Why These Housing Bills are Bad for Nevadans

The 2023 Legislative Session in Nevada has introduced several housing bills that could negatively affect the state’s housing industry and economy. Here are the reasons why these bills may be detrimental to the people of Nevada.

 

AB 340, as amended

 

Restructures the existing summary eviction process for the sole purposes of imposing additional delays and costs upon landlords. 

Existing law requires service of an initial notice, the filing of a tenant answer before expiration of that notice, and the filing of a landlord complaint; AB 340 requires the landlord to serve an initial notice, wait for its expiration, file their complaint, wait for summons to be issued by the court, and then serve such pleadings on the tenant – only after these tasks are completed is the tenant permitted to respond, with additional time provided for same.  

 

Makes the existing summary eviction process longer than most states – including California. 

California law requires tenants to respond to summary eviction complaints in 5 days. AB 340 would double that period, allowing 10 days for a response.

 

Fails to supply any timing parameters for the courts so as to ensure the timely setting of cases for hearing and eventual adjudication, which allows for infinite administrative delays. 

Furthermore, AB 340 actually strips away the only timing parameter in existing law – that which requires a sheriff or constable to effectuate a lockout within 36 hours of posting an order. Under AB 340, there is no provided deadline for effectuating a lockout.

 

Allows the courts to adjudicate and dismiss/deny summary eviction cases at time of filing (and without first holding a hearing) on the ambiguous and over-broad basis of the case lacking “legal sufficiency.” 

Litigants deserve to have their day in court; AB 340 would deny them such right.  

 

Seeks to make the summary eviction process mirror that of the formal eviction process (the same process used in regular civil litigation).

This is meant to dissuade landlords from using the summary eviction process altogether – effectively killing it in an indirect manner. 

 

Forces summary eviction cases to end with no decision. AB 340 strengthens existing law by expressly dictating that where a “legal defense” is raised, the case cannot proceed further in summary eviction.  

A legal defense does not need to be a “meritorious defense,” it can simply be a general denial. This forces landlords to have to restart the eviction anew using the aforementioned formal process and incur significant delays and added costs. This language effectively kills the summary eviction process in an indirect manner.  

 

Conclusion

AB 340 will arguably make Nevada’s summary eviction process one of the longest and most overly complicated processes in the nation. AB 340 does not strengthen, sufficiently clarify, or improve existing summary eviction processes; it does the opposite. For these reasons, AB 340 represents poor policy that will be detrimental to landlords and to Nevadans in general. 

 

SB 335, as amended

 

Reauthorizes and extends the eviction protections that were implemented via AB 486 (81st Session), which were only intended to be temporary in nature and in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The ending of the pandemic emergency negated the need for continuation of these protections. 

 

Continues protections that have long been viewed as bad policy for Nevada. SB 335 forces the courts to indefinitely stay evictions if a tenant simply applies for rental assistance. 

Tenants should be free to seek rental assistance, but that process should be undertaken well before eviction is initiated. Allowing tenants to use a mere application for assistance (i.e., filling out a form) to indefinitely delay an ongoing eviction action, remain in the rental premises without payment, and with no guarantee of any approval on such application is inherently inequitable and constitutionally questionable. 

 

Subjects landlords and the courts to lengthy delays (i.e., multiple months) while pending applications are reviewed and evaluated by administrative agencies at the local level. 

Litigants and the courts can only proceed at the mercy of such agencies, who can and do cease operations sporadically, and who can and do alter eligibility requirements on a regular basis resulting in mass confusion.

 

Allows for the continuance of abuse by bad actor tenants who invoke the protections of the bill for the sole purpose of delaying eviction proceedings and rent payments for as long as possible. 

Many of these bad actors file applications serially, one after another and under different programs, all for the above stated purpose. 

 

Allows for the continuance of protections that are almost universally disliked by the judiciary and their respective administrative personnel due to docket management issues. 

AB 486, which this bill extends, has been panned by countless members of the judiciary, on the record, as the root cause of the courts’ inability to timely set hearings and ultimately adjudicate cases. Staying mass numbers of cases indefinitely causes docket turmoil. Attempting to interpret the sufficiency of rental assistance applications despite constantly changing criteria is next to impossible.    

 

Authorizes all courts to implement their own eviction diversion programs via a general grant of authority with little to no parameters other than imposing an additional 60-day delay on such cases.  

This will subject litigants to a multitude of court programs across the state with differing rules, procedures, and limitations. Such grant of authority is constitutionally suspect, as it expressly allows the judiciary to effectively make new eviction laws. 

