The fire or other casualty must substantially impair the dwelling. If you are not forced out of the dwelling immediately after the event occurred, the dwelling is probably not substantially impaired.
You can immediately vacate the premises and notify the landlord within 7 days of vacating that you terminated the lease on the day of the casualty. Moreover, you have the right to demand the return all prepaid rent from the date of move out.
Under, NRS 118A.380, you must provide the landlord with a written request the repairs to be made within 48 hours, excluding holidays before you can take the following legal actions. Always keep a copy of the signed and dated letter. See Sample Essential Services Letter.
- Obtain the essential services on your own and deduct the cost from next month’s rent
- Sue the landlord for actual damages including the reduction in the value of the dwelling. See Smalls Claims Court
- Withhold any rent that becomes due. Note: You cannot withhold past due rent.
- Obtain comparable substitute housing during the time that your essential service is not working For example, if your rent is $600 a month, you should find housing at around $20 per night ($600 divided by 30 days). If the substitute housing costs reasonable more than the current rent, client can recover the difference in cost from her landlord.
If a government inspector notified you and landlord of the lack of essential services, you do not need to wait 48 hours to file suit for damages or withhold rent.
Under NRS 118A.355, you must provide 14 days written notice to the landlord before you can take any legal action. In the written notice, you must tell the landlord that if the repairs are not completed within 14 days, you will take any of the following legal actions. You should date, sign the letter and keep a copy of the signed letter. However, if the landlord starts making a reasonable attempt to make the repairs, you may not take these legal actions, and you will have to send another letter giving the landlord another 14 days. See Sample Habitability Letter.
- Terminate your lease
- Sue to recover actual damages. See Smalls Claims Court
- Repair or fix the problem on your own (like hiring a contractor) and deduct from your next month’s rent. You may only deduct up to one-month's worth of rent in repairing or fixing the problem.
- Withhold rent. You cannot withhold for past owed rent. You will have to deposit your rent with the justice court’s escrow account.
If a government inspector notified you and landlord of the habitability problem, you do not need to wait 14 days to file suit for damages or withhold rent.