How to Evict A Bad Tenant

How to Evict A Bad Tenant

0 Flares Facebook 0 Google+ 0 LinkedIn 0 Twitter 0 0 Flares ×

Being a noble landlord doesn’t mean that you’re immune from having bad tenants. It’s always important to screen your tenants, but even under the best of circumstances, it’s not uncommon for a well-intentioned tenant to struggle to pay rent from time to time.

Even if you have a “good” relationship with your tenant, sometimes they just won’t be able to pay you. It happens and when that’s the case

you simply can’t just let them stay free of charge, especially when there are numerous other people who will not have any trouble paying you consistently.

If this is your first time evicting a tenant, this article is for you. The eviction process may seem daunting and have you wondering whether there are any landlord rights available to you at all. Regardless of the situation, before starting the eviction process, you need to know the proper rules and procedures.

Reasons to evict a tenant

There are a number of reasons why you may need to evict a tenant. The most common one is the nonpayment of rent; other reasons could include:

  • Violating the terms of the lease or rental agreement. For example, having a pet when the agreement has a no-pets clause. Or even making excessive noise that disturbs neighbors and other tenants.
  • Causing serious damage to the rental premises.
  • Carrying on illegal activities, like dealing drugs.
  • Personal Reasons. In some cases, even though your tenant hasn’t done anything wrong, you may still need to end their tenancy. For example, you may need to occupy the rental unit for your own purpose).

Eviction seems harsh, but it’s the business of rental properties. If a tenant can’t pay, you have to remove them from your property. Sometimes, it’s as simple as asking your tenant to leave. Other times, you will have to go through the formal eviction process.

What are the basics for evicting a tenant in Las Vegas?

In Nevada, a landlord can’t begin an eviction lawsuit without first legally terminating the tenancy. This means providing the tenant with a written notice, as specified in the state’s termination statute. If the tenant doesn’t move or reforms by paying the rent, you can then file a lawsuit to evict. Technically, this is called an “unlawful detainer”, or “summary eviction”, lawsuit. A landlord can evict a tenant for not paying rent or for violating the lease or rental agreement. However, be aware that the tenant may have some options, or legal defenses, available to challenge the eviction.

A landlord may evict a tenant, through either a formal eviction process or a summary eviction process, for not paying rent or for violating part of the lease or rental agreement. The eviction notice requirements for lease violations are slightly different from the eviction notice requirements for nonpayment of rent. A landlord would use the formal eviction process when suing for both possessions of the rental unit and money damages in the same lawsuit. The summary eviction process is used only for gaining possession of the rental unit. The landlord can still sue for money damages, just in a separate lawsuit.

The first step in any eviction process begins with the notification. Here a landlord must be careful as the notices are situation-specific. Which means that if you serve the wrong notice to a tenant, the court can reject both your application and case, forcing you to restart the process. Also, bear in mind that even though each of these notices has different procedural requirements, they all refer to business days as opposed to calendar days. Moreover, the day on which you served the notice does not count.

Before you start any eviction process you should make sure you have done your part as a good landlord or you might lose at tenant defenses to Nevada eviction. That’s something you definitely don’t want to happen. The most common defense used by tenants is that the landlord violated the implicit warranty of habitability. All rental units and property must be fit for habitation and be free of hazards or dangers that render the property unsafe to live. This would include the landlord’s refusal to repair the heating or electrical systems or a gaping hole in a wall that allows the elements in.

Here is a step by step guide on how to evict a bad tenant:

1. Issue a notice

All evictions must begin with a NOTICE. There are many types of notices to choose from. You may not always be able to use the quickest notice available. You must choose one that applies to your specific situation. There are separate processes and notices for manufactured homes and non-manufactured homes. An eviction may cost $200 or more from start to finish, depending on the circumstances. Evictions may take anywhere from 10 to 180 days, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Evicting a tenant in Nevada means preparing yourself for your court attendance. Make sure that you have all of the appropriate documentation for the rental property for this tenant. This includes your lease agreements and all your records of payment. Any communication that you may have had with the tenant should be documented. You need a copy of the written notice and your proof that the notice was served. If you have checks that have been classed as NSF (Non-sufficient funds) these also should be part of your documentation.

