Nevada Rental Laws

Written by on November 19, 2012

State Flag of NevadaThis article summarizes some key Nevada Landlord-Tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

We’ve used the Official State Statutes and other online sources cited below to research this information and it should be a good starting point in learning about the law.

With that said, our summary is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice. Laws and statutes are always subject to change, and may even vary from county to county or city to city.

You are responsible for performing your own research and complying with all laws applicable to your unique situation.

If you have legal questions or concerns, we recommend consulting with the appropriate government agencies and/or a qualified lawyer in your area. Your local or state bar association may have a referral service that can help you find a lawyer with experience in landlord-tenant law.

Nevada has not adopted the Uniform Residential Landlord & Tenant Act (URLTA).

This research and information is current as of November 15, 2012.

Official Rules and Regulations

Details

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: equal to 3 months of rent (NRS 118A.242(1))
  • Security Deposit Interest: No Statute
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: No Statute
  • Pet Deposits and Additional Fees: No Statute
  • Non-Refundable Fees: Landlord must disclose and explain any non-refundable fees (which are allowed for cleaning) in the lease agreement. (NRS 118A.242(8))
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 30 days after lease termination/Tenant moves out (NRS 118A.242(4)(5))
  • Require Written Description / Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes (NRS 118A.242(4)(5))
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No Statute

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent Increase Notice: 45 days or, in the case of any periodic tenancy of less than 1 month, 15 days in advance of the first rental payment to be increased (NRS 118A.300)
  • Late Fees: No Statute
  • Prepaid Rent: No Statute
  • Returned Check Fees: No Statute
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Yes (NRS 118.355)
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: Yes (NRS 118.355)
  • Landlord Allow to Recover Court and Attorney’s Fees: No Statute
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: Yes (NRS 118.175)
  • Hold-over converts to Month-to-Month: Yes, unless tenant pays weekly, then it converts to Week-to-Week

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Yearly Lease: No Statute
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Month-to-Month: 30 days (NRS 40.251)
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Week-to-week: 7 days (NRS 40.251)
  • Notice of date/time of Move-Out Inspection: No Statute
  • Eviction Notice for Nonpayment: 5 days (NRS 40.2512)
  • Eviction Notice for Lease Violation: 5 days, but must fix the issue within the first 3 days or Landlord can file for eviction. (NRS 40.2514NRS 40.2516)
  • Required Notice before Entry: 24 hours (NRS 118A.330)
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): 24 hours (NRS 118A.330)
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No Statute
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Yes (NRS 118A.330)
  • Lockouts Allowed: No (NRS 118A.390)
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No (NRS 118A.390)

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Rules:

  • Tenant has the right to display the flag of the United States of America (NRS 118A.325, NRS 118A.200)
  • Landlord must include verbiage in the lease that summarizes the rule NRS 202.470 – Maintaining or permitting nuisance: Penalty (NRS 118A.200)
  • Landlord must provide a completed move-in checklist stating the inventory and condition of the dwelling at the time the tenant takes possession. (NRS 118A.200)
  • Landlord must inform the Tenant in writing, if the property is subject to a pending foreclosure. (NRS 118A.200)
  • Landlord must explain, in the Lease, the conditions upon which the deposit will be refunded. (NRS 118A.200)
  • Other than normal wear, the premises will be returned in the same condition as when the tenancy began. (NRS 118A.200)
  • Special Protections for Domestic Violence Victims: No Statute
  • Examples of retaliation include filing an eviction lawsuit, terminating a tenancy, refuse to renew, increasing the rent, or decreasing services. (NRS 118A.510)
  • Retaliation is assumed if the Landlord takes such action after Tenant complains to the landlord about unsafe or illegal living conditions. (NRS 118A.510)
  • Retaliation is assumed if the Landlord  takes such action after Tenant complains to a government agency, such as a building or health inspector, about unsafe or illegal living conditions. (NRS 118A.510)
  • Retaliation is assumed if the Landlord takes such action after a Tenant joins or organizing a tenant union, for the purpose of presenting his/her views. (NRS 118A.510)
  • Retaliation is assumed if the Landlord takes such action after Tenant exercises a legal right allowed by your state or local law. (NRS 118A.510)

Court Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Business License required: No state-wide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements.  Check with your local governing authority.

