Nevada Tenant's Rights You Need To Know as a Renter

If you’re a renter struggling with an eviction, a landlord who won’t take care of repairs or utility shutoffs, Northern Nevada Legal Aid can help you understand how Nevada Tenants Rights apply. Northern Nevada Legal Aid provides information on legal aid in Northern Nevada, serving Washoe, Storey, and Douglas counties, as well as Carson City. WLS offers holistic legal services to children, people with special needs, immigrants, victims of domestic violence, low-income tenants, victims of crime, and the elderly. In 2019, the organization assisted more than 7,600 individuals and represented more than 2,000 people.

What are the essential services tenants have a right to in Nevada?

Essential services are heat, running water, hot water, electricity, gas, and a functioning exterior door lock. Other services may be considered essential if they’re in your rental agreement, such as a stove, refrigerator, or air conditioning unit.

Nevada law (NRS 118A.380) requires that your landlord treat your lack of essential services as an emergency that must be repaired within 48 hours of written notice by the tenant or by an appropriate government agency. When figuring out the term of the 48-hour notice, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays.

If repairs to essential services are not made, or the landlord has not used their best efforts to remedy the problem, you may have the following options:

  • Obtain the essential services or items yourself and deduct the cost from the next month’s rent. For example, if the plumbing does not work, you may purchase bottled water and deduct the cost of the purchased water from your rent.
  • Sue for actual damages, including loss of use or reduction of the fair market value of the premises.
  • Withhold any rent that becomes due without incurring any late fees, charges for notice, or any other charges until your landlord has attempted to restore the essential services. This only applies if you are current in your rent at the time you notice.
  • Get similar accommodations during the period of the landlord’s noncompliance. While renting substitute housing, you won’t owe rent to your landlord. You may sue for the amount (if reasonable) that the rent charged for the substitute housing exceeds your normal rent.

 

Yes, the law (NRS 118A.355) allows you to withhold rent after written notice only until the landlord either restores the essential service or makes a good-faith effort to do so. Then, if you do not pay past due rent, the landlord could evict you for nonpayment of rent.
Yes. In Nevada, tenants’ rights ensure that if your landlord purposely interrupts essential services (like cutting off your water), you may terminate the rental agreement immediately, vacate the premises, and demand the remainder of the month’s rent and security deposit.

Tenants Have A Right To Habitability, According To Nevada Law

Under Nevada law (NRS 118A.290 and NRS 118B.090), a landlord must maintain your house, apartment, unit, or mobile home in a habitable condition. A dwelling is not habitable if it violates provisions for codes concerning the health, safety, and sanitation of the dwelling or if it lacks the basics needed for habitation.

A landlord and tenant may agree that the tenant is to perform specified repairs, maintenance, and minor remodeling only if the agreement is entered into in good faith (this means you both honor what you agreed to). It’s not in good faith if the tenant completes repairs required by law only because the landlord refused to do so.

Any repairs to your heat, running water, electricity, gas, hot water, or other essential services are considered essential service repairs. Learn about the essential services tenants have a right to in Nevada.

Habitability repairs are minor repairs to walls, floors, doors, windows, ceilings, roof, rodent and insect control, mold, weatherproofing, and other services that do not affect health and safety.

Tenants must be given a telephone number of a responsible person to be called in case of emergency (required by NRS 118A.260). The emergency contact should be the first person called for repairs and then a written notice should be sent.

You can give the landlord written notice of the needed repairs and that unless they make the needed repairs within 14 days, you will cause the repairs to be made yourself (or pay someone else to do it) and deduct the cost from your next month’s rent, which is called “repair and deduct.” You may repair and deduct only if the repair costs are less than one month’s rent and only once in 12 months.

Another option (under NRS 118A.355) is to give the landlord a written notice to perform the repairs within 14 days. If your landlord does not fix the problem or make a “good faith” effort to do so within 14 days, a Nevada renter has the right to terminate the rental agreement; sue to recover actual damages; seek other relief in a court, or withhold rent during the landlord’s noncompliance. Rent withheld must be deposited in an escrow account with Justice Court.

