2019 NV Legislative Updates – Part 1 – Clarification

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Due to a number of inquiries related to my first post on the 2019 Legislative changes, specifically SB 151, I sought legal counsel for clarification of one of the bill’s provisions. My statement (prior to today’s edit) that a Landlord would have to stop an eviction if the tenant paid rent but not late charges was incorrect. The “old” rules still apply for a pending “non-payment” eviction, regarding what constitutes payment. The Landlord MAY refuse to accept payment unless it includes all rent, “reasonable late fees,” utilities, and/or any security deposit owing.

This is a good time to remind you that, whenever you are in doubt about how laws or regulations are interpreted, you should ALWAYS consult legal counsel, just as I did. It will be interesting to see how the impacts of SB 151 are handled in the courts. Watch closely, I think we’re going to see some very crowded court calendars very soon.

Part 2 of my Legislative Update will be posted in a few days. Thanks for reading!

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What Happened? Nevada Legislature 2019 (Part 1 of 2)

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2019 was certainly an eventful legislative session for Nevada! A number of bills were introduced, seeking to have a direct impact on the residential landlord/tenant and property management industries, not the least of which was Senate Bill 256 (SB256).

SB256, in its original form, would have brought sweeping changes to Nevada Landlord/Tenant law. The bill sought to protect ‘source of income’ discrimination in housing – ending the practice by some landlords and property managers to refuse to rent to ‘Section 8’ recipients. It would have prevented landlords of ‘low income’ housing from considering a tenant’s past inability to pay rent as a qualifying factor for tenancy. Further, it would have granted rights to tenants for “initial inspection” of a dwelling unit before vacating, and would have required landlords to provide a written summary of possible charges against the tenant’s security deposit, among other changes. SB256 died on the Assembly side, thanks to the strong lobbying efforts of the Nevada Association of REALTORS.

Although SB256 did not make it to the Governor’s desk, parts of that bill snuck in just under the wire, and became law. This was due to a last-minute amendment to SB151. When I say “last minute,” I’m not kidding. The very last day of the legislative session brought additional landlord/tenant provisions to SB151, which became law when signed by the Governor, and takes effect on July 1, 2019.

SB151 affects our industry in a number of ways. First, it clearly delineates a difference between the procedure for eviction of a commercial tenant vs. eviction of a residential tenant, for nonpayment of rent. Commercial tenants continue to be subject to a 5-day “summary eviction” for nonpayment of rent. Residential tenants, on the other hand, are now subject to a 7-day (7 “judicial” days) “pay or quit” action. Once the court orders the eviction action, the sheriff or constable must remove the residential tenant no earlier than 24 hours after the order is posted, and no later than 36 hours after the court order for removal is posted. 

If a residential tenant leaves personal property in the residence after vacating, under SB151, that tenant has 5 days to retrieve “essential personal effects.” Further, the tenant may file a motion (within 20 days) to contest the reasonableness of the landlord’s actions in storage of the property; both the daily storage costs, and the removal procedure used by the landlord. The court must hold a hearing within 10 days of the tenant’s motion, and may award the tenant the ability to retrieve “essential personal effects,” even after an initial 5-day period following removal of the tenant. Further, the court may award the tenant damages up to $2,500, if the court finds the landlord acted improperly in handling the tenant’s personal property. 

For commercial tenancies, the landlord will have no liability for disposing of a tenant’s personal property after the tenant vacates (or is removed), provided the landlord gave a minimum of 14 days’ notice to the tenant via Certified USPS mail. 

SB151 also provides that eviction records are automatically sealed by the court if the landlord fails to pursue the action through to a court order for removal of the tenant.

Thanks to a ‘friendly amendment’ from the Nevada Association of REALTORS, a tenant retains all rights and responsibilities under a residential lease when the property is sold in a ‘traditional’ (non-foreclosure) method. Conversely, the new owner of the property is bound to the landlord’s terms under that agreement, a welcome clarification of existing law contained in SB151. 

All eviction notices must be served by a sheriff, constable, or licensed process server!  Due to circumstances of improper service described during hearings for SB151, the final version of the bill provides that all such notices be served by someone licensed to serve notices in Nevada. The landlord may no longer serve these notices him/herself. 

SB151 adds new section to NRS 118A (Nevada’s Residential Landlord/Tenant Act) that defines the term “Periodic Rent.”That definition clearly states that “rent” means only the amount that is payable each month, and nothing more. Presumably, this provision of the bill seeks to omit late charges and tenant repair chargebacks from the definition of “rent.” 

Speaking of late fees,this may be the biggest change to residential landlord/tenant law: SB151 limits late fees significantly. Late fees now may not exceed 5% of the periodic rent (not 5% of the balance then due). Daily (cumulative) late fees are now a thing of the past.

All sections of SB151 become effective July 1, 2019.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post, where we’ll take a look at other 2019 changes to Nevada law affecting the property management industry.

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Nevada’s HOA Super-Priority Lien at Risk

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Nevada Legislature
Nevada Legislature

This post is offered as a courtesy to the Community Associations Institute (CAI), and its local Nevada chapters, who are fighting hard to protect the integrity of Nevada’s super-priority lien status. The 2015 Nevada Legislative Session ends in just a few days, and AB359 is being hotly contested right now. The following is quoted verbatim (with permission) from an email received today. I’m posting it here for you, as some of you may not be on CAI’s email list, but may still have interest in this topic: Continue reading “Nevada’s HOA Super-Priority Lien at Risk”

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Nevada’s AB194 – Tenant Damage to Property

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evictionShort, and sweet, Nevada’s AB 194 was passed by both houses of the legislature, and signed by the governor this week. It becomes law on October 1, 2013.

 

The new law specifically calls for criminal liability for renters who willfully damage or destroy the rental property:

“This bill clarifies that a person who holds a leasehold interest in the real property of another person may be criminally liable for the willful or malicious destruction or injury of that real property.”

 

The text of the bill is nice and simple:

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEVADA, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEMBLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1. NRS 206.310 is hereby amended to read as follows:
206.310 1. Every person who shall willfully or maliciously destroy or injure any real or personal property of another, for the destruction or injury of which no special punishment is otherwise specially prescribed, shall be guilty of a public offense proportionate to the value of the property affected or the loss resulting from such offense.
2. It is not a defense that the person engaging in the conduct prohibited by subsection 1 holds a leasehold interest in the real property that was destroyed or injured.”

 

Tip for Nevada Property Managers: This might be good language to add to your residential and commercial lease agreements, as a deterrent to willful property damage. At the very least, you’ll want to remind your tenants of this provision of law if you become aware of any tenant-caused damage to the property.

 

 

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Nevada Seeks to Protect Tenants Who Are Domestic Abuse Victims

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stopping handProperty Managers in Nevada will want to follow this one…

 

Nevada Assembly members Lucy Flores and Elliot Anderson have introduced legislation that, if passed, would significantly amend the state’s Landlord/Tenant law to allow early lease termination for victims of domestic violence.

 

AB 284, introduced on March 15th, would allow a tenant to terminate his/her lease on 30 days’ notice, and/or require the landlord to change the locks on the rented property, if that tenant can substantiate that he/she is a domestic violence victim. The proposed bill provides three alternative methods of establishing the tenant’s status:  Continue reading “Nevada Seeks to Protect Tenants Who Are Domestic Abuse Victims”

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