Responding To An Eviction Notice

Discover the five basic steps to take to contest an eviction notice from your landlord.  Learn about the type of eviction notice you received; the time you have to take action; and the options available to you, including opposing the notice through the court.

Step 1:  Learn how the eviction process works
Step 2:  Identify the type of notice

Step 3:  Calculate the time to take action
Step 4:  Move, file with the court, or comply with the notice
Step 5:  Attend a court hearing, if necessary

Each of the five steps is discussed below.

Step 1:
Learn How The Eviction Process Works

Getting an eviction notice can be an overwhelming experience.  Taking the time to understand how the eviction process works will help a tenant evaluate the options available and choose the best option under the circumstances.

TIP!  Even if you are tempted, don't skip the first step!  Step one involves educating yourself about evictions and understanding what options you might have when you receive an eviction notice.

To learn more about the eviction process, click to explore Overview of the Eviction Process, Types of Eviction Notices, Filing a Summary Eviction, and Filing a Formal Eviction.  For additional information about landlord-tenant issues, browse the other topics under Evictions & Housing.

Step 2:
Identify The Type Of Notice

The type of eviction notice the landlord served will tell the tenant why the landlord is trying to get an eviction.  Knowing the type of notice and the basis for the eviction will help the tenant figure out:

  • What actions the tenant might take in response to the notice,
  • What defenses might be available to the tenant,
  • What document the tenant can file with the court to contest the notice, and
  • How much time the tenant has to take action.

TIP!  The eviction notice you received might have been prepared and served by the constable.  But it might also have been prepared and served by your landlord.  Don't assume that an eviction notice isn't "legal" or "real" or that you don't have to respond to it simply because it doesn't have a court stamp or look "official."  Take any notice you receive seriously!

Most landlords will first use the "summary" eviction process to evict a tenant because it is relatively simple and quick.  To learn more about the summary eviction process, click to read Choosing the Summary or Formal Process and Filing a Summary Eviction or click on one of the following flowcharts to see how the summary eviction process works:
Flowchart - Summary Eviction for Nonpayment  
Flowchart - Summary Eviction Other Than Nonpayment

If the landlord is using the "summary" eviction process, as most landlords do, the landlord could send the tenant any one of the following notices:

  • Five-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit.  For nonpayment of rent evictions, Nevada law requires a five-day notice to the tenant that tells the tenant to either pay the rent or "quit" (vacate) the premises.  Click to visit Rent Notices to learn more about the notice requirements and possible defenses.
  • Three-Day Notice to Quit for Nuisance, Waste, Assigning/Subletting, Unlawful Business, or Drug Violation.  Evictions for nuisance, waste, improper assignment/subletting, unlawful business, or Drug Violation require a three-day notice to the tenant that describes the alleged nuisance, improper assignment/sublet, or unlawful business, or the like, followed by a five-day notice that tells the tenant to leave because tenant's presence is now unlawful (known as a Five-Day Notice to Quit for Unlawful Detainer).  Click to visit Notices for Nuisance, Waste, Assigning/Subletting, Unlawful Business, or Drug Violation to learn more about the notice requirements and possible defenses.
  • Five-Day Notice to Perform Lease Condition or Quit.   Lease violation evictions require a five-day notice to the tenant that describes the lease violation and directs the tenant to either "cure" (fix or correct) the violation or leave, followed by a second five-day notice that tells the tenant to leave because retaining possession of the premises is now unlawful (known as a Five-Day Notice to Quit for Unlawful Detainer).  Click to visit Lease Violation Notices to learn more about the notice requirements and possible defenses.
  • Five-Day Notice to Quit for Tenancy-at-Will.   Tenancy-at-will evictions require a five-day notice to the tenant that says the tenancy-at-will is terminating and the tenant must leave, followed by a second five-day notice instructing the tenant to leave because tenant's presence on the property is now unlawful (known as a Five-Day Notice to Quit for Unlawful Detainer).  Click to visit Tenancy-at-Will Notices to learn more about the notice requirements and possible defenses.
  • Seven-Day or Thirty-Day "No Cause" Notice to Quit.  No-cause evictions require a thirty-day notice to the tenant (or a seven-day notice if the tenant pays rent weekly), followed by a five-day notice instructing the tenant to leave because retaining possession of the premises is now unlawful (known as a Five-Day Notice to Quit for Unlawful Detainer).  Click to visit No-Cause Notices to learn more about the notice requirements and possible defenses.