Written notice to the landlord under both options may be given either by the tenant (see sample letters) or by a government agency authorized to inspect for violations of building, housing, or health codes. You should date, sign, and keep a copy of the repair notice, which you should hand-deliver in the presence of a witness or mail from a post office and obtain proof that you mailed the notice (a certificate of mailing).

Another recommendation is to request that the local health or building inspector come to your premises to inspect the problem; the inspector then may order your landlord to make the needed repairs or face a fine.

If the landlord has specified in the rental agreement, in response to a “repair and deduct notice” or otherwise that work done must be performed by a named person or firm qualified to do the work, then the tenant must hire that person.

If the premises are damaged by fire, flooding, or another casualty to the point that use/enjoyment is substantially impaired, NRS 118A.400 states that your landlord may terminate the rental agreement. Or, you can immediately vacate and notify the landlord in writing, within 7 days, of your intent to terminate the rental agreement. If the rental agreement is not terminated by either party and if continued occupancy is lawful, you may recover damages by a reduction in the rent in proportion to the portion of the dwelling that you are unable to use.

It is very important to keep your rent current, especially if you’re requesting and/or making repairs.

What can a Nevada renter do if they're illegally locked out of their residence?

An illegal lockout occurs when a landlord or their employee forces an occupant out of the home or denies entry without a court order.

Nevada law (NRS 118A.390) prohibits a landlord from unlawfully removing the tenant from the premises or excluding the tenant’s entry into the unit or withholding or interrupting an essential item or service required by the rental agreement or by law. The landlord must obtain a court order by proving that the tenant surrendered the property or tenant abandonment to lock a tenant out, intentionally shut off an essential service (e.g., electricity or water), or otherwise block a tenant’s access to the property.

File a Complaint

If the tenant is illegally locked out and there is no eviction action pending in court, the tenant has 5 judicial days, beginning on the date the tenant is locked out, to file a Verified Complaint about Expedited Relief for the Removal or Exclusion of Tenant or Interruption of Services.

If there is already an eviction action pending in court, the lockout should be addressed in the existing eviction action.

Click here to access the court-approved Verified Complaint form.

Once the Verified Complaint is filed, the court will schedule a hearing within 3 judicial days. “Judicial days” do not include weekends and legal holidays. When you calculate your five-day period, do not include weekends, holidays, or the day of the lockout.

The tenant is required to serve the landlord with a copy of the Verified Complaint and notice of hearing information.

The tenant must submit proof to the court that they have served the landlord before the hearing takes place. You must arrange to have someone personally serve the landlord (or the authorized property manager or person authorized to receive service of process on behalf of the landlord).

Because the Court will set the hearing within 3 judicial days, you must serve your landlord IMMEDIATELY to give them notice of the hearing.

If the sheriff is unable to serve the landlord with your documents quickly enough, you can hire a private process server or have someone you know serve the documents.

If you have someone you know serve your landlord, that person must fill out an Affidavit of Service, describing what documents were served and to whom, when, and how the documents were served. A form Affidavit of Service is available here.

There is no fee to file a Verified Complaint, but you will need to pay the process server or sheriff’s service fee.

If the court rules in the tenant’s favor, the tenant can ask the Court for service fees, actual damages (e.g., hotel fees), and damages allowed by the law (up to $2,500) for the illegal lockout, as well as immediate access to the property.

Here’s What To Do If You’ve Been Served With A No-Cause Eviction

NRS 40.251 covers evictions for no-cause in Nevada. If you are served with a no-cause eviction notice, you have 30 days (or 7, if paying weekly) to vacate the property. If you do not respond or vacate the unit within 30 days, your landlord must serve you with a 5-day unlawful detainer, which gives you 5 judicial days to respond in court by filing a tenant’s affidavit. If you do not respond and do not leave, your landlord can request a 24-hour lockout order from the court, and you will be locked out by the sheriff 24 to 36 hours after the lockout is posted.

Maybe. If you are 60 or older, or if you have a physical or mental disability, you can request an additional 30 days to vacate the apartment, and your landlord must grant your request. The request must be in writing and provide proof of qualifying age or disability (e.g., a copy of a driver’s license or ID card, or a Social Security disability statement). If your landlord grants your request, get it in writing.

