How To Handle Property Left Behind By A Nevada Tenant

When tenants vacate a rental property, they occasionally leave behind items of personal property. Nevada law provides specific procedures landlords must follow when dealing with the tenant’s property. Here is an overview of those procedures. 

Has The Property Been Abandoned?

The threshold question that must first be answered is whether the property has actually been abandoned by the tenant.  Abandoned property is any property that remains at the premises after termination of the tenancy, unless the tenant has expressed an intent to reclaim the property (NRS 118A.030).  Accordingly, if the tenant notifies the Landlord that he or she would be returning to claim the personal property, it cannot be considered abandoned. 

In Nevada, abandonment is presumed if the tenant is absent from the premises for a period of time equal to one-half the time for periodic rental payments (usually one-half month’s rent). However, if the rent is current or the tenant has notified the landlord in writing of an intended absence, the presumption does not apply.

Storage of the Tenant’s Property

After the eviction has occurred and the landlord has possession of the rental unit, the landlord can move any of the tenant’s belongings into a safe and secure storage location. The property does not have be stored inside the rental premises, so long as it is safe and secure. The landlord must store abandoned property in a safe location for 30 days after the eviction. The landlord can charge the tenant for the reasonable costs of moving and storing the property. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 118A.460 (2021).)  The tenant has the right to challenge the claimed fees by filing a motion with the court having jurisdiction over the property. 

Disposal/Sale Of Abandoned Property

After storing the property for 30 days, the landlord can begin the process of disposing of it. Before selling, the landlord must make reasonable efforts to locate the former tenant and provide written notification that the landlord intends to sell the abandoned property. The notice must include:

  • a detailed description of the property
  • the estimated value of the property
  • the location where the tenant can claim the property
  • the amount the tenant owes for moving and storage costs and a statement that the tenant must pay those fees before claiming the property
  • the deadline for the tenant to claim the property, and
  • what will happen to the property if it is not claimed.

The landlord can sell the property once 14 days have elapsed since the notice was given to the former tenant. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 118A.460 (2021).) The landlord can use the proceeds of a properly noticed sale to pay for any reasonable costs the tenant owes, including the costs of moving and storing the property. Any balance should be returned to the former tenant. 

Vehicle Abandonment

Abandoned vehicles are addressed separately in Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 487. 

If the vehicle has been abandoned at a single-family residence, the owner may have the vehicle towed to the nearest public garage or storage.  The owner must also notify law enforcement of (a) the time the vehicle was removed; (b) the location from which the vehicle was removed; and (c) the location to which the vehicle was taken. 

For vehicles abandoned at other types of properties, a sign must be displayed in plain view on the property declaring public parking to be prohibited or restricted in a certain manner; and the sign must show the telephone number of the police department or sheriff’s office.

Please contact Lynx Legal Services with any questions regarding the above or with general questions regarding the eviction process.  We can be reached at 888-441-2355 or info@lynxlegal.com. Our experienced professionals are standing by to assist in any way we can. 

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