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605 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Brianna

    Hi,
    I have been renting a house in the clark county area for 6 months now. When we moved in i never did a walk around, seen the property, or seen any damage. Living here for 6 months we have replaced and fixed many of items pool pumps, blinds, cleaned carpet, and etc. I have 6 children living here we moved in while she was evicting the last tenant’s literally. For all that we fixed and done she wont repay us. If we withhold the rent shell evicted us. She claims to have friends in the court system. Im tired of putting money into a property thats not mines. I wont to move without paying rent as of i feel like all i have done has well over past the amount of rent. From getting the pool cleaned 3x, to replacing pumps, to cleaning junk from other tenants, to replacing all blinds, having professional come out in spray from past tenants, to fixing leaks for outside water faucet, cleaning carpets from last tenants is just too much im done and i want to leave what can i do?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Brianna

      You’re not going to like this, but I personally think your best option is to continue paying rent, negotiate a way of the lease, and then sue the landlord in small claims court after the fact.

      After you settle up and move out, if you think the landlord owes you money for all the repairs, then you can sue him/her for it. Small claims is effective and inexpensive.

      You’re right, if you withhold rent for money that a judge has not approved, you will get evicted.

      If you’re looking for a way to avoid paying rent, you should absolutely talk to a lawyer – which I am not, nor is this legal advice.

  • Kari

    I have a question about tenant rights, we have been renting an older home with a lot of problems for over a year. Our lease will be up in July 2015. Our property management company has been amazing on most levels, always quick to send out a repairman for issues.

    However the biggest issue is there is a septic problem and we have had standing sewer water in our backyard for 6 months. They have sent multiple companies out in the last 3 months to submit bids on the job, but the owner is dragging his feet as to settling on a company. He is trying to save money (understandably) but we have no idea if or when this will be resolved and we have had sick dogs and it stinks. Not to mention possible hazards to the neighbors.
    What is a reasonable time frame for us to expect this to be resolved? When we ask we are told “we are working on it”.
    I’m at my wits end as I do not want a ding on my rental history but i feel like a doormat at his point. Thanks in advance for advice!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Kari,

      Unfortunately, I’ve not seen a rule or statute that puts a time limit on repairs like this. If it affects habitability, then it should get handled ASAP. Other major issues can get delayed as long as the landlord is actively working on it. Other non-critical repairs can get delayed until the landlord decides to fix it as long as it isn’t cutting your service short.

      Because it’s a sewage issue, I suggest calling your local housing authority or health department. They might send someone out to inspect the issues. If it qualifies as a hazard, they will likely fine the landlord until it is resolved.

      I hope that helps. Please keep in mind I am not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice. Further, if you do contact a lawyer, he/she will likely be able to persuade the landlord to take action. Good luck!

    • Debbie

      Go to the Health Dept and file a complaint Mail the agency that has the rental and tell them you want it fixed asap note the time frame you have already allowed this to go on. Keep the original for the Health Dept and CC: on the bottom. make a copy for yourself. DO NOT mail it the health Dept take it in with your copy and have some there stamp it. If all else fail call a TV station they might be happy to help you. Tenants rights are going away FAST.

  • Sabrina

    Lucas, I was wondering if you knew if there are differences between a lease (of premises – whole house) and a room rental agreement where the homeowner lives with you part-time.

    Contract states that the rent includes utilities, which are all listed. The language uses some lease terms but is posed as a room rental agreement. After he threatened to evict me for no evictable reason, I found a place, quickly and I asked if he would consider taking a reduction in rent for the following month since rent includes utilities which I won’t be using. I understand that he doesn’t have to say yes, but I’m also not clear on the rules for room rental agreements which include utilities.

    In addition, his dog has recently puked on my couch, peed on my bed, and pooped on my bed. He is totally unapologetic. He owns numerous guns, makes me and my guests uncomfortable, and – despite requests – doesn’t communicate about when he will and will not be here and shows up w/o notice. I want out of here. Help?