 

Conclusion

SB 335 will exacerbate and continue the problems that have been wreaking havoc on the summary eviction process and the courts for the past 2 two years. These problems are well documented and well known almost universally. These problems will not be fixed by simply revising portions of the law as SB 335 advertises; the only solution is to allow the protections of SB 335 (formerly AB 486) to sunset as originally intended. For these reasons, SB 335 represents poor policy that will be detrimental to landlords and to Nevadans in general. 

 

SB 371, as amended

 

Provides express authority to local municipalities to enact rent control ordinances, which will dramatically alter the rental housing landscape in Nevada so as to make it resemble that of California.

Housing issues are not matters of local concern and must be dealt with at the state level for uniformity and consistency reasons. 

 

Provides express authority to local municipalities to enact ordinances related to affordable housing, which is an overly broad term that seemingly extends unfettered authority.

Again, housing issues are not matters of local concern and must be dealt with at the state level for uniformity and consistency reasons.

 

Authorizes a potential patchwork of new local laws that will vary from county to county – and from city to city.

This forces landlords and tenants to become familiar with, and comply with, numerous local law policies and procedures that will completely lack any uniformity. 

 

Authorizes a failed and disastrous policy in rent control. 

Authorizing local municipalities to implement artificial caps on rental rates “to protect tenants” neither protects them nor protects the quality or quantity of housing. Where rent controls have been implemented, the exact opposite has occurred. 

 

Authorizes a potential rental housing landscape that would mirror that of California.

Affordable housing and rental controls are not drawing prospective residents to California; to the contrary, they represent one of many reasons existing California residents are fleeing the state in droves to its eastern neighbor – Nevada. Mimicking California is not advantageous on this issue. 

 

Conclusion

SB 371 will have a disastrous impact on Nevada’s rental housing industry, all residents of Nevada, and to the economy of Nevada in general. Authorizing local municipalities to implement failed policies in rent control would be devastating. For these reasons, SB 371 represents poor policy that will be detrimental to landlords and to Nevadans in general. 

 

SB 426, as amended

 

Seeks to implement state-wide rent control to all existing and prospective tenants, which will dramatically alter the rental housing landscape in Nevada beyond that of what exists in California. 

 

Imposes a rental increase cap of 5%, which would make it one of the most stringent rental control schemes in the nation. 

 

Provides for only a narrow exception to such limitations, of which the vast majority of Nevada landlords would be unable to obtain, essentially making such rent controls universal across the state. 

 

Authorizes a failed and disastrous policy in rent control. Implementing artificial caps on rental rates “to protect tenants” neither protects them nor protects the quality or quantity of housing.

Where rent controls have been implemented, the exact opposite has occurred.  The cost of rental housing should be dictated by the market and supply in demand. 

 

Conclusion

SB 426 will have a disastrous impact on Nevada’s rental housing industry, all residents of Nevada, and to the economy of Nevada in general. Rent control is a proven failed policy which will not advance Nevada; rent control will only cause negative economic impacts which will reverberate across all industries. SB 426 fails to offer a solution to Nevada’s affordable housing shortage, it simply makes it worse. Nevada should be focused on increasing capacity, not limiting existing capacity that is already strained. For these reasons, SB 426 represents poor policy that will be detrimental to landlords and to Nevadans in general.

 

AB 298, as amended

 

Seeks to implement a limited form of rental control as to certain tenants – and specifically, a 10% cap on those that are over the age of 62.

Even though the form is limited, it is rent control nonetheless, and represents proven failed policy. Further, AB 298 is a slippery slope to the codification of future rent controls for other classes of people that cannot be permitted. 

 

Implements a cap on an overly broad class of persons by including those that receive benefits pursuant to the Social Security Act (SSA). 

Not all who receive SSA benefits are over the age of 62 – which allows this bill to attach to an unknown number of additional class members. 

 

Forces landlords to obtain personal information about tenants necessary to comply with the imposed cap, information that landlords do not possess, may not be able to obtain, and that historically has been avoided for fear of inadvertently violating the state and federal fair housing laws. 

 

Mandates that landlords amend existing lease agreements to provide a rigid form of notification (separate detailed appendix) as to fees charged in the lease. 

This is unnecessary given that this information is, and has always been, set forth in the lease agreements themselves. 

 

Conclusion

SB 298 imposes rent control, which even in limited form is a proven failed policy.  It is a slippery slope to further artificially imposed rent restrictions which run contrary to free-market concepts. For these reasons, SB 298 will be detrimental to landlords and to Nevadans in general.

 

We will continue to provide updates throughout this Legislative Session.  For more updates, please view our Legal Updates page.

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