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Understanding Washington Rental Laws

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Rent and housing laws are governed at both the state and federal level. In addition, some counties and cities have specific rent laws that may pertain to individuals situated in those municipalities. Since landlord-tenant relationships tend to produce disputes, it is necessary to have a system of laws that settle those disputes. This includes a landlord’s rights and responsibilities as well as the tenant’s rights and responsibilities.

The following article will outline the pertinent federal and Washington State laws that govern landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities.

> Anti-Discrimination Laws
> Exceptions to Housing Discrimination in Washington
> Avoiding Ant-Discrimination Laws in the State of Washington
> Washington Rules and Regulations Regarding Landlord-Tenant Relations
> Washington Laws Regarding Security Deposits
> Washington Laws Related to Rent
> Implied Warranty of Habitability in Washington
> Washington Laws Regarding the Termination of a Lease or Tenancy
> Washington Regulations Concerning Notices of Entry
> Landlord Disclosures in the State of Washington
> Domestic Violence and Washington Laws
> Business Licenses
> State Resources and Other Helpful Information

Anti-Discrimination Laws

Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws

The Civil Rights Act of 1968 lays the groundwork for discrimination laws in the United States. It is unlawful, according to federal law, to deny an individual housing based on their:

  • Race,
  • Religion or creed,
  • Nation of origin,
  • Sex or gender,
  • Familial status, or
  • Disability.

Prohibited actions include:

  • Discriminatory language in rental applications,
  • Raising rent or increasing the security deposit based on the presence of children,
  • Denying reasonable accommodations to an individual with a disability,
  • Denying the application of an individual with a service animal based on a no-pets policy,
  • Denying residential privileges based on a protected characteristic,
  • Segregating tenants based on race.

The specific language for these laws is laid out in Title VI and VIII of the Civil Rights Act. Title VIII was passed in 1968 and is also known as the Fair Housing Act. In addition, the Americans with Disabilities Act outlines specific restrictions when dealing with those who have disabilities.

Service Animals and a No-Pets Policy

For instance, a landlord may not reject a tenant who has a service animal on the basis of a no-pets policy. A landlord is expected to make reasonable accommodations for tenants who have disabilities and service animals are not considered pets. This prevents landlords from even charging security deposits for service animals. To do so is against the law.

On the other hand, the federal government does not consider emotional support animals to be pets. By definition, service animals fulfill a specific function. For instance, seeing-eye dogs help lead the blind from one place to another. Emotional support animals are meant to be companions. Companions are pets. Thus they can be excluded on the basis of a no-pets policy.

Restrictions on Discriminating Against Children

A landlord is prohibited from discriminating against a family that has children. This is covered by the “familial status” restriction in the Fair Housing Act. In addition, it is unlawful to segregate families with children or charge added security deposits for children.

Washington Anti-Discrimination Laws

In addition to the federal protections, the State of Washington extends federal anti-discrimination statutes to include:

  • Sexual orientation,
  • Gender identity,
  • Marital status,
  • And military veteran status.

These laws are governed and enforced by the Washington State Human Rights Commission as opposed to HUD, which enforces federal statutes.

Local City or County Anti-Discrimination Laws

Smaller municipalities within the State of Washington may offer further protection. For instance, it is common for Washington’s cities to offer protection to those using Section 8 Vouchers to pay their rent. Landlords, thus, may not discriminate on the basis of how a tenant chooses to pay rent and stating in a listing that Section 8 is excluded is illegal.

Exceptions to Housing Discrimination in Washington

Federal exemptions to housing discrimination include owner-occupied dwellings that have no more than four rental units and single-family units unless the owner owns more than three rental houses at a time.

Avoiding Anti-Discrimination Laws in the State of Washington

Landlords are advised to take the first qualified applicant when renting a unit in the State of Washington. Washington’s housing discrimination laws are stricter than most, but landlords are allowed to reject applicants on the basis of bad credit, criminal history, or prior evictions. By making your selection process as transparent as possible, you protect yourself from discrimination lawsuits.

When screening tenants, Washington requires landlords to provide rejected tenants with this form detailing the reason why their application was rejected. It is called an “adverse action form.”

Washington Rules and Regulations Regarding Landlord-Tenant Relations

The state laws governing landlord-tenant relations can be found in:

Washington Laws Regarding Security Deposits

Washington has a number of specific laws regarding the collection of security deposits from tenants. A landlord has 21 days from the end date of the lease to return the tenant’s security deposit (RCW §§ 59.18.280). Landlords are required by law to deposit the tenant’s security deposit into an escrow account, but they are allowed to collect any interest on the money held in the account (RCW §§ 59.18.270).

Washington prohibits the collection of any security deposit amount if the landlord does not present the tenant with a signed move-in checklist detailing the condition of the property upon the date that the tenant takes control of the property. This should detail existing damages to the property as well as any furniture or appliances provided by the landlord to the tenant. The checklist needs to be signed and dated by both the landlord and the tenant (RCW §§ 59.18.260). In addition, the landlord must provide the tenant with a written receipt for the deposit and the name, address, and location where the security deposit is held.

Upon moving out, if the landlord intends to keep any of the security deposit to pay for damages to the property, the landlord must provide the tenant with an itemized list of specific damages (RCW §§ 59.18.280).

Lastly, failure to comply with the above-listed statutes can expose the landlord to civil liability. Not only could the tenant collect on the value of the security deposit, but they could also charge the landlord for court costs and attorney’s fees (RCW §§ 59.18.260).

Washington Laws Related to Rent

Washington has no statutes governing when rent is due. It is assumed that the landlord and the tenant can come to an arrangement in the lease. If the landlord wants to increase the rent, he or she must provide the tenant 30-days notice on a month-to-month lease (RCW §§ 59.18.140). Washington has no statutes concerning leases with fixed end dates. Landlords are advised to put this information in the lease.

In addition, there are no statutes concerning late fees or grace periods. Landlords are again advised to outline their policies in the lease agreement. Landlords may charge a $40 fee for a bounced check (RCW §§ 62A.3-515).

Washington duties of the tenant can be found here.

Implied Warranty of Habitability in Washington

The implied warranty of habitability states that a residential rental property must provide basic necessities to the tenant. This includes heat, running water, functioning plumbing, electricity, and garbage disposal. It also implies that the tenant’s property is kept safe from the elements. In the event that a landlord fails to provide these basic needs, the tenant can withhold rent until the problems are fixed. However, the tenant must also notify government authorities and is obligated to hold the rent in an escrow account (RCW §§ 59.18.115).

