Monthly Archives: September 2015

Landlords and Property Managers Have New Eviction Tools

The 2015 Legislature amended the unlawful detainer-eviction procedures in Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 40. The amendments provide landlords and property managers of dwellings (not commercial) additional tools for terminating occupancy by a defaulting tenant. The changes are found in Senate Bill 484 effective October 1, 2015 which also enacted new criminal and civil statutes to deal with unauthorized occupants (squatters).

Summary Eviction expanded: An important change was made to the summary eviction (NRS 40.253) for dwelling units only; not available for commercial property. Currently, the summary eviction process is available only for failure to pay rent by the landlord providing the tenant with a five-day notice to quit or pay rent. As revised NRS 40.253 enables the landlord to use the same summary eviction process if the tenant fails to leave the premises at the end of the term of the lease, or at the end of a periodic tenancy, or if the tenant breaches or violates any lease provision or commits waste.

Chapter 40 notices: Another change which is helpful to the landlord and landlord’s agents is a modification of the service of notice provisions in Chapter 40. Prior to October 1, 2015, if any Chapter 40 notice was served on a tenant it required two persons to sign the return of service — the signature of the person delivering the notice and a witness. That statute has been changed to eliminate the witness to the service if the service is done by sheriff, constable, or licensed process server.

Landlord’s Agent; Dwelling unit: Another subtle change is the addition of a definition of “landlord’s agent” who is someone hired or authorized by the property owner to manage or rent a dwelling unit, or who is an agent for service of process, or is a licensed property manager. The definition is important because the Landlord’s Agent is authorized to exercise the new remedies for the owner. A new definition of a “dwelling unit” was added which defined a dwelling unit as a structure occupied or intended for occupancy as a residence or sleeping place by one person who maintains a household, or two or more persons who maintain a common household.

New Crimes: New crimes were added to NRS Chapter 205 to deal with squatters. The crimes are (1) housebreaking or breaking into an uninhabited dwelling; (2) unlawful occupancy — knowingly residing in a home without permission of the owners; and (3) unlawful re-entry of an uninhabited dwelling without authority of the court or permission of the owner after having been arrested or removed for housebreaking or for unlawful occupancy, when the homeowner has changed the locks or obtained an order of removal of an occupant who is guilty of forcible entry or forcible detainer.

New Civil Remedies: The old definitions of “forcible entry” and “forcible detainer” were modified basically to match the elements of the criminal offenses of housebreaking and unlawful occupancy.

New civil remedies were provided to owners and property managers to deal with squatters. If an unauthorized occupant has been arrested and removed for housebreaking or unlawful entry, the homeowner is permitted to take possession of and secure the property by changing the locks or otherwise securing the property. Note this remedy is only available if the premises are vacant, that is, the squatter has been removed. There are statutory notices that must be posted if the owner, or landlord’s agent uses this remedy.

The second new remedy creates a civil process for the property owner or authorized agent, to seek an order for removal of a squatter who is guilty of forcible entry or forcible detainer. Basically, if there is an unauthorized occupant of a dwelling unit who refuses to move out and remains in possession by violence or threat of violence, or has obtained possession by violence or threat of violence, the dwelling unit owner or authorized agent can send a notice to vacate within four (4) judicial days after receiving the written notice, or file an affidavit stating the reason the occupant is not guilty of forcible entry or forcible detainer. If there is no voluntary surrender or the occupant files an affidavit then the owner files a complaint for eviction. If the court determines the occupant is guilty of forcible entry or forcible detainer, the court issues an order for removal or non-admittance for execution by the sheriff within twenty-four (24) hours after receipt of the order.

All of these new remedies require notices to be posted by the owner or its authorized agent and provides the unauthorized occupant the right to contest and to have his personal property secured by the landlord if the locks are changed. If personal property is not claimed in 21 days and no complaint for reentry is filed by the displaced occupant the personal property can be sold.

Conclusion: Property owners who have rental dwelling units, property managers, and other authorized agents of dwelling unit should examine the SB 484 in detail and become familiar with the new procedures to adequately take advantage of its benefits.