When presenting the notice personally to the tenant, the landlord by law must bring a witness. If the tenant is not currently at the residence, it is possible to leave a copy with an adult at either their residence or workplace and a copy must be sent via mail. If all else fails, leaving a copy safely in plain sight at the tenant’s residence and mailing a copy can work as well.

A walkthrough of the standard eviction notices

5 Day Notice to Pay or Quit

A document used to clearly notify a tenant of their failure to pay rent on the day it was due and because of that, a 5-day warning is in effect which means unless rent is paid in full within five (5) days, their tenancy will be terminated. The tenant has every right to defend themselves if they have reason to believe that they aren’t in default for the non-payment of rent.

If you want to remove a non-paying defaulter from your Las Vegas property, you must serve him or her with a notice instructing them to pay the rent within five business days or quit being your tenant. If the resident pays his or her rent weekly, you should serve them with a 4-Day Notice. In both instances the notice should include:

  • Amount of rent owed.
  • When the rent deficiency occurred.
  • That the tenant can correct the deficiency by paying the total amount owed within 3 days of service.
  • That the tenant may oppose the notice by filing an Affidavit or Answer in a particular, named court.
  • That the sheriff or county constable, after issuance of a court order, can remove the tenant within 24 hours of receipt of the order.
  • That the landlord may not apply unilateral steps to prevent the tenant’s access to the property or to shut off utilities until a court order is issued and the sheriff has arrived to remove the tenant.
  • That the tenant has a legal remedy if the landlord unlawfully attempts to evict the tenant.

If the landlord is using the “formal” eviction process (rather than the “summary” process), the notice to the tenant will not say that tenant can oppose the notice by filing an answer/affidavit and will be given pursuant to NRS 40.2512. After serving the notice, the landlord would then file and serve a summons and complaint.

When the tenant receives the Five-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, the tenant can stay no later than noon on the fifth full “judicial day” (judicial days do not include the date of service, weekends, or certain legal holidays)

The tenant will have a few options to react:

  • Pay the rent demanded by the landlord in the notice and stay on the rental property; or
  • Move; or
  • File an answer/affidavit with the justice court to oppose the notice and get a hearing with the judge; or
  • File a motion with the court, asking the court to “stay” (delay) the eviction for up to ten days (pursuant to NRS 70.010).

After the landlord serves a five-day notice to pay rent, the landlord cannot then refuse to accept the tenant’s rent because the landlord also wants:

  • collection fees
  • attorney’s fees
  • other costs
  • late fees
  • returned check fees
  • unpaid security deposits

What are some of the reasons an eviction for nonpayment of rent might be denied by the court?

  • Contrary to the landlord’s notice, the rent has already been paid in full.
  • The tenant tried to pay rent, but the landlord inappropriately refused to accept it.
  • The landlord accepted a partial payment of rent under circumstances that justify a denial of the landlord’s request for eviction.
  • The landlord’s notice to the tenant did not comply with Nevada law, perhaps because it did not contain the required information, did not identify the correct amount of rent due, tried to collect amounts not considered “rent,” or any other number of possible defects.
  • The landlord’s notice was not served on the tenant by one of the methods required by Nevada law.
  • The tenant is intentionally withholding rent because the landlord has failed to supply some essential item or service or has failed to keep the rental property in a habitable condition, as discussed above.
  • The tenant is defending against the eviction and counterclaiming against the landlord for money the tenant could recover under the rental agreement or any applicable law. (NRS 118A.490(1).)
  • The tenant rents the residential property that has been sold at a foreclosure sale, and the new owner or landlord has failed to comply with the requirements of NRS 40.255 or is required to use the “formal” eviction process (rather than the “summary” process).
  • The landlord’s eviction case violates the federal Fair Housing Act or Nevada law forbidding discrimination in housing based upon race, religious creed, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, ancestry, familial status, or sex. (NRS 118.100.)
  • The landlord is retaliating against the tenant because the tenant, for example, complained to a governmental agency or inspector about the condition of the rental property, complained to the landlord or police about a crime on the property, or refused to agree to regulations adopted by the landlord. (NRS 118A.510.)