A tenant may alternatively elect to have the damage fixed themselves and deduct them from rent. The tenant must, however, provide the landlord with an estimate for fixing the damage and the cost must not exceed two months rent. The tenant must ensure that the individual repairing the damage is a licensed professional (RCW §§ 59.18.100). If the repairs do not require a licensed professional, the tenant can elect not to use one but the costs cannot exceed one month’s rent.

Official duties for landlords can be found here.

Landlords may not retaliate against tenants who assert their legal rights (RCW §§ 59.18.240, 59.18.250).

Washington Laws Regarding the Termination of a Lease or Tenancy

In the event that the lease has a fixed end date, neither the landlord nor the tenant need provide notice for terminating the agreement (RCW §§ 59.04.030). If the lease is month-to-month or any other periodic arrangement, either party may terminate the lease on 20-days notice. If the tenant is a member of the armed forces, they can terminate the lease in less than 20 days for the purposes of deployment or relocation (RCW §§ 59.18.200(1a-b)).

If a tenant neglects to pay rent, the landlord can issue a three-day notice to either pay or face eviction (RCW §§ 59.12.030(3)).

In addition, a landlord may issue a three-day notice in the event that the tenant is involved in illegal activity or is a nuisance to other tenants or neighbors (RCW §§ 59.12.030(5)) otherwise the tenant has 10 days to remedy or quit for a lease violation (RCW §§ 59.12.030(4)).

Landlords may not lock tenants out of the property (RCW §§ 59.18.290) nor shut off utilities to force tenants off the property (RCW §§ 59.18.300). Landlords may be liable to pay actual damages and $100 per day for punitive damages plus the court and attorney’s fees of the tenant.

Washington Regulations Concerning Notices of Entry

Tenants are entitled to their privacy. Landlords should attempt to give tenants two days before entering the property (RCW §§ 59.18.150(6)). A landlord can enter the property without notice in the event of an emergency (RCW §§ 59.18.150(5)). The landlord must give the tenant one-day notice before showing the property (RCW §§ 59.18.150(6)).

Landlord Disclosures in the State of Washington

The landlord must provide the tenant with his name and address or the individual who is responsible for the maintenance of the property (RCW §§ 59.18.060). In addition, every tenant is expected to be given a copy of the lease (RCW §§ 59.18.065). The lease is also required to contain an attachment regarding the presence of lead on the property.

Domestic Violence and Washington Laws

In the event that a tenant is the victim of domestic violence, landlords are obligated to follow a specific set of contingencies. Those include:

In addition, landlords are prohibited from terminating a lease, failing to renew a lease, or refusing to enter into a lease agreement based on the tenant’s status as a domestic violence victim, sexual assault victim, or stalking victim (RCW §§ 59.18.580).

However, a landlord is entitled to ask for proof of status and the tenant must complete the form found here. The tenant may still be liable for rent under some conditions (RCW §§ 59.18.575(4), 59.18.585).

Business Licenses

The State of Washington has no statutes regarding the requirement of business licenses to rent properties. Individual municipalities, however, might. Seattle does.

How to prep your rental for winter

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Winterizing your rental
Consistent upkeep is essential for the well-being of your rental property. As winter approaches, this becomes especially important in areas that experience extremely cold weather. Learn what you need to do to winterize your rental inside and out before the temperature drops.

Clean the fireplace

If your rental has a fireplace, it will need to be cleaned before winter gets underway. You’ll want to get rid of any dust that has accumulated since the last cold spell. If you have a gas fireplace, make sure it is turned off and cool to the touch before you begin to clean it. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, check the chimney for cracks in addition to sweeping out ashes. Proper maintenance of your fireplace helps to ensure its safe use during the cold season.

Do heater and air conditioner maintenance

Servicing your rental home’s heater every fall will help to prolong its life. Change the filter each year to ensure it runs well all throughout the winter. It is also a good idea to give it a tune-up or hire someone to do it. In fact, this may be required in order to keep your warranty in effect. Check your documents to see if it is, but even if it’s not, it’s a wise thing to do.
Also check the water heater for leaks; you may want to perform a tune-up on it too. Same goes for the air conditioner.
If the air conditioner in your rental is a window unit, cover the exterior of it to protect it from the elements. You should be able to find an affordable cover at a local retailer, but if you can’t, there are plenty available online.

Tackle yard cleanup

Ridding your yard of debris in the fall will help prevent pests from finding a cozy place to nest. Raking up fallen tree limbs and leaves will also help to prevent any grass on your property from suffocating and dying during the winter months. Cut off any tree limbs that are in danger of falling off to protect your rental as well as your tenants. You could be liable if someone is injured on your property as the result of a shedding tree, and your insurance company may not cover the costs if it finds that the incident happened due to negligence.
As part of your pre-winter yard cleanup, also inspect the gutters and drains. Leaves and other debris will build up in them all year long, and if they’re clogged, ice dams can form and prevent proper drainage. Consequently, water could seep into the home and cause a variety of issues, including increased energy costs that can impact your bank account if you’re paying the utilities for your tenant. Clearing your gutters will also help to keep mosquitoes and other insects that could make their way into your rental property at bay.
To ascertain that your gutters are working right, run water through them and check to see if they are draining properly. If they aren’t and you have already cleared them of debris, you may need to have them realigned.

Check pipe insulation

Insulate vulnerable pipes. Specifically, you want to make sure that pipes exposed to cold snaps won’t freeze. This includes plumbing pipes that may be in a garage or crawl space. Pipe insulation foam is relatively cheap and may do the trick, but depending on the climate where your rental home is, you may need thermostatically controlled heat tape, which automatically turns on at a specific temperature.
To further protect outdoor pipes, always disconnect and put away garden hoses for the winter, as a frozen hose can cause a pipe to rupture.

Inspect your roof

Inspecting your roof before winter arrives is critical. It is nearly impossible to find an available roofer during even a mild storm. Not only are they usually super busy, but even if one can come out and look at an issue, it’s unlikely that conditions will permit repairs to ensue. Therefore, identifying potential leaks must occur before the weather turns. There are a number of things to look for that may indicate a possible leak, including rotting, buckling and missing shingles.

Seal driveway and walkway cracks

Finally, seal any cracks you discover in your rental’s driveway and walkways. Rainwater can get into cracks and freeze, expanding the size of each by as much as three times. The sealing is pretty easy to do yourself. You can buy concrete sealer at most any hardware store.

