Breaking Your Lease in Nevada: How To Do It Properly
Most tenants who sign a lease for their rental unit or apartment typically plan to stay for the entire lease, which typically is just 12 months. However, there are certain situations that may require you to break your lease such as moving closer to your elderly parent, relocating for a new job, or moving in with your partner.
Leaving your rental unit or apartment before your lease is up without paying the remaining amount of rent due is known as breaking your lease.
Here’s the general breakdown of your tenant rights when breaking a lease in Nevada.
Tenant Responsibilities and Rights
A lease is an agreement between your landlord and yourself for a certain amount of time, which is typically 12 months.
Under a normal lease, your landlord will not be allowed to change their terms or increase or decrease your rent until your lease is over. Your landlord cannot make you move out until the end of your lease as well, unless you do not pay your rent, or you violate a clause that is in your lease. In most cases, landlords are required to follow very strict procedures to end your tenancy in their apartment or unit.
You as the tenant is legally responsible for paying rent for the entire duration of the lease, which is typically 12 months. Even if you choose not to live there, but there are some exceptions to this rule. We will go over them right now.
Termination Notice Guidelines
The importance of a notice when ending a lease agreement in Nevada can’t be overstated. It serves as a legal document outlining your intention to terminate the lease agreement. The notice must include relevant details, such as the reason for termination and the proposed end date of the lease.
Timeline for Lease Termination Notice in Nevada
In Nevada, the timeline for giving a lease termination notice varies depending on the type of lease:
- Week-to-Week Lease: A seven-day notice prior to the desired termination date is required for a week-to-week lease agreement.
- Month-to-Month Lease: A 30-day notice is mandated for a month-to-month lease agreement.
The timelines are established in accordance with Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 40.251.
Special Cases for Lease Termination Notice
Under Nevada law, there are special cases where tenants can break their lease without penalty:
- Active Military Duty: Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), military personnel reassigned during their lease period can terminate their lease without repercussions.
- Unit Uninhabitable: If the rented unit becomes uninhabitable and the landlord fails to make necessary repairs, the tenant can terminate the lease agreement.
- Victim of Domestic Violence: Nevada law (NRS 118A.345) provides certain protections for tenants who are victims of domestic violence.
Legal Delivery of Notice Letter in Nevada: Ensuring Compliance with Nevada Law
Delivering your lease termination notice legally and effectively is crucial in the process of breaking your lease in Nevada. Nevada law outlines clear protocols for how the notice should be served to your landlord to ensure its validity.
Methods of Delivering Lease Termination Notice
The delivery methods for a lease termination notice in Nevada are stated in NRS 40.280:
- Personal Delivery: One effective method is handing the notice to the landlord in person.
- Delivery at the Property: If the landlord is unavailable, leaving the notice with a person of suitable age and discretion at the landlord’s usual place of residence or business is also acceptable.
- Certified Mail: Sending the notice through certified mail with a return receipt requested is another acceptable method.
Preparing a Legally-Sound Notice Letter
While there’s no set format for a lease termination notice in Nevada, certain crucial details should be included for it to be legally sound:
- Your Full Name: Make sure to write your full legal name as it appears on the lease agreement.
- Lease Information: Include specific lease information such as property address and lease start date.
- Termination Date: Indicate the proposed termination date as per the Nevada lease termination notice timeline.
- Reason for Termination: Briefly describe your reason for terminating the lease agreement.
Situations When Breaking Your Lease in Nevada is Justified
There are a few certain situations to this very blanket rule where the tenant who will break their lease will still owe the remaining rent. However, with these situations, you will be able to legally move out before your lease is over. Here’s the situation:
You are Now on Active Military Duty
If you decide to enter active military duty after you sign your lease for your rental unit or apartment, you have every right to break your lease under the federal law.
You will be required to be a part of the “uniformed services.” This includes National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, armed forces, Public Health Service, or the activated National Guard.
However, when you need to break your lease because of your active duty, you will need to give your notice in writing and specify it is because of military reasons. Once you either the letter or hand deliver the letter, your lease will be terminated in 30 days after the rent is next due.
You are Over the age of 60 & Moving Due to Mental or Physical Disability
Under the Nevada Law, if you are 60 years of age or older, you can terminate your lease due to mental or physical disability. This is only permitted if you give your landlord a written notice specifying the conditions you are suffering.
Keep in mind, the lease can only be broken if the rental unit or apartment cannot handle the accommodations you need.
The Rental is Not Incompliance with Safety & Health Codes for Nevada
It is up to your landlord to provide you a habitable housing that abides by the state and local housing codes of Nevada.
