful, the landlord can’t evict you. You must raise affirmative defenses yourself. You can’t rely on the court to raise them for you. 

One example of an affirmative defense unique to Nevada is that if a tenant requests rental assistance, the landlord must cooperate with the tenant in the rental assistance application process and accept any rental assistance the tenant gets. Failing to do either can stop the eviction from taking place.

The second type of defense in an eviction proceeding is the counterclaim. Eviction counterclaims are legal claims that are separate from the eviction action but may rely on facts related to the eviction. They don’t have the power to stop the eviction but may help you recover monetary damages. For instance, if your landlord tried to evict you illegally (such as by changing the locks), you could sue your landlord for the recovery of monetary damages. 

You can assert both affirmative defenses and counterclaims during a summary or formal eviction. With a summary eviction, you first present your defenses in the answer or affidavit that you file in response to the eviction notice from the landlord. It’s important that you file this answer because if you don’t, the court won’t schedule a summary eviction hearing and will most likely grant the landlord’s eviction. At the summary eviction hearing, you can provide the information and evidence to support the defenses you raised in your answer or affidavit.

In a formal eviction, you’ll first present your defenses in either your answer to the landlord’s complaint or opposition to the landlord’s application for a temporary writ of restitution. If you don’t file your answer or opposition, you risk a default judgment being entered against you or the court granting a Temporary or Permanent Writ of Restitution.

What Happens After an Eviction Trial?

The next steps after the eviction hearing(s) will depend on which type of eviction proceeding took place and how they turned out.

After a Summary Eviction 

If the judge grants the summary eviction, the landlord must serve you with the eviction court order. If you still don’t leave the property, the landlord will make arrangements with the constable to physically remove you and your personal belongings. The exact process for making arrangements with the constable will vary depending on the township. If you lose your summary eviction case, you have four options:

  1. You can ask the court to stay the summary eviction for up to 10 days. This gives you extra time to move out and make other arrangements.

  2. You can file a Motion to Set Aside (Cancel) the Summary Eviction Order. This is asking the court to nullify or cancel its order granting the landlord summary eviction.

  3. You can appeal the summary eviction order to the district court. You have 10 days from the date the eviction judgment is filed with the court to file your appeal. If you want to stop the eviction while your appeal gets decided, you’ll need to post a bond (monetary deposit) of at least $250 with the court.

  4. You can accept the court’s decision, but file a Motion to Seal Summary Eviction. This keeps the court records concerning your summary eviction from becoming public. You might want to do this to prevent future landlords from seeing the eviction proceeding when they review your rental history.

If the summary eviction is denied, the landlord can try again to evict you by using the formal eviction method. Or the landlord can file an appeal within 10 days of the court denying their summary eviction.

After a Formal Eviction

If the landlord wins at trial in a formal eviction proceeding, they’ll get a Permanent Writ of Restitution and if applicable, a monetary judgment in their favor. The constable or sheriff then gets the writ and makes arrangements with the landlord to evict you from the property. If you lose at trial, you have three options:

  1. You can accept the verdict and move out. 

  2. You can appeal the verdict within 10 days after the court enters judgment. If you want to stop the eviction while your appeal gets decided, you’ll need to post a bond with the court. The bond must be at least twice the amount of the monetary judgment. You’ll also need to continue paying rent during the appeal process.

  3. You can “pay and stay.” If the eviction was filed for nonpayment of rent and you still have a valid lease, you may continue living at the rental property if you pay the monetary judgment entered against you by the court. If you do this, make sure you confirm who you should send payment to and keep detailed records about who you paid and when.

Practical Tips for Tenants Facing Eviction in Nevada

If you want to contest the eviction, you should gather any information you’ll need to support your arguments. This includes getting copies of your lease, bank statements, receipts, invoices, or any other paperwork you can use as evidence for your case. If applicable, get copies of any photographs or video recordings. This might be useful if your defenses rely on the condition of your rental unit or what happened at the rental property at a specific time or place. Also, consider having a municipal building inspector visit the property to document its condition and prepare a report.

It’s important to attend your scheduled eviction hearings. If you have a good reason for why you can’t attend, contact the court and let them know. They should be able to grant a continuance and reschedule your hearing in most cases. If for some reason they can’t, it’s still a good idea to make the request because the judge is less likely to grant a default judgment in the landlord’s favor.

Communicate with your landlord as much as possible. This makes it easier to reach an agreement that could stop or delay the eviction. For example, you might be able to negotiate a payment plan to become current on your rent or get additional time to cure your breach of the lease. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to properly document what you’ve done to fix the problem. This might include getting invoices showing you’ve hired someone to repair property damage or getting receipts showing when you made extra rent payments and who received them.

Even if you have to move out, getting your landlord to agree to stop the eviction proceeding against you can help you avoid having an eviction in your rental history. This will make it easier to find another apartment.

Just remember that whatever agreement you reach with your landlord, be sure to get it in writing. Also, make sure you and the landlord (or property manager) sign the agreement. 

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help to take advantage of your tenant rights and protections. If you’ve read this entire guide, you understand how intricate and complicated the eviction process can be. Thankfully, there are many nonprofit organizations and lawyers that offer free legal and housing assistance to guide you and other Nevadans through the eviction process. This includes figuring out your local court and any eviction rules that are unique to certain townships. 

Tenant Resources in Nevada

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