    If I can move into my new place by April 10 and rent is due by April 3rd, per agreement, he could not hand me an “eviction notice” for non-payment until April 8th, and I’d be gone before 5 more days would pass. After he threatened to evict me in mid-March, I told him I wanted to leave by 4/15 but he still wants whole months rent for April including utilities. Do the laws require him to attempt to re-rent the room if I skip out? Is there any way I could forgo paying April’s rent and still get my deposit back?

    I read that “A tenant may also be able to break a lease early if the landlord seriously interferes with the tenant’s ability to enjoy his or her tenancy–for example, by repeatedly violating the tenant’s privacy rights.” The agreement was that he’d be here one week a month and instead he’s been here a lot and provides no notice of coming and going, despite requests. He has also moved my belongings from upstairs to the garage once and moved my motorcycle and other things around

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Sabrina,

      NRS 118.175 requires a landlord to mitigate damages to a tenant who abandons a lease. The most common form of this is to find a replacement tenant.

      http://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-118.html#NRS118Sec175

      Personally, I can’t tell you whether or not you would be responsible for the rent. You both have to follow the lease, and pay when rent is due. But it sounds like you don’t want to pay, and he doesn’t want to respect required notice periods, privacy laws, etc.

      Because your situation is a hot mess, I suggest that you try your best to negotiate with him, and fulfill your obligation to the signed contract. If he wrongs you, then you can take him to small claims court, but at least you’ll be blameless.

      Keep in mind, I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • James

    Hello I need help figuring out if my lease responsibility after moving out has been nullified by my landlord’s recent actions. I moved out of The Highlands student housing on March 18th, turning in my keys and doing a final walkthrough. I paid rent already through March. I am still liable for the remaining lease amount until they rent out the unit again, which I thought would be easy as my unit is the only vacant 2×2.
    On March 30th I went to get mail from by old roommate and noticed someone moving into my unit. I was told that it was temporary, at least three weeks though, as his unit in the Highlands had been flooded and several people were displaced.
    The landlord did not contact me, and I feel as though the chance of it being re-let is significantly reduced as a walk thru is not even possible now. If someone is interested then they can’t see the unit while its empty, or clean. The unit would have to be cleaned before anyone moved in!
    Did the landlord err here?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi James,

      NRS 118.175 requires a landlord to mitigate damages to a tenant who abandons a lease. The most common form of this is to find a replacement tenant.

      http://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-118.html#NRS118Sec175

      If he’s not doing that, then he would be in violation of that statute. If he decided to use the vacancy to place another tenant (even temporarily), then he is probably receiving rent from them, and therefore double-dipping on the rent.

      To be honest, I can’t give you legal advice, nor tell you what would happen in court. But if you should do your research into that statute and talk to a lawyer (which I am not). If you still feel that he wrongfully made you pay for that rent, then you could take him to small claims court.

      Good luck to you.

  • Will

    Hello have a question on renting a room been here for a few months got home from work and had a note on the door saying evection go ..on it I called him cause i got a note a few hours later saying he thinks I should find a new spot cause I didn’t pay yet I got these on the 1st of April so in a text he says April fools, so confused.. his las tnote says I have till the end of the week and the locks will be changed is there anything I can do or do I have to pay and get out in a couple days I get mail here there is no written lease whatcan I do ?anyone???

  • Tori Lyon

    Hi, I am looking to buy a small inexpensive condo for my son to live in while a student at UNR. My question is about a tenant that is in a unit that wants to remain after the property is sold. As far as I know there is no lease and the unit will be owner occupied. Will I have a problem with the tenant if I give them notice to move after the sale closes?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Toni,

      You are correct in thinking that leases don’t naturally terminate when a property is sold. However, if the tenant only has a month-to-month agreement, then once you become the new landlord, you can give him 30 days notice to vacate NRS 40.251 : http://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-040.html#NRS040Sec251

      If the tenant refuses to leave, then you would have to go through the eviction courts just like every other landlord.

      If you haven’t already put a contract on the house, I’d suggest forcing the current landlord to give the tenant 30 days written notice of the lease termination as part of your contract terms. That way, while the condo is pending a sale, the 30 day clock is ticking. With any luck, the tenant will be gone by the time you settle on the unit.

