Landlord & Tenant Resources
Fair Housing Law:
Disputes & Solutions for Tenants
General Information on Landlord/Tenant IssuesHousing Rights Protection
When deciding that you are going to rent a piece of property it is important to understand what rights you have as a tenant and what obligations you have to the landlord as well. In exchange, the landlord does have their own set of expectations which must be met. The specific laws that are in place are meant to protect both parties when it comes to trying to understand and settle any disputes or complications that may arise during the term of the agreement.
A rental agreement should be created once a landlord and tenant have agreed to the terms of occupying the property. One copy should be given to the landlord and a copy to the tenant as well. This ensures that everyone understands what is expected out of them. Some of the things that should definitely be included in the agreement are how long the agreement will last, how much rent is, who will be occupying the premises, what is and is not included in the amount of rent being paid for services, and any additional fees and an explanation of them in their entirety. You may also see listed deposits that are listed and what they are to be used for along with a complete explanation of who is responsible for paying the utilities which are available at the dwelling.
If there is no rental agreement put into place then there are a few things that can come up such as no limits being placed on the pets or children in the home, how many people will be occupying it, maintenance will be provided by the landlord, the building will not have any damages applied to it upon returning, and there will be no late charges if the rent is not received in a timely manner. These reasons explain why exactly it is so important for a rental agreement to be drawn up a soon as the terms are worked out because then there are no questions on either side of the agreement about what will be expected from each other.
As a renter it is crucial to protect yourself from any misunderstandings that may come up. The tenant should always inspect the property in full before agreeing to move in or signing a rental agreement. The best thing to do is a complete walk through of the apartment before moving in and again when moving out with the landlord. Any potential problems or damages should be marked down in writing and signed by both of the parties. This ensures that the tenant is not going to be subjected to repairing or responsible for issues that aren't their fault. A tenant should also avoid allowing any blank spaces to be left in the agreement in case something gets added in that was not agreed to previously. This protects the renter from being taken advantage of.
Increases in the amount of rent collected must be done according to a set of rules and regulations that have been established to protect the renter from unjust adjustments. If the landlord and tenant have a lease, for a year for example, the rent cannot be modified during this time period because it was agreed to previously that the rent would remain at a certain amount during that time period. However, if the agreement is on a month-to-month basis the landlord has the right to increase the rent as long as the increase is given in writing with a 45 day notice so the tenant has the right to leave if they aren't willing to accept the new terms.
Termination of Tenancy
The tenant can vacate the premises according to the terms of the rental agreement but may be able to avoid this in special circumstances where the agreement can be terminated prematurely due to a number of different factors which may require attention. In the state of Nevada a tenant has the right to vacate the property if they have a disability either mental or physical if they are over 60 years old or if their spouse or co-tenant dies. The notice that is required under these provisions is 60 days which is also two months.
Both parties must adhere to the terms that are outlined in the rental agreement and if these are violated then the violating party may be responsible for any damages or costs that are incurred as a result of the problem. A tenant who doesn't fulfill the terms of the lease may be responsible for paying rent for the rest of the lease term if the landlord is not able to get the dwelling rented out after the tenant has vacated.
Deposits that the landlord requires must be outlined specifically in the rental agreement. Their purposes must also be outlined and the total amounts that are to be collected. A security deposit, which is the most common type that is collected, can be used to pay for an amount of rent that the tenant is unable to pay, repairing any major problems that the tenant has caused such as holes in the walls, and cleaning after the tenant has left. A deposit is just that, a deposit, and must be returned to the tenant after the rental agreement has expired whether it is a security or pet deposit.
The landlord has 30 days to return the deposit to the tenant in full or provide a listing and complete explanation of why part or all of the deposit was not returned to the tenant. If the 30 days has passed and no paperwork has been filled out or returned to the tenant than the landlord is responsible to pay the full amount of the deposit back to the tenant without question. If any issues come up when it comes to paying for this the issue may go in front of a court who will look to the law to determine who is awarded what sums of money.
The landlord has a few different things that they are required to do as a landlord. They are responsible for ensuring that the dwelling is in a livable condition. This means that they are not able to rent any building out that they know is not up to standards when it comes to health codes or other building codes that have been put into place. Some of the requirements for livable conditions include
- Having the building being protected from any types of weather or water in both the walls and the roof as well
- Plumbing facilities that are fully functional and operate without any problems
- Water is provided either from a well or other means and is available in both cold and hot forms. It must also be in fully functioning condition
- Some form of heating should be available to the tenant for the duration of the rental agreement
- The electrical codes should be adhered to in regards to the electricity and the wiring of the location
- The dwelling and any surrounding area such as the lawn shouldn't have an accumulation of dirt, debris, vermin, or rodents either.
- All of the floors, roofing, walls, stairs, and banisters should be kept in working order and otherwise good condition
If the landlord does not follow these conditions the tenant has the right to end the rental agreement due to a violation or even make repairs to the property and deduct from the rent if an agreement is made between the two parties to do so. The tenant is ultimately responsible for making the landlord aware of any problems with the dwelling in writing before any actions can be taken by the tenant.
