Real Estate Legal Update

By: R. Duane Frizell, Attorney, Frizell Law Firm

In 2021, real estate has been hot. This article highlights a few of the related legal developments.

Landlord and Tenant. Landlords are undoubtedly pleased with the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling that all residential evictions may now proceed. However, for evictions based on unpaid rent, notices must now include information relating to the availability of rental assistance programs and other statutory protections.

Mediations are no longer required for evictions not related to unpaid rent. Nevertheless, in nonpayment cases, they are still required, and tenants may further stay or even stop such cases with the affirmative defense that they have an application for rental assistance pending or that the landlord has been uncooperative in terms of such assistance. If raised, this defense stays an eviction until the assistance application has been determined. If assistance is granted, the case must be dismissed. A landlord facing foreclosure may avoid some stays, though.

A landlord may not sue for unpaid rent if rental assistance is received. In such a case, if eviction is sought, a landlord may face liability for civil penalties, damages, attorney fees, and costs. If a landlord has been uncooperative in terms of rental assistance, an eviction must be denied, and the landlord may have to pay damages. Most of these statutory provisions will expire on June 5, 2023.

Courts must now automatically seal all files for summary evictions granted during the ongoing COVID-19 emergency. There was an attempt to eliminate summary evictions altogether, but it was unsuccessful. For leases with rent paid monthly, a landlord may not charge a late fee until at least three days have passed since the rent was due. Landlords also must give more advance notice for rent increases.

Airbnb, Vrbo, and Similar Rentals. Clark County, Henderson, Las Vegas and North Las Vegas must now tax and regulate vacation rentals. They must also regulate any person, except for an owner, occupant, or manager, who arranges vacation rentals for a fee. Every person who makes such rentals available must have local government authorization as well as a state business license. Exempt from these regulations are residential units owned or operated by non-restricted gaming licensees and affiliates that are located on land not zoned exclusively residential.

“Tiny Houses.” Large counties and cities8 must now designate at least one zoning district for tiny houses to be classified as accessory dwelling units, one where they are classified as single-family residential units, and one for tiny house parks. Other counties and cities need only have one zoning district for one such classification. Each local government shall provide their own definition of “tiny house,” but units of 400 square feet or less should qualify.

HOAs. With respect to HOA super-priority liens, regardless of when assessments become due, an HOA may not require more than nine months’ worth for full satisfaction of its lien. Moreover, if the holder of the first deed of trust tenders the amount due prior to an HOA foreclosure sale, then that deed of trust is not extinguished, and the purchaser at the sale takes the property subject to it. There was an attempt to extinguish HOA non-judicial foreclosures, but it failed.

Article originally published in Nevada Business Magazine on October 1st, 2021

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