A landlord might be using the “formal” eviction process (rather than the "summary" process) if the property has been sold at a foreclosure sale and the bank or new owner is trying to remove the occupant, or if a mobile home park is evicting a park tenant for nonpayment of space rent, or if the landlord has already tried the summary eviction process but has been unsuccessful.  To learn more about the formal eviction process, click to read Choosing the Summary or Formal Process and Filing a Formal Eviction or click on the following flowchart to see how the "formal" eviction process works:
Flowchart - Formal Eviction

If the landlord is using the "formal" eviction process, the landlord will serve the tenant with:

  • One eviction notice (which could be for nonpayment of rent, lease violation, nuisance, tenancy-at-will, or for no cause) followed by a Summons and a Complaint for Unlawful Detainer.  Along with the complaint, the tenant might receive a notice setting a show-cause hearing and shortening tenant's time to respond to the complaint.

 

Step 3:
Calculate The Time To Take Action

How much time the tenant has to act in response to an eviction notice depends on how much time is given in the notice itself.  In other words, the notice could be a three-day notice, a five-day notice, or a thirty-day notice.  But the tenant should be aware of some special considerations:

  • Five-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit.  If the tenant was served with a Five-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit and the tenant decides to file an affidavit/answer to contest the eviction, the tenant must file the papers with the appropriate court on or before noon on the fifth full judicial day following the date of service of the notice.  In other words, after noon on the fifth day, the tenant's affidavit/answer will be untimely.
  • Five-Day Notice to Quit for Unlawful Detainer.  If the tenant was served with a Five-Day Notice to Quit for Unlawful Detainer and decides to file an affidavit/answer to contest the eviction, the tenant must file the papers with the appropriate court on or before the fifth full day following the date of service of the notice.  In other words, the tenant gets five full days to file.

TIP!  You can only file an affidavit/answer with the court in response to these two five-day notices.  One important difference between the two notices is that the nonpayment notice requires you to file your papers by noon on the fifth day, while the unlawful detainer notice gives you the full fifth day to file.  Keep in mind that "filing" means actually completing your papers and submitting them to the court clerk.  It does not mean simply getting to the courthouse before the deadline!  So leave yourself plenty of time.  Different justice courts close at different times, so contact the justice court where you will be filing for the hours of operation.

  • Five-Day Notice to Perform Lease Condition or Quit.  If the tenant received a Five-Day Notice to Perform Lease Condition or Quit and the tenant wants to "cure" (fix) the lease violation, the tenant must fix the problem within three days after the date of service.  Tenant should then provide notice to the landlord that the lease violation has been cured.

If the notice tells the tenant to take some action in ten days or less (as nearly all eviction notices will), only judicial days are counted.  (JCRCP 6(a).)  In other words, the tenant (and the court) will not count the day of service, weekends, or legal Holidays.

But if the notice tells the tenant to take action in eleven days or more (for example, a Thirty-Day "No Cause" Notice to Quit), straight calendar days are counted.  (JCRCP 6(a).)  That is, the tenant (and the court) will not count the day of service, but will count all other days, including weekends and legal holidays.

EXAMPLE:  Tenant was served a Five-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit or a Five-Day Notice to Quit for Unlawful Detainer on a Monday.

Monday – the day of service is not counted.
Tuesday – is counted as day # 1.
Wednesday – is counted as day # 2.
Thursday – is counted as day # 3.
Friday – is counted as day # 4.
Saturday – weekend days are not counted.
Sunday – weekend days are not counted.
Monday – is counted as day # 5.

If the tenant received a Five-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, the tenant would have until noon on Monday to file an affidavit/answer with the court to contest the eviction.  If the tenant received a Five-Day Notice to Quit for Unlawful Detainer, the tenant would have the fifth full day to file.


Step 4:
Move, File With The Court, Or Comply With The Notice

When the tenant receives an eviction notice or notices (or an eviction notice followed by a complaint), the tenant's options are generally to:

  • Move out, 
  • Comply with the notice and "cure" (fix) the default (by, for example, paying the rent demanded or fixing the lease violation), and/or
  • File an affidavit or answer with the court.

If the landlord is using the "summary" eviction process, the tenant can file an affidavit/answer with the court within the notice period (before the notice expires) to contest the eviction and get a hearing in front of the judge should the landlord move forward with the eviction.  To file an affidavit/answer, the tenant must:

1.  File a completed Tenant's Affidavit/Answer in Opposition to Summary Eviction.

The Tenant's Affidavit/Answer in Opposition to Summary Eviction forms are available, free of charge, at the Civil Law Self-Help Center.  You can also download the form on your computer by clicking one of the listed formats underneath the form's title below. Choose the "Nonpayment" version of the Affidavit/Answer if you received a Five-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. For all other eviction notices, choose the "Other" option:

TENANT'S AFFIDAVIT/ANSWER IN OPPOSITION TO SUMMARY EVICTION FOR NONPAYMENT OF RENT
Word Fillable | Pdf Fillable Pdf Nonfillable | Form Guide 