While you’re doing all this, make sure to give proper notice

Whether you’re hiring a service to do the work on your rental or performing the maintenance yourself, give your tenants advance notice that you’ll need access to the property as required by law for your state. For example, California requires 24-hour notice, while Florida only requires twelve. Some states have no statute regarding this at all. If you live in one of these states, you should include the information in your lease so your tenants know what to expect regarding landlord access. As a matter of courtesy, it’s always nice to give more notice than the law allows.

Final thoughts:

Due diligence will get your rental in safe shape for the winter and keep it in inhabitable condition. In the event that tenants report an issue during the season, check it out immediately. Putting off problems such as leaky pipes or moisture on a ceiling will only make things worse and more expensive to deal with down the line.

The best podcasts for landlords

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The best podcasts for landlords

Imagine if you had a room full of landlords at your disposal. What would you ask them? How would it change the way you run your business?

That’s why podcasts are so appealing. They give you access to a huge library of information from people who have spent years accumulating knowledge and making the same decisions you’re facing right now. Here are five of my favorites that cover a wide range of topics and are hosted by all kinds of different people, from first-time landlords to seasoned investors with huge real estate portfolios.

Rental Income Podcast with Dan Lane

Host Dan Lane suddenly became a landlord after renting out a property to a friend. Although being a professional landlord wasn’t something he had really considered, Dan decided he wanted to try and build a steady income stream through rental properties. He started the podcast as a way to learn more from people who have done it, and in the past four years he’s built up a wealth of information to help you make renting your property a lucrative full-time gig.

Start with:

What kind of properties make the best rentals?

He made a few mistakes and lost thousands of dollars with his rental

Newer landlord getting off to a great start

 

Bigger Pockets

If you’re not already a member of the largest real estate investing forum online, this podcast is a great way to get all the highlights. While a lot of the conversation focuses on bigger-picture investing, there are also illuminating interviews with landlords and property managers that give deeper insight into the industry. This podcast also does a great job at diving into complicated financial strategies and breaking them down into actionable steps.

Start with:

3 reasons multifamily rentals might be the perfect investment

75 rental units in their early 30s

Replacing your income with real estate as a DIY landlord

 

Best Ever Show With Joe Fairless

Joe Fairless is the go-to person for turning real estate investments into rental income. He has over 25 rental properties and makes his living by flipping houses to rent out. In his podcast, he talks about how to find solid rental investments, flip them into rentable properties, and earn an income from being a landlord. He frequently has guests that also share their best tips for finding success as a real estate investor. Joe is a great resource for people who are interested in flipping houses, but also want to know exactly how much work it’s going to take to reach their monetary goals.

Start with:

Tools for making a landlord’s life easier

How to fast-track wealth with distressed real estate

Finding off-market deals, managing rentals, and wholesaling

 

Rental Rookie

Perfect for DIY landlords, this podcast is hosted by a couple who detail their journey from investment newbies to established landlords who own multiple properties. They talk about everything from paying off debt to dealing with costly plumbing issues in a relatable way that can only come from first-hand experience.

Start with:

10 important things to learn when investing in real estate property

What rental property expenses are tax deductible?

The ugly truth about scaling with rental properties

Understanding Oregon Rental Laws

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Each state has its own laws governing landlord-tenant disputes and relations. In addition, there are federal laws and municipal laws that apply in specific cities or counties. Here we will cover those laws in detail and outline the rights of both tenants and landlords as well as their obligations.

> Anti-Discrimination Laws
How Landlords can Avoid Discrimination Lawsuits
> Exceptions to Oregon’s Housing Discrimination Laws
> Oregon Laws Concerning Landlord-Tenant Relations
> Oregon Law and Security Deposits
> Oregon Laws Relating to Rent
> Implied Warranty of Habitability in Oregon
> Laws Regarding the Termination of a Lease
> Eviction and Termination Due to Violations of the Lease
Notice of Entry on Tenant’s Rental Premises
Landlord Disclosures
Business Licenses
Oregon State Associations and Resources

Anti-Discrimination Laws

Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws

Title VI and VIII of the Civil Rights Act set forth the anti-discrimination laws as they pertain to housing. Title VIII is also known as the Fair Housing Act. In addition, the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to housing, as well.

Federal law prohibits a landlord from discriminating on the basis of:

  •   Race,
  •   Religion or creed,
  •   Sex or gender,
  •   National origin,
  •   Familial status, and
  •   Disability.

Prohibited actions include:

  •   Discriminatory language in rental applications,
  •   Raising rent or increasing the security deposit based on the presence of children,
  •   Denying reasonable accommodations to an individual with a disability,
  •   Denying the application of an individual with a service animal based on a no-pets policy,
  •   Denying residential privileges based on a protected characteristic,
  • Segregating tenants based on race.

Since service animals are not considered pets under the law, a landlord may not exclude a disabled tenant who has, for instance, a seeing-eye dog. A landlord may request proof that the tenant requires the service animal and that the animal is indeed registered as a service animal. This information can generally be provided by a healthcare provider.

On the other hand, the federal government does not recognize “emotional support animals” as service animals. Service animals provide a particular service to their owners. Emotional support animals simply provide companionship. For that reason, they are considered pets.

Oregon Anti-Discrimination Laws

In addition to the federal standards, Oregon also prohibits discrimination on the basis of:

  •   Marital status,
  •   Sexual orientation, and
  •   Source of income.

Many landlords are under the assumption that it is permissible to deny housing to a tenant who is paying with Section 8 vouchers. This is not the case. Landlords are prohibited from advertising properties as refusing to take Section 8. On the other hand, properties may have to pass an inspection in order to accept Section 8. These are basic necessities that conform to most building codes, but nonetheless, the properties must pass. If a landlord says that the property would not pass a Section 8 inspection, it gives them an easy out. Oftentimes, landlords are asked to make repairs at their own expense in order pass Section 8 inspections. They can decline to make those repairs. It puts those who rely on Section 8 in an awkward position and enforcement of these laws needs to be managed more transparently.

How Landlords can Avoid Discrimination Lawsuits

Landlords are advised to make their screening process as transparent as possible. In order to do this, it is always best to select the first qualified applicant. There are a number of legal reasons why a landlord could find a tenant unqualified. Those include:

  •   Insufficient income,
  •   Poor credit,
  •   Bad references.

On the other hand, Oregon has made it illegal to discriminate against a tenant for a prior arrest or certain kinds of criminal convictions. In addition, a landlord may not discriminate against a tenant for an eviction that happened more than five years ago.

By simply taking the first qualified applicant, a landlord can avoid the appearance of discriminatory selection.

Exceptions to Oregon’s Housing Discrimination Laws

There are almost no exceptions to Oregon’s anti-discrimination laws as concerns housing.