A tenant also has a set of obligations that they need to adhere to as well while living on the premises. The most basic and simple is to abide by the rental agreement that was established at the beginning of the rental which is primarily to pay the rent by the due date and in full. In addition to this they are required to keep the dwelling clean as possible and ensure that all the garbage, ashes, any other waste is disposed of properly. They are also required to keep the electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and elevators in reasonable condition as they were once they moved into the place. A tenant is also responsible for making certain that nothing is damaged or broken. They must also not take anything that belongs on the property including furnishings and appliances that were provided with the dwelling. They also need to make sure that they don't disturb any people around them by acting out in a loud fashion or any other way which will make the other residents peace disturbed.
Similar to the landlord obligations, the tenant can be evicted if they do not follow the appropriate regulations set forth in the agreement. The landlord has a few different things that they can do in these circumstances. They can make the required repairs if they need to be done in order to keep the property in good condition or even evict the tenant if ultimately that is what needs to be done due to a breech in the terms that were already outlined in the agreement.
Upkeep and Repairs
The upkeep of the dwelling is generally the responsibility of the landlord and they are required to make any of the repairs that are necessary in a timely manner. The tenant needs to inform the landlord of what needs to be done if they are not aware of a problem. The common areas, such as in the cases of apartment buildings, are the responsibility of the landlord as well. In some rental agreements repairs may be the responsibility of the tenant but this is only if the agreement states that. If no specifications are set forth about the repairs and upkeep, it is assumed that the landlord is going to be responsible.
The landlord has 48 hours to restore services that may fail such as water, heat, or electricity unless it is a weekend or holiday if they happen to fail as long as the tenant has given them written notice about the complication and service not being available due to repairs being needed.
Withholding Rent for Repairs
The tenant does not have the right to hold rent in order for repairs to be made prior to the repair being fixed unless there has been an agreement between the landlord and tenant for some minor repairs to be made to the property which is therefore then deducted from the total amount of rent that is owed.
There are no laws that specifically state that a tenant is required to carry insurance on the property. However, a rental agreement may specify that the landlord requires insurance to be carried or it is a violation of the agreement as a whole. The landlord may have their own insurance on the property since they are the home owner but the coverage is limited to the property and does not include any guests that may be visiting or the tenants personal belongings. For this very reason, it is highly advised that anyone who is renting a dwelling should purchase renter's insurance to secure their belongings and cover any injuries that may occur on the property as well.
Rules and regulations regarding pets are left entirely up to the landlord's discretion. Usually the terms and conditions for this are outlined in the rental agreement and signed ahead of time. Some of the commonly required conditions for pets specify that references are required before they can move in, shots must be up to date, certain types and breeds are not allowed, or an additional pet deposit may be required in case of damage that is caused because of the pet being there.
Right of Entry
A landlord has the right to enter a property if circumstances allow such as necessary repairs that are required, inspections of the property, services are being carried out, or if they need to show the property to new individuals for the purposes of renting after you have expired your agreement. An emergency also allows the landlord to enter the property but the landlord should not abuse this right to enter for any reason whatsoever. The landlord must also only request to have access to the property during the normal operating business hours and a notice of at least twenty four hours needs to be given to the tenant before entry is made. The only exception to these terms and agreements is if a court order is placed or the tenant abandons the property.
An eviction occurs when the landlord attempts to remove the tenant from the dwelling. There are specific rules and regulations that must be followed by the landlord before a formal eviction can be conducted. An eviction must be conducted legally and has a few different steps that need to be followed.
- A notice needs to be served to the tenant giving them time to vacate the dwelling
- If the tenant doesn't want to leave the landlord needs to file a lawsuit in order for the eviction to happen
- A court hearing is the next step for evicting a tenant where the judge will listen to both sides of the case and rule based on the circumstances surrounding this. If the tenant fails to leave if they have been ordered to be a court the landlord should know that they do not have the right to make the tenant leave and they need to use the services of a sheriff for this to be accomplished.
A landlord does not have the right to lock a tenant out of the dwelling, shut off their utilities, or take any of their possessions due to rent not being paid.
The landlord does not have the right to terminate an agreement, increase the rent, or other actions due to a tenant exercising their legal rights under the landlord and tenant laws for the state of Nevada. Similarly, the landlord cannot evict a tenant for pointing out and addressing violations of the building or health codes that may be the case. If this does end up occurring, the tenant is entitled to legal action and repayment of the damages that are done.
Settlement of Disputes
In the case of disputes between a tenant and landlord that cannot be agreed upon between the two parties at times it may be more productive to hire a third party who is neutral to negotiate the terms. Each of the parties presents their case and in most circumstances the fee for such a service is minimal and more than pays for itself by saving hassle, time, and complications. In some circumstances the service may be offered completely free of charge depending on the location. If the mediation doesn't work, the next step in the process is to pursue the appropriate legal channels.