Follow these steps below to protect your rights as a tenant in Nevada:

  • If you are behind on rent and receive a no-cause eviction notice, follow the steps outlined here [link to nonpayment evictions page]. Request mediation and a stay of eviction.
  • If you are current on rent, file a tenant’s affidavit if you have a legal argument against the eviction. Common legal arguments may include improper service, improper notice, the lease has not expired, or the eviction is retaliatory under NRS 118A.510. Note that service must be done by a constable, sheriff, licensed process server, or an agent of an attorney licensed in Nevada.
  • If your landlord pursues the eviction by filing a landlord’s affidavit, the court will schedule a hearing (usually within two weeks). Be sure to attend the hearing and provide evidence supporting your legal arguments.

For a Tenant’s Affidavit in Opposition to Summary Eviction and other forms, visit Reno Justice Court or Sparks Justice Court to access court-approved forms for Washoe County.

The fee is $71, but if you qualify, file a fee waiver – contact the court to obtain a fee waiver form.

If the judge proceeds with eviction, at your request, and at the judge’s discretion, they can give you up to 10 extra days to move.

A 24-hour order of removal is commonly called a lockout order, which the sheriff will post on your door. By law, the sheriff must wait 24-36 hours after the lockout order is posted before a lockout occurs; however, the Sheriff typically appears 24 hours after the lockout order is posted.

Yes. If you have already had a hearing and lost, you can appeal the lockout and pay a $250 bond to the court, which should stop the lockout if the lockout has not yet occurred, but you should make sure the court contacts the Sheriff’s office and cancels the lockout.

If you did not file a tenant’s affidavit with the court, then you can file a motion to stay eviction. You will need to explain why you did not file a timely response to the eviction notice, and you will need to present your legal defenses to the eviction. File the motion to stay as soon as you can, which gives the judge time to review it before the lockout takes effect. If you wait until the end of the day, it is possible the judge will not have time to review the motion before you are locked out the next morning.

In Nevada, tenants can be evicted after only one notice for rent non-payment

According to state law (NRS 40.253), you will only receive one notice for nonpayment of rent. If you do not respond and do not vacate the unit, your landlord can request a 24-hour lockout order from the court, and you will be locked out by the sheriff in 24-36 hours.

A landlord must serve a tenant a 7-day notice to pay the past due to rent or quit (vacate) the premises. This notice may be served at any time after the rent becomes due. If you rent by the week or have lived on the premises for 45 days or less, then the landlord may serve you with a notice of only 4 days.

No. The manager/landlord can serve you a 7-day notice (or a 4-day notice for “weekly tenants”) to pay rent or quit the premises even if you are only one day late.

Follow these steps below to protect your rights as a Nevada tenant:

  1. If you haven’t already, file for rental assistance with Reno Housing Authority, the City of Reno, Washoe County, or any other organization providing rental assistance. Once you have applied, save your confirmation email or application confirmation paperwork.
  2. File a tenant’s affidavit (within 7 judicial days) with the court. Be sure to request mediation, which will delay the eviction for 30 days while you and your landlord attempt to work out a solution in mediation. If you have a pending rental assistance application, be sure to state this in your tenant’s affidavit, as the court is required, under AB 486, to stay the eviction while you pursue, in good faith, a pending rental assistance application. In your tenant’s affidavit, attach a copy of your eviction notice and rental assistance application confirmation email.
  3. In your tenant’s affidavit, also include any other arguments against the eviction (e.g., incorrect service, incorrect notice, dispute of amount owed, eviction is for money owed that is not rent). Note that service must be done by a constable, sheriff, licensed process server, or an agent of an attorney licensed in Nevada, and a nonpayment eviction notice must include language summarizing AB 486 Sections 2, 3, and 4.
  4. Attend mediation and follow up with the rental assistance agency every week. Document your efforts to receive rental assistance.
  5. If a solution is not reached in mediation, attend the eviction hearing and submit evidence to the court that your rental assistance application is still pending and your efforts to complete the application. If your landlord refuses to participate in the rental assistance process or refuses to accept rental assistance funds, notify the court and request that the court dismisses the eviction under AB 486.
  6. If you receive rental assistance, submit your approval letter to the court and ask the court to dismiss the case under AB 486. If you are denied rental assistance and cannot apply anywhere else, ask the court to stay the eviction for 10 days while you vacate the apartment. Alternately, you can move out early and notify your landlord in writing; however, you will still need to appear at the eviction hearing to make sure the court dismisses the eviction before a lockout order is issued unless the eviction hearing is vacated at the request of your landlord.

