End of state eviction moratorium opens door to thousands of new Las Vegas cases

Fri, Nov 13, 2020 (6 p.m.)

Roughly 4,000 eviction cases have been opened in Las Vegas Justice Court since a statewide pandemic-driven moratorium expired about a month ago.

The 3,981 cases the court has opened between Oct. 29 and Wednesday aren’t all eviction actions because the landlord-served eviction notice that initiates the process is not filed with the court. 

Tenants who receive a pay-or-quit notice from the constable’s office or a process server have seven days to pay back rent or vacate the premises, which would be unknown to the court.

Where the court becomes involved is if the tenant files an affidavit contesting the eviction or the week goes by without a response and the landlord continues the process with the constable’s office, which assists with evictions.

Gov. Steve Sisolak placed a statewide moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent in March in response to sudden and sweeping job losses and other economic hardship in light of shutdowns to control the spread of COVID-19. Evictions for other causes continued, but at a relative trickle.

Sisolak lifted the moratorium on Oct. 15 but because of the official court timelines the first day landlords could file complaints was Oct. 29.

Landlords had previously been able to kick out tenants for safety concerns, and as of Sept. 1 could evict for cause other than nonpayment of rent, including reneging on a payment plan if it was an official amendment to their leases. 

A similar Centers for Disease Control and Prevention order stopping evictions remains in effect through Dec. 31, although to qualify for the federal protections tenants must show an inability to pay rent because of a loss of income. They must also prove they tried to obtain other assistance and have attempted to make a partial payment.

Las Vegas Justice Court has averaged about 31,000 evictions annually over the past five years.

In October 2019, the court saw 2,636 summary eviction filings. Last November, it had 2,387.

Evictions can take 10 to 180 days depending on the circumstances of the case, according to the Metro Police-managed Constable for the Las Vegas Township.

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