A landlord who is renting a room to a tenant in a single family dwelling where they both share some common space may exclude applicants on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or familial status (O.R.S. § 659A.421).

In addition, a 55 and over community may refuse to rent a property to families with children under the age of 18. Clubs can limit access to residences to club members.

Oregon Laws Concerning Landlord-Tenant Relations

Oregon laws concerning landlord-tenant relations can be found in:

Oregon Law and Security Deposits

Statutes governing security deposits can be found in Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.300

Oregon has no statutes governing how much a landlord may charge for a security deposit or where the security deposit must be kept. In addition, there is no statute saying that it must be returned with interest.

A landlord has 31 days following the termination of the lease to return the security deposit (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.300(13)).

The landlord is expected to present the tenant with an itemized list of damages if they withhold any portion of the security deposit (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.300(14)).

In addition, a landlord may require the tenant to pay for the cleaning of a carpet upon their moving out by deducting that from their security deposit, but only if they mention this in the lease (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.300(7a)(A)).

Lastly, a landlord must present a tenant with receipts for all deductions (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.300(2a)).

Failure to comply with Oregon’s security deposit statutes allows the tenant to sue the landlord for twice the amount of the security deposit (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.300(16)).

A landlord may charge a tenant a pet deposit so long as the animal is not a registered service animal (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.300(4)).

Oregon Laws Relating to Rent

Generally speaking, landlords and tenants can come to agreement determining when and how rent should be paid. Landlords are advised to stipulate their terms in the lease and tenants are advised to make note of them and honor the contract. The only regulation Oregon puts on this agreement is that rent may not be considered “due” prior to the first day of each rental period (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.220(3)).

If a landlord wishes to increase the rent, they must stipulate their terms in the lease. Generally speaking, a landlord must give a tenant a 90-day written notice of the change in terms. In the first year of a month-to-month lease, a landlord may not raise the rent at all. If the tenancy is week-to-week, a landlord must give seven days notice.

Oregon grants tenants a grace period of four days (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.260(1)) and landlords are allowed to charge late fees but only if stipulated as such in the lease. Landlords can charge a flat fee after the fifth day of a payment cycle. There are restrictions on the fee, however. A landlord must not charge more than 5% of the cost of rent for one month. This amount must be mentioned in the lease. Furthermore, a landlord may – instead of charging a flat fee – charge 6% of the flat fee every day that rent is late (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.260(1)(2)).

In addition, a landlord is allowed to ask for prepaid rent at the signing of the lease. Typically, landlords ask for first month’s rent and security deposit. If they wish to ask for last month’s rent as well, they can, but that money absolves the tenant of paying for the last month of rent. (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.300(9)).

A landlord may charge for a bounced check but no more than $35 plus the bank costs of processing the check.

Implied Warranty of Habitability in Oregon

Properties are rented under the implied warranty of habitability. That means that the property must provide tenants with basic protection from the weather and various other services that justify the cost of renting the property.

If the rental property fails to provide essential services, a tenant can withhold rent until the problem is fixed. Tenants are advised to hold the money in escrow while the landlord has an opportunity to fix the damage (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.365).

Under Oregon law, a landlord must provide a tenant with:

  • Waterproofing and weather protection,
  • Functioning plumbing facilities,
  • Hot and cold water,
  • Safe drinking water,
  • Adequate heat,
  • Working electricity,
  • Clean and sanitary living conditions,
  • Walls, ceilings, railings, and stairways in good repair,
  • Smoke detectors and safety from fire hazards,
  • Carbon monoxide detectors,
  • Working locks.

In addition, a tenant is allowed to fix habitability problems with property themselves and then deduct that money from the rent (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.368).

Laws Regarding the Termination of a Lease

Either party may terminate a lease that is month-to-month on 30 days of notice unless the tenant has lived there for over a year (Or. Rev. Stat. § 91.070). Then 60 days is required.

In addition, neither party must give notice to terminate a lease with a fixed end date (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.427).

If the tenant is on a year-to-year lease, either party must give 60 days notice to terminate the lease (Or. Rev. Stat. § 91.060).

Either party must give seven days notice to terminate a week-to-week lease (Or. Rev. Stat. § 91.050). If the tenant has lived there for more than one year, then either party must give 10 days notice.

If a landlord sells the property and the new owner would prefer not to keep the current tenants, the landlord will typically only have to give the tenants 30 days notice to vacate (Or. Rev. Stat. § 91.070). However, there is one situation in which the landlord is forced to give the tenant 60 days to vacate.

For that statute to be triggered, all of the following must be true:

  •   The dwelling unit was purchased separately of other dwelling units;
  •   The landlord has accepted an offer to purchase from an owner who will occupy the unit;
  •   The landlord has provided notice to the tenant within 120 days of accepting the offer (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.427).

If a tenant is the victim of domestic violence, the tenant is allowed to give the landlord 14 days notice that he or she will move from the property. The tenant is required to fill out a form, a sample of which can be found here. The landlord must honor the tenant’s decision to find a new place to live (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.453(2b)). A tenant may also ask to have the locks changed (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.459).

Eviction and Termination Due to Violations of the Lease

If a tenant fails to pay a landlord for rent, the landlord can issue the tenant a six-day notice to remedy or quit. In other words, they must pay up or be evicted. The landlord must wait until the fifth day of the rental period. If a landlord waits until the eighth day, then he or she can issue a three-day notice to remedy or quit (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.394(2)).

If the lease is week-to-week, the landlord must give the tenant three days to remedy or quit (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.394(1)).

In the case of a lease violation, a landlord must give a tenant 30 days to remedy or quit. If this is a second offense, the landlord can give the tenant 10 days (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.392).

During the course of eviction proceedings, a landlord may neither lock the tenant out of the property nor shut off the utilities (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.375).

In extreme situations, a landlord can give the tenant 24 hours notice to vacate the premises or initiate eviction proceedings.

Situations that may trigger this statute are:

A landlord may not, however, retaliate against a tenant for exercising their legal rights, filing a complaint against the landlord, or asking that habitability issues be rectified (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.385).

Notice of Entry on Tenant’s Rental Premises

Tenants are allowed their privacy. A landlord must give a tenant 24 hours notice before entering the property (Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.322). If the landlord enters the property due to an emergency, the landlord must give the tenant notice after the fact within 24 hours.

Landlord Disclosures

Landlords must disclose:

Business Licenses

There are no statewide statutes governing the requirement for landlords to have business licenses. Local municipalities, however, may require them.

This blog entry is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Landlords and Tenants are encouraged to seek specific legal advice for any of the issues as found in this blog.