If your landlord cannot provide you a habitable housing that abides by the state and local housing codes of Nevada, the court of Nevada will conclude that you were constructively evicted. Constructively evicted just means that the landlord was unable to provide you a habitable housing and has “evicted” you, so you have no further ties or responsibilities to pay rent for that unit.
The Nevada states that there are certain requirements that you will need to follow before you can move out and be constructively evicted. You will have to keep in mind these problems are going to have to be severe such as lack of heat or lack of air.
Landlord Violates Your Privacy and Harasses You
Under the Nevada Law, your landlord is required to give you at a minimum of 24 hours’ notice prior to entering your rental unit.
If your landlord continues to violate your right to your privacy and does things like remove your doors and windows, changing locks, turning off utilities, you can be constructively evicted. We talked about being constructively evicted above and the same would go for this situation as well.
Victim of Domestic Violence
Under the Nevada Law, it requires landlords to provide you early release from your lease, if you are a victim of domestic violence.
However, in this case, you will need to obtain a valid order of protection before you can get out of your lease first.
Early Termination Clause
An early termination clause in your lease agreement can significantly simplify the process of breaking your lease in Nevada. However, it’s essential to understand the conditions stipulated within these clauses, as they often come with penalties or specific requirements.
What is an Early Termination Clause?
An early termination clause is a provision in a lease agreement that allows a tenant to terminate their lease early without facing legal repercussions, given certain conditions are met. This clause is not mandatory in Nevada lease agreements, but if it is included, it’s usually accompanied by a fee that the tenant must pay to the landlord.
Understanding the Cost of Early Termination
The cost of early termination varies depending on the specific terms outlined in your lease agreement. Generally, Nevada landlords may charge an early termination fee equivalent to 1-2 months’ rent. However, the actual cost can vary based on the specific terms in your lease agreement, the length of time remaining on the lease, and the landlord’s ability to find a replacement tenant.
Key Considerations When Invoking the Early Termination Clause
Invoking the early termination clause requires careful consideration. Here are a few key points to note:
Written Notice: Provide your landlord with a written notice of your intention to terminate the lease early. This should detail your reasons for terminating and the date by which you plan to vacate the property.
Evidence of Condition: It’s advisable to take photos or videos of the property’s condition when you move out. This will serve as evidence if there are any disputes about damages or the return of your security deposit.
Fulfillment of Terms: Ensure you’ve fulfilled all the terms stipulated in the early termination clause, such as paying the termination fee or providing the required notice.
Always remember, invoking an early termination clause is a legally binding process. It’s recommended to consult with a legal professional if you have any doubts about the implications.
Repeated Lease Violations
Repeated lease violations by your landlord can provide a legal basis for ending your lease agreement early in Nevada. It’s important to know your rights as a tenant, and understand the necessary steps to take if your landlord fails to adhere to the terms of your lease agreement.
Recognizing Repeated Lease Violations
Lease violations occur when a landlord fails to uphold their responsibilities as outlined in the lease agreement. Common lease violations can include:
Failure to Maintain the Premises: Your landlord is legally required to keep the rental unit in a habitable condition.
Privacy Infringement: Landlords must respect the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment, which means they can’t enter the rental unit without proper notice, except in emergencies.
Refusal to Make Necessary Repairs: If your landlord consistently fails to respond to repair requests that affect health and safety, this could constitute a lease violation.
Documenting Lease Violations
If you’re considering breaking your lease due to repeated lease violations, it’s crucial to keep detailed records of each violation. This can include:
Written Communication: Keep copies of all written communication regarding the violations between you and your landlord.
Photos and Videos: Visual evidence can be beneficial in documenting issues related to property maintenance and repair.
Witness Testimony: If there are witnesses to the violations, their testimony can be helpful if legal proceedings arise.
Taking Legal Steps to Terminate the Lease
In Nevada, tenants can terminate their lease agreement if the landlord repeatedly violates the lease terms, following these steps:
Give Written Notice: Notify your landlord in writing about the violations and your intent to terminate the lease if these issues are not resolved.
Allow Time for Rectification: Nevada law requires tenants to give their landlords a reasonable amount of time to correct the violation.
Seek Legal Counsel: If the landlord fails to address the issues, consult with a legal professional to guide you through the next steps in the process of lease termination.
Invalid Reasons for Terminating a Lease Agreement in Nevada
While there are several legally valid reasons for terminating a lease agreement early in Nevada, there are also reasons that are unjustifiable and won’t hold up in court. It’s important for tenants to know what these are to avoid legal disputes and potential penalties.
