Assembly Bill 340 – California-Style Eviction Process

Candese Charles

Nevada is not the Golden State, yet we continue to fall prey to an attempt to institute similar policies. But what’s good for the goose is only sometimes good for the gander. Since Governor Joe Lombardo took office, he’s shown the power a Governor can yield. Last year, he vetoed Assembly Bill 340 (AB340), which would have restricted Nevada’s summary eviction process, similar to California’s.

In fact, the governor issued 75 vetoes during the 82nd Legislative Session of the Nevada State Legislature. The act was record-breaking. It’s up to the governor to make the tough decisions to do what is best for his constituents.

These vetoes impact Nevadans’ everyday lives and knowing about them can better prepare you to participate in the democratic process. So how does the governors veto of AB340 affect you and Nevadans?Find out how below!

But first, let’s learn about AB340, why the governor vetoed the bill, and how it could impact you and your family.

What is Nevada’s AB340?

Imagine a game where the rules suddenly flip, and the usual first player must wait for their turn. That’s a bit like what AB340 aimed to do with Nevada’s eviction process. Introduced by Assemblywoman Shondra Summers-Armstrong, AB340 wanted landlords to kick off eviction proceedings instead of tenants. The bill was meant to simplify things but could lead to delays and more costs for landlords.

The revised procedures would mandate detailed written notices, court filing requirements, and a specific timeline before evicting a tenant. But going to court is not free and is often costly.

Additionally, the vetoed process wouldn’t only make it difficult for landlords but for tenants as well, especially in the future. Tenants would no longer have control over the eviction process.

Housing Legislation in Nevada

This is yet another bill that would negatively impact Nevada’s rental market and housing availability.

Senate Bill 335 mandates that courts must put a stop to evictions indefinitely if a tenant simply applies for rental assistance. Tenants should have the freedom to seek rental assistance, but they should do so before an eviction is initiated. Allowing tenants to indefinitely delay an ongoing eviction by simply applying for help (i.e., filling out a form), remaining in the rental premises without making payments, and with no guarantee of approval for such assistance is fundamentally unfair and raises constitutional questions.

Senate Bill 371, as amended, allows local municipalities to create rent control ordinances, which will significantly change Nevada’s rental housing landscape to be more like California’s. Housing issues are not solely local concerns and should be addressed at the state level to ensure consistency and uniformity.

Senate Bill 335 extends the eviction protections established by AB486 (81st Session) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These protections are no longer necessary as the pandemic has ended. All of these bills could change the course of our already evolving housing issues, making things much worse.

Arguments For and Against AB340

Though AB340 was proposed in response to concerns about the efficiency and fairness of Nevada’s eviction procedures, it could lead to a negative impact instead. Proponents argued that flipping the filing requirement would align Nevada with other states and provide clearer legal pathways for landlords seeking to regain possession of rental properties. But it could do the opposite.

Gov. Lombardo argued that flipping the eviction process to favor landlords could lead to unfair advantages and increased housing instability for tenants. By vetoing AB340, the governor asserts that the bill would burden the very people eviction protection policies seek to protect. If passed, Nevada’s residential lessors will feel the brunt of AB340, creating unnecessary hurdles in the eviction process.

In addition, Lombardo emphasized that the proposed changes would make Nevada less favorable for property owners. Lombardo pointed out that the current tenant-initiated process ensures a balanced approach where tenants can respond before eviction proceedings advance.

Furthermore, the bill goes beyond impacting today’s needy residents. Overturning the veto could have increased legal costs for landlords, potentially impacting rental property availability and affordability in Nevada. By maintaining the tenant-initiated eviction process, Gov. Lombardo aims to uphold a balanced approach that respects both landlord rights and tenant protections.

Challenges to the California-Style Eviction Process

When we look at California’s eviction process in play, we can see why business as usual is the move Gov. Lombardo chose in vetoing AB340.

In California, the eviction process has faced significant challenges, especially during times of economic uncertainty or policy changes. For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, California’s eviction moratoriums created a complex situation where landlords struggled to regain possession of their properties even when tenants were unable to pay rent.

In some cases, landlords faced delays of several months or even years in the eviction process due to court backlogs exacerbated by the high volume of cases. This backlog not only prolonged the financial strain on landlords who rely on rental income but also created uncertainty for tenants who were unsure of their housing stability.

Problems with AB340

In fact, AB340 makes the existing summary eviction process longer than most states, including California. Under current California law, tenants have five days to respond to summary eviction complaints. However, AB340 would extend this period to ten days for a response.

Another issue with AB340 is that it does not provide specific timing parameters for the courts to ensure that cases are scheduled for hearing and adjudication in a timely manner, which could result in indefinite administrative delays.

Additionally, AB340 removes the only timing requirement in the existing law, which mandates a sheriff or constable to carry out a lockout within 36 hours of posting an order. If AB340 is enacted, there would be no specific deadline provided for carrying out a lockout.

Finding the Best Solution for Landlords and Tenants

These challenges highlight the importance of maintaining a balanced eviction process that considers the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. Finding solutions that streamline procedures, provide adequate support for both parties, and ensure timely resolutions to disputes can help prevent similar issues in other states, including Nevada.

The veto of AB340 preserves Nevada’s current eviction framework, which requires tenants to initiate legal proceedings after receiving eviction notices. The current process maintains stability in the rental market by ensuring predictable legal procedures and preventing undue financial burdens on landlords.

Why fix what isn’t broken?

Our current process ensures landlords and tenants know what to expect when dealing with eviction. Instead of changing who starts eviction proceedings, there are other ways to help landlords and tenants. Providing more support for rental assistance programs or mediation services could prevent evictions before they even start.

These solutions focus on helping both parties find fair resolutions without going to court. Gov. Lombardo’s veto of AB340 shows he’s looking out for both landlords and tenants.

Let Your Voice Be Heard

If you care about fair renting laws, support the veto. Tell your lawmakers to ask them to stand with Lombardo to balance Nevada’s rental rules. Nevada Policy’s Action Center has all you need to make your voice heard!

Candese Charles

Candese Charles

Communications Associate- Public Relations

Candese Charles, the Communications Associate- Public Relations for the Nevada Policy Research Institute, is a dedicated storyteller. She firmly believes that freedom begins with knowledge and is committed to ensuring that all Nevadans are equipped with the knowledge necessary to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. Over the past decade, she has passionately worked in journalism, communication, and public relations for local news outlets, nonprofits, and multimillion-dollar companies, advocating for the public.

Originally hailing from Los Angeles, California, Candese and her family have made Las Vegas, Nevada, their home for the past ten years. Despite her journalism career taking her across the country, she was thrilled to return to the Valley in 2022. Her advocacy work spans politics, housing, and education, and she is eager to share her expertise and experiences with the Nevada community, a community she deeply understands and is committed to.

When she’s not fully engaged in her work, Candese can be found cherishing moments with her family or embarking on new adventures. Her first international journey was for a study abroad program in Seoul, Korea, and it sparked her love for travel, a passion she continues to pursue with enthusiasm and curiosity.