- Habitability Problems
- Personal Property Left Behind After Eviction
- Security and Other Deposits
- Breaking Your Lease
- Reasonable Accommodations for Disabilities
- Landlord Harassment
- Noisy Neighbors
- Rent Increases and Receipts
Repairs and Fixes (Habitability Problems)
Casualty (major fire, flooding or roof collapse)
The fire or other casualty must substantially impair the dwelling. If you are not forced out of the dwelling immediately after the event occurred, the dwelling is probably not substantially impaired.
You can immediately vacate the premises and notify the landlord within 7 days of vacating that you terminated the lease on the day of the casualty. Moreover, you have the right to demand the return all prepaid rent from the date of move out.
Essential services (No heat, air-conditioning, running water, hot water, electricity, gas, or functioning door lock to the outside)
Under, NRS 118A.380, you must provide the landlord with a written request the repairs to be made within 48 hours, excluding holidays before you can take the following legal actions. Always keep a copy of the signed and dated letter. See Sample Essential Services Letter.
- Obtain the essential services on your own and deduct the cost from next month’s rent.
- Sue the landlord for actual damages including the reduction in the value of the dwelling. See Smalls Claims Court.
- Withhold any rent that becomes due. Note: You cannot withhold past due rent.
- Obtain comparable substitute housing during the time that your essential service is not working. For example, if your rent is $600 a month, you should find housing at around $20 per night ($600 divided by 30 days). If the substitute housing costs reasonable more than the current rent, client can recover the difference in cost from her landlord.
If a government inspector notified you and landlord of the lack of essential services, you do not need to wait 48 hours to file suit for damages or withhold rent.
Habitability (all other problems like plumbing, mold, bed bugs, roaches, etc.)
Under NRS 118A.355, you must provide 14 days written notice to the landlord before you can take any legal action. In the written notice, you must tell the landlord that if the repairs are not completed within 14 days, you will take any of the following legal actions. You should date, sign the letter and keep a copy of the signed letter. However, if the landlord starts making a reasonable attempt to make the repairs, you may not take these legal actions, and you will have to send another letter giving the landlord another 14 days. See Sample Habitability Letter.
- Terminate your lease.
- Sue to recover actual damages. See Smalls Claims Court.
- Repair or fix the problem on your own (like hiring a contractor) and deduct from your next month’s rent. You may only deduct up to one-month's worth of rent in repairing or fixing the problem.
- Withhold rent. You cannot withhold for past owed rent. You will have to deposit your rent with the justice court’s escrow account.
If a government inspector notified you and landlord of the habitability problem, you do not need to wait 14 days to file suit for damages or withhold rent.
Personal Property Left Behind After Eviction/Essential Personal Effects
Under NRS 118A.460, the landlord must allow you five days after the eviction to retrieve your essential personal effects. If not, then you can file an expedited motion with the court. You must do this within five days of the eviction. The court will hold a hearing within five days and could order the landlord to return your personal effects and award $2,500 if the landlord acted in bad faith.
For your other property, the landlord must store and keep your property for 30 days after you leave.If youdo not retrieve the property within 30 days, the landlord can dispose of the property. The landlord must provide 14 days notice before disposing of the property. At a minimum, however, the landlord must wait until the 30th day after you left before legally disposing of property.
You can file a motion to contest property lienwithin 20 days of requesting the return of the property if your landlord refuses to allow you to retrieve the property.
The landlord may charge actual and reasonable storage, inventory, and moving fee before allowing you to pick up your personal property, but the landlord cannot charge back rent or any other fees.
You can file a motion to contest property lien within 20 days of requesting the return of the property if you dispute the landlord’s charges as unreasonable or unlawful.
If your personal property was stolen or destroyed, you can sue the landlord in Small Claims Court for the value of the lost personal property.
Essential personal effects includes medication, ID, clothing, baby formula, and any other important item.
Security Deposit and Other Deposits
Security Deposit After Moving Out
NRS 118A.242 allows the landlord to claim from the security deposit any damages, other than ordinary wear and tear, cleaning fees, and unpaid rent. These deductions must be reasonable and lawful.
