The Nevada Crime of Unlawful Occupancy or "Squatting"
Unlawful occupancy is the crime of taking up residence in a vacant dwelling without the permission of the owner. It is commonly referred to as “squatting.”
In Nevada, squatting is prohibited by NRS 205.0817, Nevada's law against unlawful occupancy. It is commonly charged along with housebreaking (NRS 205.0813) or unlawful reentry (NRS 205.082), although forcible or unlawful entry is not required.
The definition of "squatting" under Nevada law
NRS 205.0817 (1) provides:
A person who takes up residence in an uninhabited or vacant dwelling and knows or has reason to believe that such residency is without permission of the owner of the dwelling or an authorized representative of the owner is guilty of unlawful occupancy.
In October 2015, a new Nevada changed the way in which landlords can remove "squatters" (i.e., individuals who broke into a vacant unit and occupied it) from residential property. The new law created two new crimes: "housbreaking" and "unlawful occupancy." The first step for a home owner, if he discovers a squatter, is to contact the police department to report the squatter. The next steps depend on whether the police arrest the squatter:
IF THE SQUATTER IS ARRESTED:
The landlord may change the locks immediately. The landlord must also post a "Notice of Retaking Possession and.or Changing Locks." The notice must remain on the property for 21 days. The landlord must also file a "Statement Regarding Retaking Possession" within 24 hours of posting the notice.
IF THE SQUATTER IS NOT ARRESTED:
The landlord cannot change the locks without court permission! The landlord must serve a Four Day Notice of Surrender on the squatter and then file a Complaint for Removal with the Justice Court. The judge will then sign the order and the constable's office will remove the squatter.
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