The rights and duties of residential landlords and tenants discussed on this website and found in Nevada's Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (Chapter 118A of the Nevada Revised Statutes) do not apply to commercial tenants in most cases. (NRS 118A.180(1); see also NRS 118A.040, .080, .170.)
Typically, the rights and duties of commercial tenants are found in the lease agreement negotiated between the business owner (the tenant) and the owner of the leased property (the landlord). Chapter 118C of the Nevada Revised Statutes does have requirements and procedures that apply to commercial landlords and tenants, but a lease agreement might trump those laws. So commercial landlords and tenants should study both their lease and Chapter 118C carefully.
Q&A - Commerical Tenancies
Can a landlord evict a commercial tenant by using the "summary" eviction process?
If a landlord wants to evict a commercial tenant for failure to pay rent, the landlord can use the "summary" eviction process. The process is faster for commercial tenants because the landlord can issue and serve a Five-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, rather than the Seven-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit that is used for residential tenants. The commercial tenant can then respond to the eviction notice and get a hearing just like a residential tenant. (NRS 40.253(1).) Even thouth there are slight differences between the process for commercial tenants, you can find more information about the "summary" eviction process by reading Overview of the Eviction Process, Filing a Summary Eviction, and Responding to an Eviction Notice.
If the landlords wants to evict the commercial tenant for something other than failure to pay rent (a lease violation, for example), the landlord cannot use the "summary" eviction process. (NRS 40.254.) The landlord will need to file a "formal" eviction case. For more information about the "formal" eviction process, click to read Overview of the Eviction Process, Filing a Formal Eviction, and Responding to an Eviction Notice.
Can a landlord interrupt a commercial tenant's utilities, remove door locks or fixtures, or lock out the tenant?
Unless the lease agreement says something different, a landlord cannot:
- Cause the interruption of utilities the tenant pays, unless the interruption results from construction, bona fide repairs, or an emergency.
- Except for a bona fide repair or replacement, remove a:
- Door, window, or attic hatchway cover;
- Lock, latch, hinge, hinge pin, doorknob, or other mechanism connected to a door, window, or attic hatchway cover; or
- Furniture, fixtures or appliances furnished by the landlord.
- Intentionally prevent a tenant from entering the premises, except by court order, unless the exclusion results from:
- Construction, bona fide repairs, or an emergency;
- Removing the contents of premises the tenant has abandoned; or
- Changing the door locks of a tenant who is delinquent in paying at least part of the rent (discussed below).
What can a commercial tenant sue for if the landlord improperly terminates utilities, removes door locks or fixtures, or locks out the tenant?
If a commercial landlord does any of the things outlined above, the tenant can sue the landlord and:
- Recover possession of the commercial premises; and
- Recover tenant's actual damages, one month's rent or $500 (whichever is more), reasonable attorney's fees, and court costs (minus any past due rent or other money the court finds tenant owes the landlord).
Can a landlord lawfully lock out a commercial tenant if the tenant fails to pay rent?
Unless the lease says something different, if a commercial tenant owes rent, the landlord can change the door lock without filing an eviction case. For at least five days after changing the locks, the landlord must post a written notice on the front door with the name and the address or telephone number of the person or company the tenant can contact to get the new key. The tenant can get the key only during normal business hours and only if the tenant pays the rent due. (NRS 118C.200(4).)
What can a commercial tenant do if the landlord has unlawfully changed the locks?
If a commercial tenant has been illegally locked out, the tenant can file a "verified compliant for reentry" with the justice court for the township where the property is located. The tenant must include the facts of the alleged unlawful lockout in the complaint and state them to the court under oath. (NRS 118C.210(2).)
FYI! The Self-Help Center does not have a form "verified complaint for reentry." For information about hiring an attorney to assist you, click to visit Lawyers and Legal Help.
What will the court do if the tenant files a "verified complaint for reentry"?
If the court believes the landlord locked the tenant out unlawfully, the court can (after tenant posts a bond for one month's rent) order the tenant back on the property until the court holds a final hearing on the tenant's complaint. (NRS 118C.210(3).)
The tenant must arrange to have the court's order "served" (personally delivered) to the landlord by the sheriff or constable. The order must include the date and time for the court hearing on the tenant's complaint. (NRS 118C.210(4)-(5).) The hearing must take place between the first and fifth judicial day (not counting weekends or holidays) after the court issues the order. (NRS 118C.210(5).) At the hearing, the court can order the tenant back on the property permanently. (NRS 118C.210(7).)
What can the landlord do if a tenant files a "verified complaint for reentry" in bad faith?
If a commercial tenant files a "verified complaint for reentry" in bad faith that results in the court ordering the tenant back on the property, the landlord can sue the tenant for actual damages, one month's rent or $500 (whichever is more), reasonable attorney's fees, and court costs (minus any money the court finds the landlord owes the tenant). (NRS 118C.210(10).)
What if a tenant leaves personal property on the commercial premises?
Unless the lease says something different, when a commercial lease ends for any reason, the landlord can sell any personal property the tenant leaves behind and recover costs or the value of the property. (NRS 118C.230(1)(a).) Before selling the property, the landlord must notify the tenant in writing by mail that the landlord is going to sell the property and then wait fourteen days. The landlord must mail the notice certified mail, return receipt requested, to the tenant's present address (or tenant's last known address if tenant's present address is not known).
Before the landlord releases the abandoned personal property to the tenant (or tenant's representative), the landlord can collect the reasonable costs of inventory, moving, and storage from the tenant. (NRS 118C.230(1)(b).)
The landlord must dispose of abandoned vehicles as outlined in Chapter 487 of the Nevada Revised Statutes.
What if the commercial tenant disagrees with the costs the landlord is claiming for inventory, moving, and storage of the personal property?
If the commercial tenant disagrees with the costs the landlord is claiming for inventory, moving, and storage of the abandoned personal property, the commercial tenant can use the same procedure as a residential tenant to get a hearing with the court. Click to read Personal Property Left Behind for more information, forms, and instruction.