      I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Austin

    I have been renting at an apartment complex for about 5 months now. I recently referred my sister and was told that I would get 200$ off next months rent. My rent is 814$ and so I paid 614$. Yesterday I got an eviction letter on my door stating that I owed them 200$. I went down to the leasing office, and they told me that I would get the 200$’s off once my sister paid her first months rent. She paid it and now they’re saying that she has to pay “the first full month of rent” since it was prorated. Then they said once she does pay it that it isn’t a rent credit, but a check that I can cash. We both signed the paper work, but didn’t receive copies. I also feel that they didn’t disclose all the details of the deal, and false advertised. What can I do? Because I don’t have the 200$ and don’t get paid for the next two weeks. I feel like I’ve been scammed. Is there anything I can do, or am I basically screwed? Thanks for your time and response.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Austin,

      Sorry for the delay in responding. I’ve seen this promotion tactic before and though complicated, it makes sense.

      They don’t want to pay the “reward” until they are sure that your referral isn’t going to ditch the lease. Once the referral has committed a full month’s rent, then there won’t be an issue.

      How’d it go? My suggestion would be to pay your rent in full, and wait for the reimbursement. What did you end up doing?

  • Jennie

    My husband and I will be breaking our lease. Our lease states we have to give a 30 day notice, pay for 2 additional months after 30 day notice and they keep our deposit. Two questions: 1. Can they keep our pet deposit($600) as well? 2. They stated in the walk through to get the carpets cleaned when moving out to get the deposit back but do we need to have them cleaned since we won’t be getting our deposit back? I appreciate any advice you can give!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Jennie,

      Sorry for the delayed response. In situations like this, everyone has to follow the lease. So if it has an early termination fee, then that’s how everyone needs to handle the situation – which might include fees for you.

      At this point, I don’t know what motivation you have to clean the carpets considering you wouldn’t get your deposit back in the first place. To be honest, I think holding the deposit is a little extreme. The deposit usually should only be used to offset damages. If you pay 2 month’s rent, they probably won’t have any damages – perhaps besides some minor physical repairs. But it probably won’t add up enough to use up your whole deposit.

      If I were in your shoes, I would certainly demand that the deposit be used to make repairs to excessive damages (i.e. carpet cleaning), and then the rest is returned. They would have a hard time validating the withholding if they didn’t actually suffer any real damages. It doesn’t really matter what the contract says there. If you’re feeling strong about it, you could attempt to sue them in small claims court for the deposit if they fail to present an itemized statement of damages.

      Please know that your situation is uniquely yours, and I’m not a lawyer. For legal advice, I suggest talking with a licensed attorney.

  • Manny

    Hi Lucas, our rental house was burglarized while we were away. Prior to us moving in, we were not informed of the house history. According to the police report that the house has numerous break ins. 2011, 2014 & 2015. My question is, should the property management company are entitled to tell the renters which is us?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Manny,

      Although I’m not a lawyer, I’ve not seen a state statute that forces a landlord to disclose this. In fact, I think it should be the tenant’s job to perform their own research on an area and the specific house prior to signing a lease. The police records are public record, and can be accessed by anyone.

      In my opinion, the landlord is responsible for providing a habitable dwelling with proper locks and security lighting. With that said, if my rental had been broken into multiple times, I would certainly install a better security system.

  • Ramírez A.

    I have been living in this apartment complex for 4years and since i had this new neighbor move in i had nothing but him complaining about my miniature 7year old Chihuahua. I paid $250 for my dog to be living here.what can i do of him harassing me?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Ramirez,

      If he’s just complaining for the sake of complaining, then ignore him.

      If your dog is causing a legitimate nuisance, then you need to take steps to prevent the dog from causing the issue, such as failing to pick up after the pet, constant barking during quiet hours, or property damage. If you don’t, your lease can be terminated.

      But if your neighbor is being overly sensitive, just tell him “tough rocks”.

      That’s just my opinion. Please know that I’m not a lawyer nor is this legal advice.