If your landlord fails to return the security deposit and fails to provide a written accounting of deductions to your security deposit within 30 days after you move out, you can sue the landlord. You must have provided your landlord with a forwarding address. You must be able to prove with documents or printed pictures that the landlord’s deductions were unreasonable or unwarranted. The landlord is liable to you for damages in an amount equal to the entire deposit and for a sum to be fixed by the court of not more than the amount of the entire deposit (e.g. twice the deposit). In awarding the above sum, a court can consider whether the landlord acted in good faith, the course of conduct between you and the landlord and the degree of harm caused by the landlord’s conduct. See Small Claims Court for instructions how to sue your landlord.
Security Deposits and New Landlords
The landlord is supposed to notify you of new landlord and that he has transferred your security deposit to the new landlord, or return your deposit less charges for damage, unpaid rent or cleaning (as discussed above), and notify the new landlord. If the former landlord transferred the deposit to the new landlord, then the new landlord must accept the deposit and cannot charge you an additional deposit during the term of the lease.
Cleaning deposits, pet deposits and other deposits are usually not refundable because the landlord can use the entire deposit amount for reasonable cleaning services. However, you should carefully read the terms of your lease. The deposit can be nonrefundable as long as it is indicated to be both a non-security deposit and nonrefundable.
Holding deposits are fees paid to reserve a dwelling before you sign a lease. Many landlords will state these holding deposits become security deposits when you sign a lease, but if you do not sign they lease, they are usually not refundable. You should carefully read the terms of the holding deposit contract.
Nevada law allows a surety bond instead of a security deposit, but your landlord cannot require the bond and you cannot force the landlord to accept it. However, your landlord can evict you after your lease expires if you do not purchase a surety bond. If you and the landlord agree, you will pay an up-front fee for a surety bond that will cover the legal deductions normally paid by your security deposit. If you disagree with the charges, you must notify the surety bond company. The surety bond can sue you for damages.
Breaking Your Lease
In most cases, breaking the lease would allow the landlord to sue you for unpaid rent and vacancy loss charge (the cost of re-renting the unit and loss of rent due to your vacancy).
Usually, criminal activity near your unit or even at your unit would not provide you a legal reason to move out. A common lease provision about safety or health is usually too vague to allow you to break your lease. Your landlord must have violated a specific part of the lease to warrant a legal reason to move out (for example, the lease requires a working gate for the complex, but the landlord has not fixed it for some time). If you believe your landlord has violated the lease, see Repairs and Fixes.
If your lease has an early move provision, you may be able to pay a certain penalty to move out. This lease provision is usually valid unless the penalty is disproportionate to the actual cost to the landlord.
NRS 118.175 requires the landlord to rerent the dwelling unit after you vacate and prohibits the collection of double rent(from you and the new tenant). The landlord can charge actual damages incurred until the dwelling is rerented. Turning in yourkeys or providing written notice are two ways to limit your liability and trigger the landlord’s duty to rerent.
Exception #1: Breaking Lease for Medical Treatment
Under NRS 118A.340, If you are 60 years or older, or you have a physical or mental disability, you may break your lease if you require relocation to receive treatment, such as moving to a group home. You should provide a written notice to your landlord, reference NRS 118A.340 and include a doctor’s note requiring you to move out. Note that this section only applies if you cannot possibly receive medical treatment at your current unit. For health problems associated with your unit, see Habitability.
Exception #2: Breaking Lease Due to Domestic Violence
Under NRS 118A.345, if you or your household member is a victim of domestic violence, you may terminate the lease at the end of the current rental period by giving the landlord written notice. The domestic violence event must have occurred within 90 days of the written notice. The tenant will need proof of the domestic violence either with an active temporary protective under, a police report stating domestic violence incident, or an affidavit by a physician, social worker, psychiatrist, or pastor. Your landlord cannot provide the domestic violence perpetrator with your new information.
You are only liable for rent owed through the date of termination and other outstanding obligations. The domestic violence perpetrator will be liable for all economic losses incurred by the landlord for you breaking your lease.