Tenancy-At-Will Notice

This notice applies to a situation where a homeowner welcomes a guest to stay on his or her property without paying rent, but either party can at their will terminate the tenancy arrangement. In such a case the law demands that the landlord gives the resident a five-day notice informing him or her that the occupancy arrangement is ending. After which, if the individual does not move out after the ending of the notice period, you should serve them with a 5-day Notice to Quit for Unlawful Detainer.

For a Notice given to the tenant to evict a tenant-at-will, the landlord must “serve” (deliver) to the tenant:

  • A Five-Day Notice to Quit for Tenancy-at-Will (NRS 40.251(1)(a)(3)) and, if the tenant does not move within the five-day notice period,
  • A Five-Day Notice to Quit for Unlawful Detainer (NRS 40.254).

As much as it may not be the best option, a tenancy at will has its own advantages in comparison to other forms of tenancy. First of all, it is easier for any of the involved parties to end the agreement. As compared to other forms of tenancies, tenancy at will is less binding and therefore easier to terminate. From the landlord’s side, you will need little to no explanation as to why you need to terminate the contract. Most agreements will need a lot of legal covering to ensure that it works but not the tenancy at will. For tenancy at will, there are very little legal fees needed to complete it – owing to its simplicity. It also does not need a robust legal structure.

No Cause Notice

This Notice does not have to provide your tenant or the court with any reason for the eviction. This is a No Cause Notice to Quit to tells the tenant to vacate or be removed via court proceedings. Give this to a tenant as soon as you wish them to vacate.

If the lease expires or there is no tenancy agreement in place, a landlord can serve the tenant with the thirty-day notice to vacate the property. But if the occupant pays rent weekly, a seven-day notice suffices. Here too, if after the notice period elapses without the tenant complying, the landlord should serve a second 5-day Notice to Quit for Unlawful Detainer.

After the 30 or 7 day No Cause Notice expired, the landlord must then serve a 5 Day Unlawful Detainer notice. At the expiration of the Unlawful Detainer Notice, the landlord can file for eviction with the court and the court will order a constable to evict your tenant, unless your tenant can show that he or she has a legal defense to the No Cause Notice.

Notices for Waste, Nuisance, Drug Violations, Unlawful activities, or Assigning

In case a tenant engages in any of the above acts, a property owner should serve him or her with a 3-day notice describing the alleged violation and issue a five-day Notice to Quit for Unlawful Detainer after the elapse of the three-day notice period.

Nevada law defines a nuisance as “conduct or an ongoing condition which constitutes an unreasonable obstruction to the free use of property and causes injury and damage to other tenants or occupants of that property or adjacent buildings or structures.”

A nuisance is anything serious or repeated that affects your neighbors or the condition of your dwelling. For example, a party celebrating your child’s graduation is probably not a nuisance. Constant wild parties would be a nuisance.

Lease Violation Notices

These apply in situations where a tenant violates the rental agreement terms. The landlord can only evict a tenant for a “material” lease violation. “Material” means important or legally significant. Repeated instances of minor violations of the lease also constitute a basis for eviction. For example, not paying a security deposit could be a material lease violation.

In such a case, the Las Vegas laws allow the landlord to serve the defaulter a five-day notice, which not only describes the violation but also instructs the renter to correct it or vacate. If the five days pass without the tenant being responsive, the landlord should issue another five-day Notice to Quit for Unlawful Detainer.