4 ways to help your new tenants on move-in day

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The job of building a relationship with a tenant begins the first day you show them around. When a renter is choosing a new place to live, how they feel about a potential landlord can count for a lot. It counts for even more when it comes time for tenants to decide whether to stay or go. And if they’ve kept up their end of the bargain by being clean, quiet, and reliable with their payments, you’ll probably want to make sure to keep them around.

One of the best times to establish a good rapport with your tenants is on move-in day. Renters will remember the help you offered on that stressful day, and they know they can count on you in the event of a problem and for any questions they might have.

To come up with ways to welcome incoming tenants, put yourself in their shoes. It’s going to be an exhausting couple of days of unpacking boxes and arranging furniture. What will they need the most during that time that doesn’t involve too much time or effort? Here are a few options for a complete welcome package:

1. Make sure your tenant is set up for online rent payments

This is something you should take care of before move-in day, just to make sure your tenants don’t have too many other arrangements to make. As soon as your tenant has been accepted and paid their deposit, reach out to them via e-mail about using Rentler to connect their bank account, credit card, or debit card for quick and easy payments. If they haven’t gotten set up by move-in day, include a friendly reminder in their welcome package outlining the how convenient using Rentler is.

2. Get them familiar with their new neighborhood

After all, they haven’t just chosen your building – they’ve chosen your part of the city. Your tenant’s welcome package should include a list of nearby banks, grocery stores, post offices, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, haircutters, dry cleaners, gas stations, childcare and pet care services – anything a tenant might need on a day-to-day basis. With your help, they’ll know where to go in a pinch without spending too much time Googling.

This list can go beyond basic services, too. Talk to some popular local restaurants, bars, shops and entertainment venues about supplying coupons to include in your tenant’s welcome package. This tells your tenant that they can come to you for suggestions about where to go when they have free time.

3. Make their first week easy with a few basic supplies

In Israel, landlords welcome new tenants by leaving bread and salt in their new homes. You can do something similar by stocking your tenant’s kitchen and bathroom with basic necessities, like toilet paper, paper towels, all-purpose cleaner, batteries, and light bulbs. This will help your tenants acclimate to their new place without having to make a run to the store, and they’ll be grateful for your foresight.

4. Connect them with their new neighbors

Depending on the size of your building, you can introduce new tenants to the community by having a bulletin board where people can post about services they offer or events going on at your apartment complex. If you rent a single-family home, make sure to tell new tenants a little bit about their new neighbors and even facilitate an introduction if you know them well. Show tenants that you’re not just operating a building – you’re building a community.

How do you like to welcome new tenants on move-in day? What have your tenants appreciated the most?

Understanding Texas Rental Laws

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Rent laws are controlled at both the state and federal level. The majority of those laws, however, are governed by the state. For that reason, there is a wide variance between how disputes between tenants and landlords are handled from one state to the next. For those who move around a lot due to work or own properties in multiple states, it can be incredibly confusing to keep track of each state’s laws. For that reason, we have compiled these handy articles so that tenants and landlords in every state know their rights and understand their obligations.

> Discrimination Laws
> Exemptions from Anti-Discrimination Laws
> Texas Rental Laws and Security Deposits
> Texas Laws Concerning Lease Agreements, Rent, and Fees
> Texas Laws Concerning Eviction
> Texas Laws and Landlord Entry into Rented Property
> Landlord Disclosures
> Business Licenses
> Texas State Associations and Resources

Discrimination Laws

Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws

Federal anti-discrimination laws are laid out in the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. These laws restrict landlords from screening tenants based on discriminatory methods. Title VI of The Civil Rights Act lays out specific characteristics that are protected by law. These are echoed in the Fair Housing Act.

Specifically, a landlord may not:

  •   Deny housing,
  •   Say a property is rented when it is not,
  •   Charge an added security deposit,
  •   Segregate tenants based on a protected characteristic,
  •   Or put discriminatory language in an advertisement.

Characteristics that are protected at the federal level include:

  •   Race,
  •   Sex or gender,
  •   Familial status,
  •   Country of origin,
  •   Religion or creed,
  •   And disability.

Federal law prohibits landlords from denying tenancy or charging an added security deposit based on the number of children a tenant may have. In addition, a landlord is expected to make reasonable accommodations for a disabled tenant.

That includes, but is not limited to, allowing the tenant to have a service animal if they are medically authorized to have one. This is in spite of the fact that a landlord may have a no pets policy. Service animals are not considered pets by law. They are considered necessities for disabled people. A landlord may not deny tenancy, raise the rent, or add a security deposit for a service animal.

On the other hand, a landlord is allowed to ask for proof that the tenant requires a service animal. “Emotional support animals” are not considered service animals under federal guidelines. They are considered pets. Service animals perform some function. Emotional support animals are for companionship. That is the very definition of a pet. Landlords are not expected to accommodate those who require emotional support animals.

Texas Anti-Discrimination Laws

The Texas Fair Housing Act follows federal guidelines concerning protected characteristics and discrimination. On the other hand, it does make accommodations for older people. In addition, there may be some city ordinances that extend protection based on sexual orientation or gender identification.

It is worth noting that some states have extended protection to individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identification. In addition, there are those that have interpreted sex and gender discrimination to include those in the LGBT community.

Landlords who are looking to run their business smoothly and without lawsuits are advised to choose the first qualified candidate from the pool. This allows transparency in the selection process and ensures that you will have a sound defense if an angry would-be tenant decides to take legal action.

Legal reasons for screening tenants include:

  •   Poor credit,
  •   Prior eviction,
  •   Criminal record.

Exemptions from Anti-Discrimination Laws

There are a handful of exemptions to anti-discrimination laws. Those include:

  •   Owner-occupied buildings with fewer than four rental units (Mrs. Murphy Law),
  •   Single-family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker,
  •   Housing operated by members of an organization or club.

In addition, HOPA (Housing for Older People Act) can change how familial exemptions apply to 55 and over communities.

Texas Rental Laws and Security Deposits

Texas has no statutes concerning the maximum amount a security deposit can be or how it is supposed to be held. In addition, there are no statutes limiting non-refundable fees, pet deposits, or other fees.

Texas, however, requires the landlord to return the security deposit within 30 days of the lease expiration. This is regardless of whether the tenant is on a month-to-month lease. Landlords are expected to present the tenant with an itemized list of charges and damages (92.104).

Texas Laws Concerning Lease Agreements, Rent, and Fees

Texas provides no statute concerning late fees, but if a landlord chooses to charge a tenant, the landlord should specifically outline the penalty in the lease. The same holds true for returned checks.