Determine Whether Your Landlord is in Foreclosure Process
Property records are available to the general public. Your local county recorder’s office will have a notice of default (initiating the foreclosure process), the notice of sale (the last notice before the sale), and any other foreclosure notices required by law. Transfer of title documents will also be available. These documents demonstrate who has legal title of your dwelling. Most recorder offices require the parcel number of your property. This information can usually be obtained from the county tax assessor.
Foreclosure Process in Nevada
The most common foreclosure process in Nevada is the trust deed foreclosure contained in NRS Chapter 107. If you landlord failed to make a mortgage payment, the bank or agent must first serve a notice of default and election to sell.
Three (3) months must elapse before the bank can continue with the foreclosure. All of this time you must pay rent to the landlord or you can be evicted. Although mandatory mediation is required in Nevada, your landlord does NOT have the right to mandatory mediation. Informal mediation with the lender is always available to your landlord and this may delay the foreclosure process. It is not uncommon for the notice of default to provide more than 3 months.
With the notice of default, the bank must also serve a Notice of Tenant’s Rights. The Notice of Tenant’s Rights purportedly informs you of your rights as a tenant. Read the section “Notice of Tenant’s Rights” for more information.
After the mediation process has concluded or 3 months, whichever is longer, the bank must then sent a notice of sale. This notice advises the landlord that the dwelling will be sold 21 days (or more) after the notice is recorded. You will also receive a Notice of Tenant’s Rights.
The landlord has until 5 days before the sale to pay the bank and stop the foreclosure. 21 days after the notice of sale is recorded or later, your dwelling will be sold at auction.
Notice of Default
The most common foreclosure process in Nevada is the trust deed foreclosure contained in NRS Chapter 107. If your landlord failed to make a mortgage payment, the bank or its agent must first serve a notice of default and election to sell. With the notice of default, the bank must also serve a Notice of Tenant’s Rights. The Notice of Tenant’s Rights purportedly informs you of your rights as a tenant. Read the section “Notice of Tenant’s Rights” for more information.
Three (3) months must elapse before the bank can continue with the foreclosure. All of this time you must pay rent to the landlord or you can be evicted. Mediation may make this process longer. It is not uncommon for the notice of default to provide more than 3 months.
NRS 107.080 requires a Danger Notice to be sent to owner occupied housing 60 days before the sale of the dwelling. Usually, the bank or its agent sends this notice much sooner. NRS 107.080 does not require this notice to be sent to you or your landlord, but the banks still send it. It basically notifies the landlord that the home may be lost in the foreclosure process.
Notice of Sale
Three (3) months after the notice of default, or after the mediation process has concluded, whichever is longer, the bank must then sent a notice of sale. This notice must advise the landlord that the dwelling will be sold 21 days (or more) after the notice of sale is recorded. You will also receive a Notice of Tenant’s Rights. The Notice of Tenant’s Rights purportedly informs you of your rights as a tenant. Read the section “Notice of Tenant’s Rights” for more information.
Your landlord has until 5 day before the sale at auction to save the dwelling from foreclosure.
Even though the landlord may not be paying the mortgage, you must continue to pay the rent as long as you live in the dwelling and the landlord owns the property. NRS 118A.210 requires a tenant to pay rent for use and occupancy of a dwelling. If rent is not paid, the landlord can evict you with a 5 day pay rent or quit notice. If you do not pay the rent, you will be evicted.
Real Estate Agent Access
The landlord or real estate agent has a right to show your dwelling to potential buyers. The landlord or real estate agent must provide 24 hours notice and you cannot unreasonably withhold your permission to allow these showings.
A landlord in Nevada does have the ability to enter the dwelling unit for the purposes of inspection, to make necessary repairs or to provide necessary services, or to exhibit the dwelling to prospective buyers, future tenants, workmen, or anyone else with a bona fide interest in inspecting the premises. NRS 118A.330(1).
A lock box is a locked container that is attached to your front door handle. The container holds the key to your dwelling. A lock box is not legal under Nevada law because the landlord must provide 24 hours notice before entering your dwelling.
