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Landlord-Tenant Law

This page is concerning residential non-mobile home leases only. Other laws may apply to mobile homes or commercial leases.

Do I need a lease agreement?

Although some people believe a verbal agreement may suffice, I strongly suggest having a written contract (See also, my page on Contracts) to avoid potential pitfalls. A written contract can avoid the common “he said, she said” scenario where your landlord or tenant may argue for terms you never agreed upon or discussed, and a court could very well believe the other party, depending on the evidence. Conversely, having a written lease can also ensure your landlord/tenant does not try to impose obligations on you that the lease does not support. Hiring an attorney to draft or to review your lease agreement could prevent possible problems down the road.

Common issues with tenants:

Common issues a landlord may face are a tenant who won’t pay rent, is violating lease terms, or is causing property destruction. Nevada allows you to evict a tenant for these and other reasons.  In addition, a landlord can sue the tenant for any damages for the breach or misconduct. The landlord must give an eviction notice first, which is followed by a five-day Unlawful Detainer Notice. (Note: if a landlord is evicting for nonpayment of rent, then the first notice is also an Unlawful Detainer notice, so no second notice is required.) The tenant can file an Affidavit in court to try to contest the eviction, which triggers the court to schedule a hearing.  If both parties attend the hearing and the landlord prevails, the tenant can still try to appeal the decision, which could indefinitely prolong the eviction process.

If you are a landlord facing an undesirable or problematic tenant, you should consider retaining an attorney to ensure you follow all proper steps and procedures to try to preserve your rights and remedies under the law.

Common issues with landlords:

A common issue a tenant may face with a landlord is the landlord’s failure to repair a problem with the property. Nevada law recognizes two types of conditions that a landlord must repair: essential services and habitability. 

Essential services are defined as the landlord’s duty “to supply heat, air-conditioning, running water, hot water, electricity, gas, a functioning door lock or another essential item or service.” When the landlord fails to supply an essential service, the tenant should provide a written notice informing the landlord of the failure, after which the landlord has 48 judicial hours to try to remedy the failure. Should the landlord fail to remedy the failure within that time, the tenant may exercise any remedy the law provides, provided the tenant follows all legal requirements.

Habitability issues concern “the health, safety, sanitation or fitness for habitation of the dwelling unit” or other conditions like working plumbing and electrical outlets, among other things. To take advantage of remedies that the law affords, the tenant should provide written notice to the landlord of the problem, which gives the landlord 14 days to try to remedy the condition before the tenant may avail him- or herself to the stated remedies, provided the tenant follows all legal requirements. 

Another common issue a tenant may face is not receiving a security deposit refund from the landlord after vacating the property. As a tenant, you have the right to sue your former landlord for you security deposit and may be entitled to additional sums as well. You should familiarize yourself with Nevada’s laws prior to vacating or even afterwards, to improve your chances of prevailing in court.

If you are a tenant in these or any other situation, it may be in your best interest to retain an attorney ensure you enforce all of your legal rights and remedies.