A landlord is allowed to terminate a lease agreement immediately if the tenant is convicted of public indecency (91.003).

Subletting a rental property without the landlord’s prior notice or consent is expressly forbidden (91.005).

If a landlord must sue a tenant for eviction, the landlord can sue for legal fees (92.005). The landlord must, however, make a reasonable attempt to rent the property in the tenant’s absence and thereby mitigate damages to the tenant.

A landlord may not lock a tenant out from a property while an eviction proceeding is underway. In addition, they may not remove doors, windows, or otherwise make the property easily accessible to outside parties and/or compromise the safety of the tenant. There are, however, exclusions for this statute. Those include:

  •   Repairs, construction, or emergency;
  •   Removing abandoned belongings of the tenant;
  •      The tenant is delinquent in paying rent (92.081).

The landlord may not, however, turn off the utilities for any reason (92.081(o)).

Either party must give the other at least 30 days notice to terminate a lease regardless of the lease type.

Texas Laws Concerning Eviction

A landlord can issue a tenant a three-day notice to remedy or quit in the event that they are delinquent in their rental payments (Sec. 24.005). While there are no statutes concerning eviction due to another lease violation, the landlord is advised to include this information in the lease agreement.

The Implied Warranty of Habitability in Texas

There are no statutes governing whether or not a tenant is allowed to withhold rent from a landlord if the dwelling is uninhabitable or fails to provide basic needs. The tenant can deduct rent and make repairs so long as the repairs do not exceed a single month’s rent (92.056). There is, however, a four-step process to doing so.

  1. Ensure that you are caught up with rent. A tenant may not withhold rent if the landlord fails to provide basic necessities.
  1. Notify the landlord of the problem, preferably in writing. The notice should include the date, the problem, your name, and your address.
  1. Allow the landlord enough time to make the necessary repairs. The landlord should make some effort toward repairs within a week. If the dwelling is rendered uninhabitable by inclement weather or fire, the landlord is under no duty to repair the damage until the insurance company pays out their money. They are still authorized by law to collect rent.
  1. There are three ways a tenant can compel a landlord to act. Those include:
  1. a)     The lease agreement. Generally speaking, the landlord lays out their obligations and the tenant’s duties in the lease agreement. A lease in which the landlord does not agree to basic habitability standards should not be signed. Abiding by the standards set forth in the lease is the best way to compel a landlord to act.
  2. b)    Repair statutes. Repair statutes compel a landlord to act if the habitability of the dwelling risks a tenant’s safety.
  3. c)     Municipal ordinances. These are city or county statutes that impose minimum standards on landlords for habitability. They will vary from one city to the next.

Tenant Options if the Landlord Fails to Maintain a Minimum Standard of Habitability

If a landlord fails to maintain a minimum standard of habitability, a tenant may:

  •      Terminate the lease and move;
  •      File a lawsuit for damages and action to compel the landlord to act;
  •      Repair the problem and then deduct it from the rent;
  •      Fix the problem yourself;
  •      Or simply deal with it.

If you intend to terminate the lease, you must (in writing) explain the conditions to your landlord and wait a reasonable period for him or her to attempt to fix the problem. The letter should be sent for repairs via certified mail. You must be in good standing concerning rent and monies owed to the landlord. If the landlord fails to comply with the request, you can terminate the lease.

However, your best solution is to sue the landlord. Too much can go wrong when attempting to remedy the problem yourself. That includes finding grounds to terminate the lease or repairing the damage yourself. A lawyer can streamline the process of compelling the landlord to act and provide the landlord with the necessary notice.

Texas Laws and Landlord Entry into Rented Property

A landlord is legally required to give some notice prior to entering the premises. The law, however, does not specify how much notice a landlord must give. In addition, there is no statute governing whether a landlord may enter the property in the event of an emergency. Tenants, however, are entitled to their privacy, so a landlord should attempt to give notice before entry unless there is some reason they can not (92.0081).

Landlord Disclosures

If a tenant dies while renting the landlord’s property, the landlord is allowed to remove the property 30 days after sending a certified letter to their emergency contact as listed on the lease (Sec. 92.014.5).

The landlord is obliged to tell the tenant on the lease that they can repair and deduct rent or terminate the lease in the event that the damage causes significant danger to their health and well-being. Landlords are also obliged to inform the tenant that they may break the lease if they have been sexually assaulted or are the victim of domestic violence. They can, however, require proof of this.

Business Licenses

Texas has no statewide statute regarding business licenses for landlords. Cities and counties, on the other hand, might. It is up to the landlord to check with their local government.

Rentler is a proud supporter of the Apartment Association of Greater Dallas and the Houston Apartment Association. 

Apartment associations are great local resources, even for DIY landlords. They can provide insight and aid in your rental process, and are often the rental community’s biggest advocate with local legislators. We recommend joining as a member and reaching out if you need more specific help regarding local rental rules and regulations.

This blog entry is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Landlords and Tenants are encouraged to seek specific legal advice for any of the issues as found in this blog.

Why all landlords should be using digital applications

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digital-applications
If you’re a landlord who has to vet the people you’re going to rent your property to, there’s a tool you should undoubtedly be taking advantage of: technology. There are tons of tech solutions out there that make the process of screening potential tenants and renting to them easier. One of those tools is the online, digital application. When considering potential tenants for an apartment, it’s important to gather a lot of personal information and documentation about them. However, you can avoid the headache and hassle of having them fill out actual tangible paperwork by relying on digital applications. There are lots of perks to using digital applications for landlords, here are some of the best.

Speed Up the Application Process

Using digital applications when renting makes the entire screening process easier. You can immediately get the application to prospective tenants via link (or they can apply through your online listings) and then collect the paperwork when they submit it to you electronically. Rather than wait for the delivery of hard copy forms in-hand or by fax, you can make the delivery process nearly instantaneous; which speeds up the entire process of renting and ensures your property doesn’t sit empty on the market.

Be More Environmentally Friendly

Using tons of paper for each rental application harms the environment–especially if you’re renting multiple apartments and considering multiple potential renters for each one. Studies show that nearly 45% of all paper used in offices will end up in the trash or recycling at the end of the day, and that the average business creates more than 1.5 pounds of paper waste per worker per day every single work day. Stop using so many paper resources, and rely on the internet instead. You can help save trees, reduce waste, and keep the air cleaner- all while enjoying the benefits of an easier process.

