Choosing The Summary Or Formal Process

In most cases, a landlord can choose whether to file a "summary" or "formal" eviction.  However, there are significant differences between the two and circumstances in which one or the other cannot be used.  Learn the pros and cons of both procedures.

CAUTION!  Unless your tenant has surrendered or abandoned possession of the rental property, you must file an eviction case in order to remove the tenant!  (NRS 118A.480.)  If you lock the tenant out of the property, use force or threats to remove the tenant, or terminate the tenant's utilities or services, you could be sued by the tenant and punished by the court.


Overview

Summary eviction is the process landlords most frequently use because it is faster and simpler than the formal eviction process.  (For an overview of both processes, click to visit Overview of the Eviction Process.)  However, there are circumstances in which summary eviction cannot be used.   For example, summary eviction cannot be used for:

  • Evictions following the foreclosure or sale of a property.  (See NRS 40.255.)  Click to learn more about Eviction Issues Related to Foreclosure.
  • Eviction of commercial tenants on any basis other than nonpayment of rent.  (NRS 40.254.)  Click to learn more about Commercial Tenancies.
  • Eviction of a tenant who rents a space in a mobile home park.  (NRS 40.253(10).) Click to learn more about evictions and Mobile Homes.

In deciding whether to file a summary or formal eviction, a landlord might consider the following benefits and drawbacks:

Summary Eviction - Benefits And Drawbacks

Some of the benefits of the summary eviction procedure are:

  • A summary eviction is easy for a landlord to file without the assistance of an attorney.
  • The landlord is likely to get the tenant out of the rental property more quickly than with the formal eviction process.

Some of the drawbacks to the summary evictions procedure are:

  • A landlord cannot get a money judgment as part of a summary eviction case (but can sue the tenant in a separate case for damages).
  • If there is a genuine dispute over material facts, the court must dismiss the summary eviction case (although the landlord can then re-file a formal eviction).
  • The tenant may be able to file an appeal to the district court and remain on the rental property until the appeal is heard by posting a "bond" (money or other security) with the court.  The bond in a summary eviction case may be less than the bond required in a formal eviction.

Click on one of the following flowcharts to see how the summary eviction process works for evictions for nonpayment of rent and for evictions for reasons other than nonpayment of rent:

Flowchart - Summary Eviction for Nonpayment
Flowchart - Summary Eviction for Other Than Nonpayment

For more information about the summary eviction process, click to visit Filing a Summary Eviction and Responding to an Eviction Notice.

Formal Eviction – Benefits And Drawbacks

Some of the benefits of the formal eviction procedure are:

  • The landlord can recover possession of the rental property and obtain a money judgment all in the same case.
  • The court (or a jury if one is requested) can hear testimony and examine evidence to resolve factual disputes between the landlord and tenant.
  • If the tenant appeals to the district court, the bond to "stay" (pause) the eviction while the case is on appeal will likely be more than in the summary procedure.

Some of the drawbacks to the formal eviction procedure are:

  • It is typically a longer process than the summary eviction procedure.
  • It is relatively complicated.  A landlord will probably need to hire an attorney unless the landlord is extremely familiar with court procedure and the eviction process.  Click to visit Lawyers and Legal Help.
  • It could potentially require a jury trial if one is demanded by the tenant.

Click on the following flowchart to see how the formal eviction process works:

Flowchart - Formal Eviction

For more information about the formal eviction process, click to visit Filing a Formal Eviction.