2. A landlord can give the eviction notice to the tenant in a variety of ways:

  • The landlord, or an agent of the landlord, can personally give the notice to the tenant, preferably at the rental unit or at the tenant’s place of business. The landlord must have a witness present.
  • If the tenant is not in the rental unit or at the tenant’s place of business, the landlord, or the landlord’s agent, can give the notice to someone else at either location. The landlord must also then mail a copy to the tenant at either the rental unit or the tenant’s place of business. If the landlord mails the notice, the landlord should request a return receipt for proof of mailing.
  • If the landlord does not know where the tenant is currently staying and also does not know where the tenant works, or no one is available at either location to give the notice to, the tenant can post the notice in an obvious spot at the rental unit (such as taped to the front door of the rental unit). The landlord must also mail a copy to the rental unit. The landlord should request a return receipt when mailing the notice.

3. Complaint-For-a-Summary Eviction

After serving the tenant with the appropriate notices, a Las Vegas property owner has to wait for the resident to either comply with the notice terms or file an answer in court. If the occupant does neither, the landlord must take the report to the Justice Court and file a Summary Eviction Complaint. Upon which, after reviewing the case, the court can grant an Ejection Order together with an Instruction-to-Order form. If the renter filed a timely Answer, the court will summon both the tenant and the landlord for a hearing. If the tenant does not show up to defend the charges, the judge will make a default judgment of guilt.

The complaint is filed with the Justice Court in the appropriate township along with the following documents:

  • Copies of the eviction notices
  • Copy of the rental agreement
  • Original Affidavit of Service and, if appropriate, a certificate of mailing

Before filing the Complaint, the landlord must wait until the 6th day after personal service of the Notice to Quit or Unlawful Detainer, and until the 9th day if the tenant was not personally served and service was put into force by mail.

4. Filing an Eviction Lawsuit in Nevada

If the tenant does not pay rent or move out after receiving the eviction notice, then the landlord can file a complaint and summons with the courthouse in the township where the rental unit is located. The landlord must successfully win this lawsuit before the tenant can be evicted. Tenants may have several defenses available to an eviction in Nevada for nonpayment of rent, such as the landlord’s failure to maintain habitable rental premises.

It is illegal for the landlord to attempt to remove the tenant from the rental unit without a court order. For example, the landlord cannot change the locks on the rental unit or shut off the utilities to the rental unit. This is often referred to as a “self-help” eviction, and it is illegal in Nevada.

5. Court Hearing

The court rarely issues an eviction order before the hearing of a nonpayment of rent case. Still, the court can rule for the tenant especially if his or her Affidavit or Answer contains undeniable facts. In such a case the court will dismiss the action, compelling the landlord to file and pursue the Formal tenant eviction process. But if the landlord has a strong case, the court will grant the Order for Summary Eviction.

Otherwise, the court will issue an Order for Summary Eviction if the landlord has filed the following documents:

  • Proof of service on the tenant by either personal service, attested by a witness, or by a certificate of mailing.
  • Endorsement by the sheriff, constable or process server attesting to the time and manner of service.

If the Order is issued, the landlord needs to give it to the county constable and arrange with that office to evict the tenant.

6. The Sheriff or Constable Lock Out

The judge can order eviction immediately at the end of the trial. But the court generally gives the tenant time to move out, usually one to four weeks. If the tenant remains after that period, the landlord has to hire the sheriff or marshal to carry out a forcible eviction.

After issuing the removal order, the court will send the instructions directly to the Constable or Sherriff, who upon receiving it, will go to the tenant’s premises and place a twenty-four-hour Notice to Vacate. Once the twenty-four hours lapse, the Constable has the authority to evict the individual. Present to witness the exercise and change the locks during the lockout, should be the landlord, or the landlord’s representative.

Even though the tenant eviction process in Las Vegas is long-winded and elaborate, it is an owner’s best interest to adhere to the city’s Eviction Statues. It will be inexpensive, less time consuming and most importantly legal. Good Luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

0 Flares Facebook 0 Google+ 0 LinkedIn 0 Twitter 0 0 Flares ×