Offer Improved Convenience

Looking through rental applications isn’t just a headache for you, it can be annoying for prospective tenants to fill out those applications too. Plus, once you have paper forms you’ll have to spend time digitizing or storing those forms, as well. Studies show that when offices rely heavily on paper documents, employees in those offices spend more than 1.6 hours per day recreating digital versions of the information that already exists in those documents (that’s nearly one whole work day wasted per week!)  So, simplify and streamline the process for yourself and for them by relying on digital applications.

Reuse the Same Applications

If your tenant wants to move, but stay within one of your buildings, it can be helpful if you use digital applications. That way, you can re-access the application they submitted the first time and just ask them to update any information. This is a fast, easy process for both you and the tenants. It can also help you continue to rent to tenants who you have good relationships with and who you’ve already had good experiences renting to.

Save Space

Don’t have a physical office? Don’t worry about it. When you use digital applications, you don’t have to worry about having filing cabinets to tuck away all that paper or figure out a way to recycle it all once you no longer need it.
If you’re a landlord, it’s time to start taking advantage of the power of technology and accepting digital applications when it comes time to screen potential tenants. Digital rental applications offer a slew of benefits that will save you time, money, energy and stress. Plus, you can help build your reputation as a savvy, tech-friendly, knowledgeable landlord, which makes you a more desirable person to rent from.
If you’re looking for resources to help make your experience as a landlord easier and more convenient, check out Rentler. We offer tech-forward tools that help connect landlords and tenants and simplify the process of renting real estate.

Getting a Third-Party Perspective

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We get it! We can tell you how awesome our products are, but nothing speaks more than the words of our customers. We have profiles on several different sites across the web that gather customer feedback. We encourage you to go take a look at their review and see what others have to say.

Have you been using Rentler for a while? We encourage you to go and leave your own review on one of the sites below. All are great choices and help other customers as they make a property management tool selection.

G2 Crowd Rentler Profile

G2 Crowd is strictly a software and service review site. They validate reviews and ask those responding to leave in-depth answers to provide future potential users the most accurate information about a product.

Follow the link above to read our reviews or to leave a review of your own.

Capterra Rentler Profile

Capterra may be one of the larger software review sites, with a large collection of Software as a Service reviews. Rentler has been added to this site as well, which operates on more of a Pro vs Con user feedback system. This is a great way to get a simple snapshot of the Rentler Product.

Use the link above to read our reviews or to leave a review of your own.

Fit Small Business Rentler Profile

Fit Small Business is dedicated to helping individuals who are running their own (or small) businesses learn about valuable topics, and find tools that may help improve their management process. Rentler has been added to their Property Management section as a useful landlord tool.

Read their review of our product at the link above and leave your own feedback.

How to manage rental deposits

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rental-deposits
First-time landlords have a lot to learn, not the least of which is how to manage rental deposits. Not following all laws concerning these deposits could land you on the losing side of a court dispute. Here are some general guidelines for handling rental deposits from collection to return:

Collecting the Correct Type of Rental Deposit

Be sure you’re collecting the correct type of deposit for your rental. Although they are all essentially related, the name of the deposit matters and can affect what you are legally able to deduct from it upon termination of a tenancy. For example:
  • Cleaning deposits may only be used for cleaning
  • Pet deposits may only be used for damage caused by pets
  • Damage deposits may only be used for damage
A security deposit, on the other hand, may cover all these things and any unpaid rent, making it the ideal choice of deposit for month-to-month rentals. If a tenant has a pet, it may make sense for you to increase the security deposit rather than tack on a pet deposit you may not be able to recover any funds from. Alternatively, you could charge nominal additional rent for each pet or require a nonrefundable pet fee, if your state allows it as Oregon, Florida and Georgia do.

State Rental Deposit Laws

The laws governing rental security deposits vary from state to state, so it’s critical that you research the laws in the state where you rent.
Maximums: Some states have no statutory limits on the amount you can charge for a security deposit, but others do. For example, California lets you collect twice the amount of the monthly rent for an unfurnished rental, while Nevada allows for three months, whether a rental is furnished or not.
It’s also important to note that Section 8 rentals are treated differently in regards to security deposit maximums. Federal law stipulates that “the maximum amount shall be the greater of one month’s Gross Family Contribution or $50.” In the event that this is insufficient to cover damages, Section 8 landlords may be able to seek limited reimbursement from The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Holding security deposits: You may need to pay interest on your tenant’s security deposit upon its return. If you live in a state that requires this, such as New Jersey or Maryland, put the deposit in a separate, interest-bearing account, and don’t touch it. This is a good idea even if you aren’t required to pay interest on the deposit; keeping it separate will ensure it’s still available when the tenancy ends.
Deadlines: Deadlines for returning security deposits also vary by state. The time you have to return all or a portion of a tenant’s security deposit could be as few as 14 days or as many as 30. Some states, like Wisconsin, split the difference at 21 days.

Returning a Deposit

Returning a deposit once a tenancy ends can be just as tricky as collecting it when one begins. If funds are deducted from the deposit, an itemized list of what they were used for must be included. You should also be able to back the deductions up with receipts. Additionally, state laws are pretty clear about what issues you can and cannot deduct money for. Below are just a few examples.
You may not typically take deductions for:
  • Normal wear and tear
  • Sunlight-faded wallpaper or paint
  • Dirty blinds
  • Dust
  • Minor picture holes in walls
  • Broken light bulbs
You may typically take deductions for:
  • Excessive picture hanger holes in walls
  • Broken fixtures or tiles
  • Excessive bathroom mold and mildew
  • Pest extermination
  • Clogged drains due to misuse
Again, check the regulations in your state to make sure you’re aware of the specifics. You’ll also need to check for any local laws that may apply. Manage your tenants’ rental deposit according to the letter of the law to save time and hassle down the road.

Understanding Nevada Rental Laws

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Both the state and the federal government have passed laws governing landlord-tenant relations. Since rental arrangements are a common source of disputes, there is a need to standardize how these disputes are managed and set the guidelines, rights, and obligations of each party involved. The following article outlines Nevada state and federal laws concerning fair housing and landlord and tenant rights and obligations.

> Housing Discrimination Laws
> How Landlords Should Make Decisions for Screening Tenants
> Nevada Regulations Concerning Security Deposits
> Nevada Regulations Concerning Rent
> Nevada Regulations Concerning Leases, Terminating Leases, and Evictions
> Nevada Regulations Concerning Notices of Entry
> Nevada Regulations Governing Landlord Disclosures
> Nevada Regulations Concerning Landlord Retaliation
> Other Nevada Regulations
> Nevada State Associations and Resources

Housing Discrimination Laws

Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws

Guided primarily by the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, there are specific restrictions on how landlords can screen their tenants. A landlord must not deny a rental application, report that a property is rented or sold when it is not, or charge tenants added security deposits based on their:

  •   Sex or gender,
  •   Religion or creed,
  •   Race,
  •   Nation of origin,
  •   Disability,
  •   Or familial status.