  • Rita

    Hello, I have a question, I live in Nevada and I am currently not employed because a injury at work, I have not been able to work, I have live in my apartment for more than 2 years without no problem, now I am unable to pay my rent next month, is any way I can stop evicion?
    Thank you

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Rita,

      The best way to stop the eviction is to pay the rent.

      Regardless of any injury, a tenant will lose the right to live in a property if he/she doesn’t pay rent.

      If you want legal help or advice, please talk to an attorney (which I am not)

    • candice

      Rita, there are many non-profit organizations that can help you pay rent. Call 211 and you can get a list of places who have funding available. Also, check with your local charities, they also may be able to help you. We’ve been in this situation many times. Good luck!

  • Sandra Pecorino

    I live in Public housing in Las Vegas NV
    I am being harassed by the manager here on a pretty regular basis.
    She comes into my apartment when I am not home. Yesterday she wanted me to open my door
    to a person who had a canine with him to check for bedbugs. I have lived here for 3 years never
    had bedbugs and I think I would be the first to know if I did. I refused to allow them to come in
    and told them if they didn’t stop banging on my door I would call the police. The guy answered
    me back go a head and I ended up calling 911. When the police got here I explained what was going
    on and I asked him what should I do he said call the constable’s office. After he left I called 311
    and got the number I was told by them they only deal with evictions. I would think the cop
    should have known what he was talking about but he didn’t. Last year I had a problem with
    the pipes banging 24/7 I called code enforcement they came and the manager was sited for not having the building up to code.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Sandra,

      In NV, managers are required to give 24 hours notice before entering (NRS 118A.330). http://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-118A.html#NRS118ASec330

      As for the other issues, the manager should provide a clean, bug-free property when you first move-in. If they don’t, then they should continue to work to remedy the issue. But it sounds like your manager doesn’t care, and probably won’t lift a finger. You might need to get legal help in order to escalate this. Have you considered talking to a free or discounted legal aid provider? There are a few listed in the “Helpful links” section above: http://www.landlordology.com/nevada-landlord-tenant-laws/#links

      I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Rose

    I currently rent a “luxury apartment” in Las Vegas. My one year lease is almost up, but during my stay I have had nothing but issues and problems.. This complex is newly built and I was one of the first tenants, after the units began to populate I discovered that the walls were so thin that I can hear the neighbor urinate, the neighbor on the south wall “snores” extremely loud and consistent through the night every night, I have had countless sleepless nights and have even lost a job, due to my lack of sleep, I was unable to perform. I emailed these issues to management and no reply. Recently, due to theft in the area they have deactivated the gate codes (with out notice ) and we can only enter using a remote, only one remote is issued with the lease all others have a fee of $50, when i spoke to the office they said either I pay for an additional remote or I will have to call myself from the list to let myself in. I consider that an inconvenience. Help!

    • Sandra Pecorino

      This city is the worse to live in, we have elected officials that don’t do their jobs and don’t
      care. I have gone as far as contacted Senator Dean Heller’s office, Congressman Cresent Hardy’s
      office and also calling the police. My next step is to go to court and file a harassment cause
      against Hud

  • k leib

    i signed a 1-year lease that states “TERM: The term hereof shall commence on (date 2014) and continue until (date 2015), for a total rent of $(amount), then on a month-to-month basis thereafter, until either party shall terminate the same by giving the other party thirty (30) days written notice delivered by certified mail (all calculation based on 30 day month).” Today, in the mail, i received a “Renewal of lease contract/notice of rental increase” stating “PER YOUR LEASE AGREEMENT, a 25% rent increase in the amount of $(amount) will be applied to the current rent amount for a month to month tenancy.” It does NOT state in my lease agreement, in the Terms, anything about an increase in rent. Can they do that?

    • k leib

      Renewal also states, at the beginning, “This renewal agreement dated (date 2015) as a rider to and forms part of the original lease…,” so they are just adding it to the lease later, and this is okay??

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi K

      By definition, a month-to-month lease can be modified every month. The only way to ensure that your rent doesn’t go up is to signed a “fixed-term” lease, similar to your original lease. If you let it rollover to month-to-month, the landlord can change the price, and modify terms every month (with proper notice). Thats the blessing and curse of a monthly lease.

