Dealing with Personal Property Left Behind in a Rental Unit
- How long must a landlord keep a tenant's property after eviction?
- Can the landlord refuse to release a tenant's property after eviction?
- What if more than 30 days have expired since the tenant's eviction?
- What can the tenant do if the landlord will not return his property or if he disputes the landlord's charges?
- What is the deadline in which a Motion to Contest Personal Property Lien must be filed?
- When must the hearing on the Motion be scheduled?
- Must the Motion be served upon the landlord?
- What will the judge do at the hearing?
Can the landlord refuse to release a tenant's property after eviction?
The landlord must provide reasonable access and opportunity for the tenant or his authorized representative to retrieve personal property left behind. The landlord may charge and collect the reasonable and actual costs of inventory, moving and storage before releasing the property to the tenant. The landlord cannot require the tenant to pay rent or the costs of the eviction as a condition to releasing the property. See NRS 118A.460(1)(a)
What if more than 30 days have expired since the tenant's eviction?
After the expiration of the 30-day period, the landlord may dispose of the property and recover his reasonable costs out of the property if:
- He has made reasonable efforts to locate the tenant,
- Has notified the tenant in writing of his intention to dispose of the property and
- 14 days have elapsed since the notice was given to the tenant. NRS 118A.460(1)(b)
What can the tenant do if the landlord will not return his property or if he disputes the landlord's charges?
The tenant may file, along with the appropriate fees, a "Motion to Contest Personal Property Lien" on a Justice Court form. See NRS 40.253(7). The tenant may also sue for actual damages and punitive damages up to $1,000 if the landlord holds the tenant's property in an effort to ensure that the tenant pays rent. [See NRS 118A.520].
- The order for eviction was issued;
- The tenant vacated or was removed; or
- A copy of the landlord's charges relating to the storage of the property has been requested by or provided to the tenant. See NRS 40.253(7)
Must the Motion be served upon the landlord?
The court is required to affix the date of the hearing to the motion and order a copy served upon the landlord by the sheriff, constable or other process server. See NRS 40.253(8)
What will the judge do at the hearing?
At the hearing, the court may determine the costs, if any, claimed by the landlord and order the tenant's property released with or without the payment of those costs.