TENANT'S AFFIDAVIT/ANSWER IN OPPOSITION TO SUMMARY EVICTION--OTHER 
Word Fillable  Pdf Fillable  Pdf Nonfillable

2.  File a completed Civil Court Cover Sheet.

A cover sheet is available for free at the Self-Help Center, or you can download it on your computer by clicking one of the formats underneath the form's title below:

CIVIL COURT COVER SHEET 
Pdf Fillable 

3.  File all eviction notices served on the tenant.

4.  Pay a $71 filing fee.

The tenant can apply to waive the filing fee by submitting an Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (also called a "fee waiver application").  A fee waiver application is available, free of charge, at the Civil Law Self-Help Center.  You can also download the form on your computer by clicking one of the listed formats underneath the form's title below:

APPLICATION TO WAIVE FILING FEE (LAS VEGAS ONLY)
Word Document 

APPLICATION TO WAIVE FILING FEE (OTHER THAN LAS VEGAS)
Pdf Fillable | Pdf Nonfillable

If the landlord is using the "formal" eviction process, the tenant might be served with a Complaint for Unlawful Detainer and possibly an Order to Show Cause or a Notice of Trial Setting that already schedules an eviction hearing.  The tenant can file an answer to the landlord's complaint to challenge the eviction and the money damages landlord is seeking. Tenant can also file a Statement Why Temorary Writ Should Not Issue if the landlord has set a hearing for a temporary writ of restitution. To file an answer and statement in response to the Complaint for Unlawful Detainer, the tenant must:

1.  File a completed Tenant's Answer to Complaint for Unlawful Detainer.

A Tenant's Answer to Complaint for Unlawful Detainer form is available, free of charge, at the Civil Law Self-Help Center.  You can also download the form on your computer by clicking one of the listed formats underneath the form's title below:

TENANT'S ANSWER TO COMPLAINT FOR UNLAWFUL DETAINER 
Word Fillable | Pdf FillablePdf Nonfillable | Form Guide 

2.  Pay a $71 filing fee or submit a fee waiver applicatioin (see above).

3. File a completed Statement Why Temporary Writ Should Not Issue.

A form is available for free at the Self-Help Center, or you can download the form by clicking one of the formats underneath the form's title below:

STATEMENT WHY TEMPORARY WRIT OF RESTITUTION SHOULD NOT ISSUE
Word Fillable | Pdf FillablePdf Nonfillable | Form Guide 

Click to visit Basics of Court Forms and Filing for specific information about how to file in the justice court or click to visit our Justice Courts page for links and contact information for your court.

TIP!  Different justice courts may have different filing requirements, so be sure to familiarize yourself with your court's procedures.  The Las Vegas Justice Court, for instance, requires all documents to be filed electronically, so anyone filing in that court needs an e-mail address to set up an electronic filing account.  Click to visit the Las Vegas Justice Court website to learn more about electronic filing.


Step 5:
Attend A Court Hearing, If Necessary

If the landlord is using the "summary" eviction process, the landlord must wait until the eviction notice period runs (or the tenant files an affidavit/answer, depending on the justice court's particular rules and practices) and can then file a Complaint for Summary Eviction with the court.  Click to read Filing a Summary Eviction for more information.

If the tenant has filed an affidavit/answer with the court during the eviction notice period, the court will set a hearing in response to the landlord's complaint.  The hearing usually takes place within one week.  At the hearing, the court will decide whether an order for summary eviction should issue.  If the tenant fails to appear at the hearing, the court will likely grant the eviction.  If the landlord fails to appear, the eviction will probably be denied.  Click to read What to Expect at an Eviction Hearing for more information.

FYI!  Some justice courts (the Las Vegas Justice Court, for example) will mail you a notice of hearing by regular U.S. mail to inform you of your hearing date, so be sure to check your mail.  (JCRLV 34(b)(1).)  Other justice courts might provide notice by some other method.  (JCRCP 104.)  Check with the court clerk when you file your affidavit/answer to verify how the court provides notice of the hearing.  But do not rely on the court or the mail!  Take responsibility and call the court or check your case online to see when the hearing gets set.  Click to visit Look Up My Case for instructions.

If the landlord is using the "formal" eviction process, the landlord might serve the tenant with an Order to Show Cause or a Notice of Trial Setting at the same time that the tenant is served with the landlord's complaint (or maybe sometime after).  For more information, click to visit What to Expect at an Eviction Hearing.

TIP!  If you're interested in local community resources for tenants – including building & health code enforcement, low-income and subsidized housing, rent and utility assistance, and shelter and transitional housing – click to visit our Housing Resources page.