Unjustifiable Reasons for Lease Termination
Here are some scenarios that, despite causing inconvenience or dissatisfaction, do not legally justify breaking a lease in Nevada:
- Relocation for Work or Personal Reasons: Unless specifically stated in your lease agreement or you are a military personnel relocated for duty, moving for a new job or personal reasons is not considered a valid reason to break a lease.
- Purchasing a Home: Buying a new home is an exciting step, but it doesn’t provide legal grounds for terminating your lease agreement early.
- Disagreements with Neighbors: While conflicts with neighbors can be stressful, they generally don’t justify breaking a lease, unless they are causing severe issues affecting your safety or quality of life, and your landlord refuses to intervene.
Consequences of Breaking a Lease for Invalid Reasons
Breaking your lease for an invalid reason can lead to several penalties:
- Financial Consequences: You may be required to pay rent for the remaining months of your lease, or an early termination fee if specified in your lease agreement.
- Legal Actions: Your landlord could take legal action against you for breach of contract.
- Credit Impacts: Unpaid rent or legal judgments against you can negatively impact your credit score.
It is the Landlord’s Job to Find a New Tenant
Even if you don’t have one of the above reasons to justify breaking your lease, that does not mean you still cannot break the lease and not be on the hook for paying all the remaining rent.
Under the Nevada law, your landlord will be required to put in effort to re-rent your rental unit no matter why you left it in the first place. Instead of the landlord charging you for the remaining balance due under you lease, they will rent it out as quickly as possible to help ease the burden of rent loss.
The state of Nevada requires all landlords to take these steps to keep their rental losses to a minimum.
For instance, if you break your lease, the landlord is not going to sue you for the total amount left of the rent. The landlord is going to re-rent your unit as quickly as possible and subtract what rent they are getting from their new tenants to the rent you still owe them.
Typically, depending on how long it takes the landlord to re-rent your unit, you will only oversee paying for the time that the rental unit was vacant.
There will be times when you will end up having to pay your entire remaining balance, if you do not live in a heavily sought-after area. However, landlords do have a cap of being able to charge you $10,000 in the state of Nevada.
Consequences of Breaking a Lease Early
The last thing you ever want to do is leave early. It brings out a lot of consequences you may not have thought of.
The major consequence is financial. You will be paying for your old place alongside your new place. Many people cannot do this. Even if your landlord can get a new tenant in quickly, you may still be on the hook for a month or two of rent at your old place while paying rent at your new place as well.
Another consequence is it will make your rental history look a little sloppy. When landlords are looking to pick a tenant, they look at the tenant’s rental history. They want a tenant they will not only take care of their property, but also will stay for the remainder of the lease. This could very well deter a landlord from renting to you in the future.
If your reason for breaking your agreement is justified as mentioned in one of the above situations, you do not have to worry about having sloppy rental history. If you are breaking your lease just because that is a whole other ball game and it will not look good for your future landlords. It is best to stay where you are until your lease is up to maintain a perfect rental history, so future landlords will want to rent to you.
Nevada Landlords and Lease Termination Compensation
In Nevada, if a tenant attempts to break their lease agreement without a legally valid reason, landlords are entitled to compensation. It’s important for tenants to understand the potential financial implications before deciding to prematurely terminate their lease.
Landlord Compensation in Lease Terminations
When a tenant breaks a lease, the landlord may incur various losses, such as unpaid rent, advertising costs to find a new tenant, or even the cost of making the property ready for a new tenant. As such, Nevada law allows landlords to seek compensation in these instances.
Calculating Landlord Compensation
The compensation a landlord can receive depends on several factors:
- Unpaid Rent: Landlords are typically entitled to the remaining rent due on the lease. However, they must also make a good-faith effort to find a new tenant and mitigate the amount of rent lost.
- Reletting Costs: If the landlord incurs costs in finding a new tenant, such as advertising or screening prospective tenants, they can seek to recover these expenses.
- Property Damage: If the tenant caused damage beyond normal wear and tear, the landlord could use the security deposit or seek additional compensation to cover the repair costs.
Landlord Rights and the Duty to Mitigate
While landlords in Nevada have the right to compensation, they also have a legal duty to mitigate damages. This means that they must make reasonable efforts to re-rent the property to minimize the amount of rent lost. If a new tenant is found, the original tenant can only be held responsible for the rent lost during the period the property was vacant, and any additional reletting costs.
Landlord’s Duty to Re-Rent in Nevada
In Nevada, landlords have a legal obligation known as the “duty to mitigate damages.” This means that if a tenant breaks their lease, the landlord must make reasonable efforts to find a new tenant. This responsibility is critical in determining the amount of compensation a landlord can claim from the tenant who broke the lease.