      Unless you need the flexibility of a monthly lease, why not ask for a fixed-term lease once your original lease has expired. That way, you can negotiate a good rate – one free of rent increases for a fixed term.

      I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Sandra Pecorino

    No, they cannot do that until your original lease is up. If you agree and sign a new lease that
    new part will be included.

  • Barbara D'Ambrosio

    Is there a law that states the tenant cannot be at the move out inspection? The management company my landlord uses says I cannot be there. For my own protection, I am taking pictures of everything and having a witness along as well. I was also told that the inspection can take as long as thirty days after I vacate the premises. Is there a law about that? Thank you.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Barbara,

      As far as I know, NV doesn’t have a rule about the notice of a move-out inspection. If there’s no rule on the “notice”, then I don’t see how there could be a rule (one way or another) about being present at the inspection.

      The move-out inspection should take place before another tenant occupies the place. Otherwise, once a new tenant moves-in, they have no way to prove who caused the damages. Their data is ruined at that point, and I don’t know how they could hold you responsible for anything.

      A landlord/manager has 30 days after lease termination/Tenant moves out to return the deposit and/or an itemized list of damages (NRS 118A.242(4)(5)). If they hope to follow the law, they would need to perform the inspection before 30 days to give themselves time to perform any withholdings and mail the money back to you before the 30 day deadline. http://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-118A.html#NRS118ASec242

      You did the right thing by taking pictures and videos. If the landlord wrongfully withholds money for damages you didn’t cause, just take them to court with your evidence.

      Good luck! Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Omar Dunlap

    I signed a lease on an apartment but never took possession of the place and never paid any money. Can I change my mind prior to the lease beginning?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Omar,

      Usually not. A contract is a contract. You agreed to pay rent. It doesn’t really matter if you move-in. If you fail to pay rent, then the landlord will assume you have abandoned the lease. Then the landlord will find a new tenant and hold you responsible for the rent up until the new tenant starts paying. Or at least that’s once scenario.

      In my non-legal opinion, I suggest being honest with your landlord. Perhaps you can come to an agreement together. Perhaps if you do the legwork to find a replacement, your landlord will let you off the hook.

      Good luck! Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • brian

    Hi,
    I’m currently living in condo in las vegas. I’m going to move into house so I want to rent out my condo as vacation rental. is this legal? I still have 3 month until my lease is up. i’m thinking about put ads on craigslist or airbnb.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Brian,

      It would really depend on if your lease allows subletting. If not, then you could get in trouble with your landlord if you use AirBnB, or any other subletting method.

      It’s best to be honest with your landlord. Explain the situation, and perhaps you can come to an agreement. We wrote an article about this, and how if you share the extra income with the landlord, you might get approval to sublet: http://www.landlordology.com/make-extra-money-sublet-with-airbnb/

  • Sal

    Can someone help me with this?:
    I have a rental property and had tenants evicted. Lease agreement says they were responsible for paying all utilities. I had to evicted them ’cause they didn’t pay the rent on time. My question is: I’m I responsible to pay a water bill they neglected to pay even if the water account was under their name?

    Thanks for your help

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Sal,

      At the end of the day, the water company will hold you (the owner) responsible for the bill. You should ensure that they get paid so they don’t put a lien on the property. However, you certainly could (and should) sue your former tenants in small claims court in order to try an get the money back. It won’t be hard to prove that they are didn’t pay it, but should have – especially when they didn’t pay rent either.

      After you get the judgement, then you can consider options for collecting rent, such as garnishments or collections agencies.

      I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Kelley Madsen

    Hi Lucas,

    My landlord has sold our house and we have been given our 30 day notice as this deal is to close on May 15th. Am I required to pay rent for May? Can I request that my deposit which is equal to 1 months rent be used as my last months rent? He is selling the house “as is” therefore he doesn’t have to fix anything that may be wrong with it, so am I entitled to my entire deposit? I really need help on this as soon as possible…
    Thanks!!

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Kelley,

      I would imagine that you would have to pay rent until the end of your lease. If they are rightfully allowed to terminate your lease on May 15th, then you would only have to pay until May 15th.

