Non-Payment of Rent

When can a landlord evict you for past due rent?
By law, the landlord must serve most tenants with only a 5-day notice to pay the past due rent or quit (vacate) the premises. This notice may be served at any time after the rent becomes due.
NRS 40.253

If (a) your rent is paid weekly or within a shorter period of time and (b) you have resided on the premises for 45 days or less, [hereafter referred to in this brochure as a "weekly tenant"] then the landlord may elect to serve you with a notice of only four (4) days.

Is there a grace period for payment of past due rent?
No. The manager/landlord can serve you a 5-day notice (or a 4-day notice for "weekly tenants") to pay rent or quit the premises even if you are only one day late.

How do you contest a notice to pay rent or quit the premises?
You can contest a notice to pay rent or quit the premises by filing an answering affidavit with the Justice of the Peace and appearing at the hearing. The answering affidavit is a sworn statement by the tenant stating the reasons he believes that the back rent is not owed, or stating that the tenant has attempted to pay the back rent and it was refused.  If you do not file a timely affidavit, your landlord can have you locked out by the sheriff within 24 hours.

A landlord shall not refuse to accept rent from a tenant which the tenant attempts to pay after the landlord has served notice, if the landlord's refusal is based on the fact that the tenant has not paid collection fees, attorneys fees or other costs other than rent, a reasonable charge for the late payment of rent or dishonored checks or a security deposit.

An answering affidavit must be filed with the court by noon on the fifth day following service of the notice to pay rent or quit the premises (or the 4th day for "weekly tenants"). A file-stamped copy (which you can obtain from the clerk) must be served upon the landlord or manager. When counting days of service, do not count the day you are served, holidays, or weekends.

To file an affidavit in answer to the eviction notice, you must go to the Justice Court with your 5-day (or 4-day) notice, and identification to allow positive I.D., so that your signature may be notarized on the affidavit. You will also be required to pay a filing fee unless the Justice of the Peace signs an order waiving the fee due to your poverty. Call the Justice Court Clerk to find out the amount of the fee.

Upon filing your affidavit the Court must grant you a hearing no matter what you say in it.
NRS 40.253

At the hearing the judge will decide whether you owe the rent or whether you have a legal defense to the landlord's claim that you should be evicted. If the judge decides that you failed to pay your rent without a legal excuse, the judge will usually issue a 24-hour order of removal. If the judge finds that you have a legal defense, s/he will dismiss the case.
NRS 40.253.3

Once the case has been dismissed, the landlord, in order to proceed further, must file a new action under a more formal legal process found at NRS 40.290-40.420.

Can I delay moving?
If the judge proceeds with eviction, at your request, and at her/his discretion, s/he can give you up to 10 extra days to move.
NRS 70.010

What happens when the Justice of the Peace issues a 24-hour order of removal?
If you do not pay the rents owed or file an affidavit contesting the notice by noon on the fifth day, 4 days for “weekly tenants, the landlord can then obtain a 24-hour eviction order from the Justice Court. A few landlords, not subject to NRS 118A, may peaceably lock you out without a court order if you do not file an affidavit on time. With an eviction order the landlord can have the constable lock you out within 24 hours. You do not get a full 24 hours to move. Typically in Washoe County, the sheriff arrives within 24 hours after the order was issued and removes all occupants within 10-15 minutes. It does not matter whether you are sick, disabled or have children; you can be locked out within 24 hours.

Can the 24-hour order of removal be stopped or contested?
No one can stop a 24-hour order except your landlord or the Justice of the Peace. If the sheriff comes to remove you with a lockout order and no prior eviction notice was ever served or received by you, this could be an illegal eviction. The Justice of the Peace can stop the eviction if you file a Motion to Vacate the order removing you. Contact a legal services agency or a lawyer immediately.

Additional information