NRS 118A.330 requires the landlord to provide 24 hours advance notice before entering your dwelling, except in emergencies. You cannot unreasonably withhold your consent if the landlord or real estate agent wants to show your dwelling to potential buyers. If the landlord or real estate agents provides 24 hours advance notice, accesses your dwelling based on purposes of showing the dwelling to prospective buyers, and visits at reasonable times during normal business hours, then you may not be able to do anything about it.
However, a lock box provides little or no notice and you can refuse to allow the landlord or real estate agent to put the lock box on your door. If the landlord installs a lock box on your door without your permission, you can remove the lock box.
NRS 118A.500 allows you to seek an injunction to stop the landlord from abusing the right to access your dwelling. A lock box would be an abuse of the landlord’s right to access your dwelling. You should send a written request to the landlord asking the landlord to respect your rights under NRS 118A.330. NRS 118A.500 allows you to terminate the rental agreement or seek an injunction if the landlord abuses access.If you send written notice to the landlord, you should request that the landlord remove the lock box and provide 24 hours advance notice before showing the dwelling.
Asking the landlord to comply with NRS 118A.330 is not a reason to evict you. In fact, it would constitute retaliation under NRS 118A.510 and provide a defense to an eviction notice.
If you allow the lock box and want to change your mind, you should notify the landlord. You can refuse to let the landlord or real estate agent into your dwelling without advance notice and you can use reasonable force or call the police if the landlord or real estate agent enters and will not leave.
24 hours notice is not needed in any emergency. Showing the home to potential buyers is NOT an emergency.
Cash for Keys
“Cash for keys” is a voluntary program where the new owner of a home will give you money in exchange for your promise to leave in certain amount of time. The new owner will also ask you to clean the premises before leaving. If the new owner will only pay you after you move out, then you should get the cash for keys offer in writing.
Tenant's Rights After Foreclosure
After title to the property is taken away from your landlord, you can voluntarily leave after the foreclosure and we recommend providing notice to the new owner. NRS 40.255 provides this right.
If your former landlord lost the unit in foreclosure and you live in a rented house or fourplex or less, then the new owner must serve you with a 60 days eviction notice. After the 60 days expire, the new owner must serve a summons and complaint for unlawful detainer. If this procedure is followed, you will not have a defense to the eviction. You can file an answer after receiving the summons and complaint to ask the judge for more time to move at a hearing. By law, the judge can allow up to 10 extra days before ordering the eviction.
If you rent an apartment with more than 4 units, the new owner only has to serve a 3 day notice, followed by a summons and complaint. If this procedure is followed, you will not have a defense to the eviction. You can file an answer after receiving the summons and complaint to ask the judge for more time to move at a hearing. By law, the judge can allow up to 10 extra days before ordering the eviction.
Security Deposit After Foreclosure
After the foreclosure, sale, or the property otherwise changes hands, your landlord has to either return the security deposit to you, after making any deductions allowed under NRS 118A.242 (see section on security deposits), or transfer your deposit (minus the deductions) to the new owner. If the security deposit is transferred, the new owner then has the same obligations as the previous landlord and must return the deposit or provide a written accounting within 30 days after you move out. If the security deposit is not transferred and not returned to you, you can sue the old landlord under NRS 118A.242 if more than 30 days has expired after the property transfers. You will likely, though, want to name both the old landlord and the new owner in any lawsuit to recover your deposit as both may be liable depending on the circumstances of each situation and this is an unsettled area of law.
The new owner cannot charge you an additional security deposit for 30 days or the duration of your rental agreement, whichever is longer. If your deposit was transferred, or the new owner charged an additional deposit, the new owner should return your deposit or supply a written accounting within 30 days after you move out. If not, you can sue the new owner. The lawsuit against the new owner would be based on a violation of NRS 118A.242 (see above).
