The Nevada state legislature passed SB151 this season and it was signed by the governor. It took effect July 1, 2019. Here is a summary of the changes to Nevada landlord-tenant law:
- The notice period extends from 5 days to 7 judicial days.
- We must hire a licensed process server, Constable, or attorney to post notices.
- The Constable’s lockout notice period must be between 24-36 hours.
- Evicted tenants must be allowed access to the property within 5 days after a lockout to retrieve essential items.
- Late fees are capped at 5% of the rent amount.
This new law is not the end of the world. We can thank the NVAR and NARPM (of which we are proud members) for helping to stop even worse rules being passed into Nevada state law. However, the times they are a-changin…
From 5 days to 7 “judicial days”?
In Nevada, a “judicial day” means a day that court is in session. This means the new 7 day pay or quit notice (previously 5 days) will take more than a week. We cannot count weekends or holidays in the 7 days. In Henderson and North Las Vegas, the time will be even longer because those courts aren’t open on Fridays.
What does all this mean for Nevada landlords?
First, it means that evictions will take a bit longer. Non-payers can stay longer in your property. It will cost more to handle late payers. Landlords will have to pay for a licensed professional to post official notices such as: Pay or Quit, Unlawful Detainer, 30 Day No-Cause, etc. The court will reject your eviction filing if you didn’t hire the appropriate pro to post the notice. Further, landlords cannot charge more than 5% of the rental amount for late fees, no matter what the lease says. Bottom line: bad tenants will now cost Nevada landlords more money. You can no longer charge sufficient late fees to offset the costs of dealing with a habitual late payer.
In addition, you will have to specifically provide evicted tenants access to the property within 5 days of the lockout, so they can retrieve essential items. This means things like medicine, medical equipment, important documents and such.
How are we dealing with this?
Fortunately, we at Strawberry Property Management have very few late paying tenants (about 98% on time payments). However, we have raised our credit requirements to reflect the increased difficulty and expense of dealing with late payers or non-payers. We now require a minimum credit score of 650 for rental applicants to qualify, unless they are willing and able to pay an increased security deposit. Furthermore, we had to increase NSF fees for tenants who bounce their rent payments.
We already work with evicted tenants to allow them to get their stuff asap after lockout, so that won’t change. It is cheaper and better to allow people to take their belongings asap.
Tighter credit requirements means it will likely take a bit longer to find qualified renters. This is an unfortunate side effect of overzealous new politicians pushing poor policy.
Ultimately, legislation like this is bad for renters, because it forces landlords to tighten their rental application requirements and raise rents, to help offset the costs of bad-tenant-friendly rental laws. On the plus side, this might make Nevada appeal to investors more, since our state laws are still quite landlord-friendly, overall.