Prohibited actions include but are not limited to:

  •   Discriminatory language in rental advertisements,
  •   Raising rent or charging added security based on the number of children a family has,
  •   Denying reasonable accommodations to an individual with a disability,
  •   Denying an individual with a service animal the right to rent a property based on a no-pets policy,
  •   Charging an individual with a service animal an added security deposit,
  •   Rescinding privileges of residency based on a protected characteristic.

Federal law, on the other hand, has no regulations concerning “emotional support animals,” which are considered distinct from service animals. Service animals are defined as those who perform a particular function. That can include a seeing-eye-dog for a blind tenant or a psychiatric service animal that prevents someone from harming themselves.

Landlords do have the right to ask tenants for proof that their animal is a trained medical service animal. They can also ask the tenant to provide written proof from a healthcare provider that the tenant sincerely needs the service animal.

In addition, landlords must not segregate tenants based on a protected characteristic.

Nevada Anti-Discrimination Laws

Remedies available to prospective tenants for discrimination are handled by the Nevada Equal Rights Commission (NERC). A housing discrimination complaint form can be found on the website. Tenants can also file a federal complaint with HUD. Nevada laws concerning discrimination are found in the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) Chapter 118.

Federal law does not explicitly include the LGBTQ community; nor does it include sexual orientation or gender expression among the protected characteristics listed in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Nevada State Law, on the other hand, does.

How Landlords Should Make Decisions for Screening Tenants

Landlords can deem a tenant unqualified for residency for a number of legal reasons. These include:

  •   Poor credit,
  •   Prior eviction,
  •   Criminal record

On the other hand, landlords are well advised to make their selection process as transparent as possible. The best way to do this is by selecting the first qualified tenant. A method such as this will act as a sound defense against the appearance of discrimination if a tenant brings an action against a landlord.

 

Nevada Regulations Concerning Security Deposits

The state of Nevada sets certain regulations concerning security deposits. Those include:

  •   The maximum value of any security deposit cannot exceed three months’ rent (NRS 118A.242(1));
  •   A landlord has 30 days to return a security deposit beginning on the date that the lease ended (NRS 118A.242(4)(5));
  •   If a landlord withholds any money from a security deposit, then he or she must provide the tenant with an itemized list of damages (NRS 118A.242(4)(5)).

There are no Nevada statutes that outline how or where security deposits are kept, but a landlord is expected to provide the tenant with a move-in checklist outlining the condition of the property at the time the tenant takes possession. This includes written notice that the tenant is expected to return the property in the same condition that they found it. In addition, the landlord must disclose the manner in which the security deposit will be refunded (NRS 118A.200).

If a landlord charges a tenant a non-refundable fee, the details of the fee – including an explanation as to why the fee will be withheld – must be included in the terms of the lease (NRS 118A.242(8)).

 

Nevada Regulations Concerning Rent

Nevada has no statutes concerning late fees, bounced checks, or prepaid rent.

If a landlord decides to raise a tenant’s rent, the landlord must inform the tenant in advance. In the case of a lease agreement or month-to-month agreement, the landlord must give the tenant 45 days notice. If the terms of the lease are less than a month, the landlord must give the tenant 15 days notice before the rent increase goes into effect (NRS 118A.300).

Tenants can withhold rent under the implied warranty of habitability if a landlord fails to provide essential services such as water, heat, or electricity (NRS 118.355). In the event that a landlord fails to provide necessary services, the tenant can repair the damage themselves and then deduct the cost from their rent  (NRS 118.355).

 

Nevada Regulations Concerning Leases, Terminating Leases, and Evictions

A landlord can give a tenant a five-day notice to remedy or quit if the tenant is delinquent on rental payments (NRS 40.2512). In addition, if a tenant has violated some term of the lease, the landlord can also issue a five-day notice to remedy or quit. However, if the situation is not remedied within the first three days, the landlord initiate an eviction (NRS 40.2514, NRS 40.2516). Nevada expressly prohibits the use of lockouts or utility shutoffs (NRS 118A.390)

If a landlord is forced to initiate eviction proceedings against a tenant, Nevada has no statute governing whether or not they can recoup attorneys fees. They can, however, charge the tenant for the period of time during which the rental property is unrented. Nevada expects that the landlord will make some attempt to mitigate damages to the tenant. This includes attempting to re-rent the property (NRS 118.175).

There is no statute governing how much notice either party must give the other when terminating a lease that has a fixed end date.

If the lease is month-to-month, then either party has 30 days to terminate a lease. If a lease is week-to-week, either party has seven days to terminate the lease.

If the tenant had initially signed a lease with a fixed end date, the landlord can either issue a new lease or the tenancy is assumed to be month-to-month.

 

Nevada Regulations Concerning Notices of Entry

Tenants are entitled to their privacy. Therefore, a landlord must give a tenant 24 hours notice before entering the property even to conduct repairs. There is one exception to this rule, which is emergency situations. In an emergency, a landlord may access the property without notice (NRS 118A.330).

 

Nevada Regulations Governing Landlord Disclosures

In certain instances, the State of Nevada requires landlords to disclose potentially sensitive information to tenants.

A landlord must disclose:

Nevada Regulations Concerning Landlord Retaliation

Landlords are prohibited from retaliating against a tenant who files a good faith complaint against them. Forms of retaliation can include:

  •   Initiating an eviction;
  •   Unwillingness to renew a lease;
  •   Increasing the rent;
  •   Decreasing or limiting access to services (NRS 118A.510).

If the tenant brings an action against a landlord for retaliation, the burden of proof is on the landlord to justify their action to the court if:

  •   The tenant has recently filed a good-faith complaint against the landlord with a government agency,
  •   Or the tenant has recently joined or organized a tenant union.

In other words, if the tenant exercises their rights, and the landlord takes action against them, then the court will assume that the landlord has acted in retaliation against the tenant.

 

Other Nevada Regulations

A tenant has an inalienable right as an American to display an American flag on the rental property (NRS 118A.325, NRS 118A.200). A landlord may neither prohibit nor retaliate against a tenant who displays an American flag.

While Nevada has no statewide statute requiring landlords to have business licenses, individual cities and counties might. Landlords should check with their cities and counties to ensure compliance with local laws.

This blog entry is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Landlords and Tenants are encouraged to seek specific legal advice for any of the issues as found in this blog.