Reasonable Accommodation for Disability
Fair Housing Accommodation Requests for Disability
Common reasonable accommodation requests include moving from an upstairs to a downstairs unit, relocating to a unit closer to an exit, and fixing an elevator. If you suffer from a disability, you may write a letter to your letter requesting a reasonable accommodation directly related to your disability. The federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHAA) puts a duty upon landlords to “make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services” to provide equal access to housing to a person with a disability. NRS 118.100 mirrors the federal anti-discrimination requirements. Landlords must grant the reasonable accommodation request even if the request results in a financial cost to the landlord. However, landlords are not required to grant the request if the financial cost will cause an “undue financial or administrative burden” on the landlord. Whether there is an undue burden is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Even if the landlord has a “no pets” policy, you can still keep your service or emotional support animal. You should first submit a written request to the landlord. In this letter, you should ask the landlord to accommodate your disability by allowing you to keep your service or emotional support animal. Keep of a copy of this letter. You should include with your letter any medical documentation to support why you need the service animal and any certification for your animal. Under state law, a landlord may request evidence that the animal assists you.
Proof that an animal is a service animal is not required under the Fair Housing Act. The landlord is not allowed to ask for proof of your disability under the Fair Housing Act. However, the landlord can ask for proof that your needed service animal accommodation be related to your disability. A note from your doctor should be enough for an emotional support animal.
The landlord must allow you to keep your animal unless the request is unreasonable. An unreasonable request usually involves an animal that causes undue damage to the premises, makes too much noise, or attacks other tenants or their pets. You must also clean up after your service or emotional support animal.
If the landlord denies your request, ask the landlord to put this denial in writing. If you disagree with the denial, you can then file a Fair Housing complaint with the local U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) office.
A service or emotional support animal is not a pet and should not be subject to any extra pet deposit as this would discriminate against tenants with disabilities and violate the Fair Housing Act.
Landlord Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation or Entering the Leased Dwelling
Retaliation by Landlord
Retaliation generally happens when you complain about conditions in or around your dwelling and instead of fixing these problems, the landlord serves an no cause eviction notice. For example, if you complain in good faith to the landlord about habitability problems, or call the police about crime, the landlord cannot retaliate by serving you an eviction notice. Include this legal defense when you file a tenant’s affidavit with the court.
If your landlord retaliates by raising your rent and you refuse to sign the new lease, and then the landlord attempts to evict you, include this information in your tenant’s affidavit with the court. However, the landlord can still prove that the rise in rent is reasonable if the increase in rent applies in a uniform manner to all tenants.
If your landlord retaliates by shutting off an essential service to your dwelling, include this information in your written letter to the landlord under Essential Services.
Landlord Enters Dwelling Without Permission
Under NRS 118A.330, alandlord or agent hasthe ability to enter the dwelling unit for the purposes of inspection, to make necessary repairs or to provide necessary services, or to exhibit the dwelling to prospective buyers, future tenants, workmen, or anyone else with a bona fide interest in inspecting the premises. However, the landlord should provide 24 hours advance notice before entering your dwelling, except in emergencies. You cannot unreasonably withhold your consent for the landlord to peaceably enter for the reasons and under the conditions set forth above.
The landlord violates NRS 118A.500if the landlord’s repeated demands for access unreasonably harass you. You may terminate your lease or seek an injunction in court to stop the landlord from abusing the right to access your dwelling.
Discrimination and Harassment
Under the federal Fair Housing Act and NRS 118.100(1)(b), Discrimination is a defense to an eviction if you have strong, documented proof your landlord singled you out based on race, color, religion, nationality, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or families with children or pregnant mothers. Most landlords know enough about fair housing to avoid listing blatantly discriminatory reasons for eviction and explain that evictions are a case-by-case basis.
Harassment by landlord is not a legal defense to eviction. Harassment is also not a basis to sue the landlord, except in cases where you have strong, documented proof.
If you lease contains an express right to quiet enjoyment, you can enforce this right against a neighbor in your same complex by asking that the landlord cure the problem. Under NRS 118A.350 you must issue a signed and dated written noticeto the landlordand wait 14 days before client can terminate the rental agreement, suethe landlordfor damages, or seek other reliefin court.If your landlord makesa reasonable attempt to fix the problemduring the 14 days, you must restart the process if the problem continues.