      However, are you sure they can even terminate the lease? Is there a termination clause in the lease about the sale of the property? Generally speaking, a landlord can’t just terminate it because the house is being sold. Generally, if you have a fixed term lease, it just transfers with the house, and the tenant is allowed to finish our the lease. Here is a podcast episode I did on it: http://www.landlordology.com/ask-lucas/006-lease-termination-at-sale-of-property/

      Generally speaking, a tenant CANNOT dictate how a deposit is used, and is usually NEVER allowed to say “use it for last month’s rent”. Doing so could be interpreted as failing to pay rent as promised, and could get you evicted sooner than you would want to leave.

      Good luck, I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Nina Crystal

    I am currently having an issue in my new apartment complex, I moved in not seeing the apartment before signing the lease (my mistake). I have missing cabinets in my bathroom, a leak in my tub and washer, my a/c not working properly, floor squeak everywhere and my frames and tub unfinished. Maintenance came in to fix the issue for the tub but, the following day it was back to leaking. I am wondering if I can break my lease and not be charged for any penalty fee? This living condition is frustrating for me, they are taking long enough to fix my issues and I do not want to live in the complex any further.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Nina,

      A tenant is generally allowed to break the lease if the issues render the unit uninhabitable. Therefore, it really depends on the severity of the issues. Not having water would be a major issue, but a squeakily floor (though annoying) is only a minor issue.

      If you’d like to break the lease, I suggest you talk to a lawyer first, and get help writing the notice letter.

  • sruiz

    What is the Protocol to follow with a Lease Agreement ( Husband and Wife ) one spouse wants off the lease as they are moving from Premises, there is 4 months left to fulfill the Lease

    My concern is the Breaking of the lease as a whole, perhaps one party would prefer to take the Hit versus both, I am not clear on the Intentions as of yet, however I do want to understand as much as possible to protect landlord rights to collect as well.
    This is a Community Property state, I have requested written notice from both parties the occupant and terminating spouse each provide for records.
    Please share any specifics I should know and Follow for better protection prior to agreeing to this option.

    Thank you

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Sruiz,

      First of all, the landlord is under no obligation to modify the fixed term lease. The landlord can hold both parties responsible, even if one moves out. Just because the spouse decides to move-out doesn’t mean that the lease needs to be changed. The remaining spouse can simply choose to continue paying rent – as always. No need for the landlord to get involved at all.

      If you, as the landlord, have concerns about whether or not the remaining spouse will be able to pay rent, then you should insist that both stay on the lease. Even if one doesn’t live there anymore, you want the option of suing both if you need to. If you take one spouse off the lease, you release him/her from the obligation to pay, and would only be able to sue the remaining tenant.

      However, as a landlord myself, I want to try to help the situation, so I get paid. If they both are in agreement to remove the one spouse, and the remaining one certainly qualifies for the unit by him/herself, then I might agree to modify the lease. Otherwise, I’d leave it alone and let it runs it’s natural course.

      …just my two cents. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

      • sruiz

        Thank you for your attention with this, I have requested this in writing from Both parties, The staying party wants to change Locks on the home which is where the concern comes in, there is a history of threats of divorcing which have been brought to my attetntion on the Past, this time it is a Request to remove the Leaving tenant as they continue with the Divorce Process.

        The locks changing is my question this is a Community property state they both are on the lease, the primary ( Husband ) is staying he makes most of the Income.
        Thoughts?

        Thank you

        • Lucas Hall

          As the landlord, you’re not allowed to deny access to someone on the lease. So, if you you leave them both on the lease, you need to give both of them a key. But the simply solution is to tell them to “work it out among themselves”. Why cant the departing spouse just give his/her keys to the remaining spouse. That way, you didn’t have to change the locks, and the departing spouse voluntarily gave up the keys to the roommate.

          Also, generally speaking, the only time a landlord “has” to change the locks is if there is an official report of domestic violence, and one of them being forced out.

          Now, if you do allow the wife to be removed from the lease, you could have the locks changed and deny access to the wife after she leaves. However, I would force the tenants to pay for the lock change since they requested it.

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