Our lawmakers in Carson City passed bills governing all areas of the law in their 2021 session, even during the pandemic they were hard at work. Many of these laws focused on housing law. Our legislature was busy addressing many inequities in access to housing based upon socio-economic position and made efforts to address homelessness in Nevada. The 2021 legislature passed provide renters with greater protections during the pandemic.
They also looked forward in laying the foundation to provide for a framework for alternative housing options for low-income Nevadan’s by requiring cities to provide zoning for “tiny homes.” Our lawmakers were very concerned with providing Nevada renters with access to rental assistance and the time to apply and receive such aide. They helped renters by reducing late fees and providing better notice of proposed rent increases. The following is a summary of the laws passed by our 2020 legislature regarding housing law in Nevada.
Homeowners and housing
Assembly Bill 141: This Bill requires the Courts to seal records of summary evictions that occurred during the COVID-19 state of emergency. Specifically, the new bill amends NRS 40.2545 to read as follows:
1. If a court grants an action for summary eviction pursuant to NRS 40.253 during the COVID-19 emergency, the court shall automatically seal the eviction case court file.
2. In addition to the provisions for the automatic sealing of an eviction case court file pursuant to subsection 1, in any action for summary eviction pursuant to NRS 40.253, 40.254 or 40.2542, the eviction case court file is sealed automatically and not open to inspection: . .
This Bill took effect for evictions starting on March 12, 2020 and ends “on the date on which the Governor terminates the emergency described in the Declaration.” This Bill is critical to help renters who have been evicted due to job loses move forward and be able to rent another place. It is very difficult to rent again after an eviction. Therefore, if you were evicted after March 12, 2020, make sure the Court sealed the eviction record.
https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/81st2021/Bill/7469/Text Effective May 27, 2021.
Assembly Bill 249: This Bill Prohibits common interest communities that are governed by homeowners’ associations from restricting daily hours for seasonal construction below what is locally authorized. This is an unusual ordinance and must have been prompted by a specific situation facing certain HOA communities. This is why it is important to bring problematic issues you are facing to the attention of your local state lawmaker in your district.
Effective October 1, 2021.
Assembly Bill 308: This law prevents landlords from charging a late fee if rent is paid within three days of being due and extends required notice period for rent increases. Specifically, the new law states: ”In a tenancy that is longer than week to week, no late fee may be charged or imposed until at least 3 calendar days after the date that rent is due. . .” In addition, said late fee cannot exceed five percent of the amount of the periodic rent and the maximum amount of the late fee must not be increased based upon a late fee that was previously imposed. In addition, the law changed the notice needed for a rent increase This bill increases the period for providing notices of increases in rent to:
(1) for a periodic tenancy of 1 month or more, 60 days in advance of the first rental payment to be increased; or
(2) for a periodic tenancy of less than 1 month, 30 days in advance of the first rental payment to be increased.
https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/81st2021/Bill/7813/Overview Effective July 1, 2021.
Senate Bill 486: This bill is in response to the pandemic, and it temporarily stops evictions if a tenant is awaiting rental assistance and can show they are diligently monitoring their “CHAP” (Clark County Housing Assistance Program) application. This program was created by the Cares Act and requires landlords to cooperate with the application process of their tenant in exchange for direct payment of rents to the landlord. This is not just an amendment to a law but an entire Act relating to property including the defining certain terms. This Act temporarily authorizes tenants who are facing eviction proceedings to assert certain affirmative defenses relating to rental assistance. The act also establishes procedures relating the court’s handling of evictions involving CHAP applications. It also temporarily establishes procedures relating to claims for wrongful eviction and authorizes a court to stay a designated eviction proceeding in order to facilitate alternative dispute resolution through the CHAP program. The law temporarily requires notices for designated eviction proceedings to contain certain information regarding the CHAP program and establishes temporary procedures relating to the provision of rental assistance to certain landlords of single family residences with at least one tenant who has defaulted in the payment of rent. The primary purpose of the Act is to allow for the disbursement of certain federal money for the payment of rents in circumstances relating to the pandemic.
Effective immediately through June 5, 2023, or earlier date set by state Supreme Court.
Senate Bill 103: This bill prohibits a property insurer from refusing to issue, cancelling, refusing to renew or increasing the premium or rate for certain policies of insurance on the sole
basis of the specific breed or mixture of breeds of a dog that is harbored or owned on an insured property unless the particular dog is known to be dangerous or vicious or declared to be dangerous or vicious pursuant to the public health laws of the State. This law may have a significant impact on homeowners insurance rates in our state. Many major insurance companies have a list of dog breads that are listed in the policy that will not be covered for a dog bite attack under the policy. This law makes those provisions void. So basically, the risk for those breeds will now be paid by all homeowners in Nevada.
Effective Jan. 1, 2022.
Senate Bill 150: This new law requires Nevada’s most populated counties of Clark and Washoe counties and the state’s largest cities to designate zoning districts where “tiny houses” may be built. This is an effort to alleviate the homeless issue in these areas by providing affordable alternative housing.
Effective Jan. 1, 2024.
Senate Bill 254: Shockingly, this bill was passed by our legislature but vetoed by Governor Sisolak. As a landlord, I agree with the Governor’s veto. The law would have barred a landlord from checking a prospective tenant’s criminal history or arrest record and refusing to rent on the basis of that record. I am not sure what the legislature was thinking on this one. A landlord has a right to know the criminal history of a prospective tenant. If the property is located near a school, do you really want someone to rent the property to a convicted child sex offender?
Senate Bill 311: This bill Authorizes the Nevada Rural Housing Authority to create a for-profit business entity to support affordable housing development. This is an effort to help develop the smaller towns in the State.
Effective October 1, 2021.
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