Understanding the Duty to Mitigate Damages
The duty to mitigate damages is based on the principle that a party who has suffered a loss (in this case, the landlord) has to make reasonable efforts to minimize the impact of that loss. In terms of a broken lease, this means that a landlord can’t simply leave the rental unit vacant and continue to charge the tenant for the remaining lease term.
How Landlords Fulfill Their Duty to Mitigate
To fulfill this duty, landlords should take actions such as:
- Advertising the Rental Unit: This includes listing the property on rental platforms, putting up signage, or contacting a real estate agent.
- Accepting Suitable Tenants: Landlords should not unreasonably reject prospective tenants. However, they are still allowed to conduct standard background checks and adhere to their usual tenant screening process.
Impact on Tenant Liability
The landlord’s successful mitigation of damages can significantly reduce the financial burden on the tenant who broke the lease. Once a new tenant is found, the original tenant can no longer be charged for future rent, although they may still be responsible for any unpaid rent, damages, and reasonable expenses the landlord incurred while re-renting the property.
Real Cases of Lease Breaking in Nevada
The complexities of lease agreements often come to light during real-world scenarios. Here are a couple of cases from Nevada that can provide valuable insight into the process of breaking a lease, and how Nevada law is applied in these situations.
Case 1: Tenant Breaking Lease Due to Habitability Issues
In one instance, a tenant in Las Vegas decided to break their lease early because the landlord failed to address severe mold issues in the property, making it uninhabitable. The tenant had notified the landlord about the problem, but the landlord did not take prompt action.
Under Nevada law, a rental property must meet certain basic standards of habitability. The tenant documented the issue and their communication with the landlord, and sought legal counsel. The court determined that the landlord’s failure to address the mold issue constituted a violation of the lease agreement, allowing the tenant to break the lease without any financial penalties.
This case underscores the importance of understanding your rights as a tenant, documenting all communication, and seeking legal advice when necessary.
Case 2: Landlord Seeking Compensation for Early Lease Termination
In a case in Reno, a tenant decided to break their lease early due to a job relocation. The lease agreement did not have an early termination clause for job relocation, so the tenant’s reason for breaking the lease was not legally justifiable.
The landlord had the right to seek compensation for the unpaid rent until the end of the lease term. However, the landlord also had a duty to mitigate damages by making reasonable efforts to re-rent the property. The landlord quickly found a new tenant, thereby minimizing the lost rent.
The court ruled that the tenant was responsible for the rent for the period the property was vacant and the landlord’s reasonable expenses in re-renting the property. This case demonstrates the importance of understanding your lease agreement and the potential consequences of breaking it without a legally valid reason.
These real cases of lease breaking in Nevada show the importance of understanding your lease agreement, your rights as a tenant, and the laws of Nevada. If you are considering breaking your lease, it’s crucial to seek legal advice to navigate the process and protect your interests.
Frequently Asked Questions About Breaking a Lease in Nevada
Q1: Can I Break My Lease If I Buy a House in Nevada?
A: Buying a house is an exciting step, but it doesn’t provide legal grounds for terminating a lease agreement early in Nevada. Unless there’s an early termination clause in your lease agreement that stipulates this as a valid reason, you may face penalties for early termination, such as being liable for the remaining rent or an early termination fee.
Q2: If I Need to Break My Lease Due to a Job Relocation, What Should I Do?
A: If your lease agreement doesn’t have a clause that allows for early termination due to job relocation, you may still be responsible for the remaining rent or an early termination fee. It’s recommended to discuss your situation with your landlord; they may be willing to negotiate or even agree to end the lease early without penalties.
Q3: What If My Landlord Violates the Lease Agreement?
A: If your landlord fails to adhere to the terms of the lease agreement, such as failing to maintain the property or violating your right to quiet enjoyment, you might have grounds to terminate the lease early. Document all violations and notify your landlord in writing. If the issues are not resolved, you may need to seek legal counsel.
Q4: How Much Notice Do I Need to Give to Break a Lease?
A: The notice period required for breaking a lease depends on the terms stipulated in your lease agreement. Generally, a 30-day notice is standard, but the actual period may vary. Make sure to provide written notice and send it in a way that you can verify receipt, such as certified mail.
Q5: What If My Landlord Doesn’t Find a New Tenant After I Break My Lease?
A: In Nevada, landlords have a legal obligation to make a reasonable effort to find a new tenant if you break your lease, known as the duty to mitigate damages. If they fulfill this duty but are unable to find a new tenant, you may be liable for the rent for the remaining lease term.