The fee is $71, but if you qualify, file a fee waiver – contact the court to obtain a fee waiver form.

If the judge proceeds with eviction, at your request, and at the judge’s discretion, they can give you up to 10 extra days to move.

A 24-hour order of removal is commonly called a lockout order, which the sheriff will post on your door. By law, the sheriff must wait 24-36 hours after the lockout order is posted before a lockout occurs; however, the Sheriff typically appears 24 hours after the lockout order is posted.

Yes. If you have already had a hearing and lost, you can appeal the lockout and pay a $250 bond to the court, which should stop the lockout if the lockout has not yet occurred, but you should make sure the court contacts the Sheriff’s office and cancels the lockout.

How Much Can My Landlord Raise My Rent In Nevada?

There is no rent control in Nevada to regulate how much the manager or landlord can raise your rent.

  • Month-to-month tenancy: If you are renting month-to-month, the manager or landlord is required to serve you a 60-day advance written notice of any proposed rent increase.
  • Week-to-week tenancy: If you are paying less than monthly, for example, week-to-week or every two weeks, you should be served a written notice at least 30 days in advance.
  • Lease Agreement tenancy: If you have a written lease for a term and it does not contain a provision allowing a rent increase, your rent cannot be increased during the term of the lease. If rent is to increase upon expiration of the lease term, a 60 day written notice is required to be served by the landlord.

If you cannot afford or do not agree with the rent increase, you should give the manager or landlord a written 30-day notice before you intend to vacate the premises.

A rule or regulation adopted or changed after the tenancy begins is enforceable after a 30-day advance written notice of the new rule or regulation. The new rules or regulations must: Be for the purpose to promote convenience, safety, or welfare of the landlord or tenant; apply to all tenants in a fair manner; made in good faith so as not to avoid an obligation by the landlord; not affect the tenant’s obligation to pay rent, utilities, or other charges; and not affect, before the end of the lease, any right the tenant may have under the lease to keep a pet, according to NRS 118A.320.

How do tenant security deposits work in Nevada?

According to Nevada law (NRS 118A.240), the security deposit is a sum of money paid by a tenant to the landlord as a sort of insurance policy to be used for:

  • Past rent when a tenant fails to pay;
  • The cost of repairing damages above normal wear;
  • The cost of cleaning the premises;
  • A combination of any of the above.

The total amount of the required security deposit cannot exceed three months’ rent, including prepayment of the last month’s rent.

A landlord may only keep as much of the security deposit as is necessary to remedy any default in rent, repair any damages above normal wear, and reasonably clean the premises.

If the landlord sends you a list of deductions and you disagree with those deductions and the amount of the deposit refunded, you may sue the landlord in Small Claims Court to recover the amount which you believe that the landlord has unreasonably kept.

Yes, a landlord can keep all or part of a security deposit to recover past due rent.Yes, a landlord can keep all or part of a security deposit to recover past due rent.

A rental or lease agreement can provide that a cleaning charge in a reasonable amount is nonrefundable, but no other part of the security deposit can be considered non-refundable.

Within 30 days after the termination of tenancy, the landlord must give the tenant an itemized accounting of the security deposit kept for repairs beyond normal wear, cleaning, or back rent, and must return any remaining portion of the deposit.

The landlord must hand the itemized accounting and refund balance personally to the tenant at the place the rent is paid or mail it to the tenant’s present address, or, if unknown, their last known address.

If the landlord fails to return the balance of the security deposit and itemized accounting within 30 days of termination of tenancy, the tenant can sue in Small Claims Court for the return of the deposit.