Raising Your Rent
After your lease expires, the landlord may increase rent. Under NRS 118A.300, the landlord must provide 45-days written notice before increasing the rent. If your lease has not expired, the landlord may not increase rent. If you do not agree to the rent increase, the landlord may serve you a 30-day no cause notice to evict you.
Rental Payment Receipt
Under 118A.250, the landlord must provide a receipt for rent and any other payment to the landlord, including a security deposit or fees. You may refuse to make rental payment until your landlord tenders the receipt.
What is “housebreaking”?
A person who breaks into a house without permission for the purpose of taking up residency is guilty of housebreaking. This is a crime and you can go to jail. The police can take you to jail and the landlord can lock you out.
What is “unlawful entry”?
A person who enters an open or unsecured house without permission for the purpose of taking up residency is guilty of unlawful entry. This is a crime and you can go to jail. The police can take you to jail and the landlord can lock you out.
What happens if I am locked out without notice?
The landlord may lock you out if housebreaking or unlawful entry has been alleged and no one remains in your dwelling. The landlord must post a notice on your dwelling that allows you 21 days to contest the lockout by filing a complaint for unlawful lockout in the justice court of the township where you live. You must also deliver a copy of this complaint to the landlord or manager.
DO NOT TRY TO RE-ENTER THE DWELLING! This is a criminal offense punishable by up to 4 years in jail.
I have been locked out for housebreaking, but I cannot find a notice. Can I still file a complaint for unlawful lockout?
Yes, the landlord must post a notice on your dwelling AND file a copy of the notice with the court. You should be able to get a copy by going to your local justice court. The notice may be in the name of “Current Occupant” so let the clerk know your address.
I just received a 4 Day Housebreaking Notice. What should I do?
A landlord may serve a 4 Day Housebreaking notice if the landlord believes you have broken into a dwelling or just entered and refuse to leave. The Notice should be served to you, but can be posted on the property and mailed to you and can contain the name “Current Occupant” if the landlord does not know who you are. You can either vacate the premises or file an opposition with the justice court within 4 days. You then have 4 business days after the day you receive the notice to either move out, request a delay in the eviction (stay), or contest the eviction. Do not count weekends, holidays, and other days the court is closed. To contest the eviction, you must file an affidavit with the court.
What happens to my personal property left behind?
The landlord can dispose of your property within 21 days of when the landlord locked you out. If you do not know when the landlord locked you out, then you should consider giving up the right to contest the lock out if you really need your property. The complaint to challenge the lock out may result in waiting longer than the time you have to retrieve your property and your property may be gone.
If you want to challenge the landlord's right to hold your property, then you should file an affidavit with the court to challenge the landlord's right to hold your property. This must be filed within 21 days of the lock change. The landlord does have the right to charge reasonable storage fees, or moving and storage fees before returning your property to you.
If you have been through the court process or the constable/sheriff locked you out, then you only have 14 days to file a motion (not affidavit) to challenge the landlord’s right to hold your property. The landlord must wait 21 days, however, before disposing of your property.
What happens if I am not arrested or I am released and still live in the house?
The landlord cannot lock you out if you or someone in your household remains in the dwelling. The landlord must then proceed with an eviction by serving a 4 Day Housebreaking Notice. You must file an affidavit with the court to contest the eviction before the court clerk closes on the 4th business day after receiving the notice. Do not count weekends, holidays, or other days the court is closed.
I contested the eviction by filing an affidavit. What happens next?
The court will review your affidavit. If your affidavit contains an element of a legal defense, then the court will schedule a hearing. If your affidavit does not contain an element of a legal defense, the court will order your eviction. An eviction order will be signed by the judge and a constable/sheriff will lock you out within 24 hours (unless the court granted your stay request).
If your affidavit raised an element of a legal defense, then the court will schedule a hearing. You and your landlord will be required to attend the hearing and the court will determine if you have raised a legal defense. If you fail to raise a legal defense, you will be locked out. The court can delay the lockout by providing 20 days before the constable/sheriff locks you out.
If you have been locked out, you will then have 21 days to retrieve your property. The landlord does have the right to charge reasonable storage fees, or moving and storage fees before returning your property to you. See “What happens to my personal property left behind?” above.