Breaking a Lease in Nevada

Breaking a Lease in Nevada

Last Updated: July 24, 2022 by Elizabeth Souza

Find out when a tenant can legally break a lease in Nevada, when they can’t, and if a landlord is required by Nevada law to make reasonable effort to re-rent.

Before we address the legally acceptable reasons to get out a lease early without penalty, it’s important to understand the notice requirements in Nevada to end a tenancy.

Lease Termination Notice Requirements in Nevada

In Nevada, a tenant is not required to provide notice for fixed end date leases, the lease expires on the last day of the lease. Nevada tenants have to provide written notice for the following lease terms (NRS 40.251):

  • Notice to Terminate a Week-to-Week Lease. 7 days’ written notice
  • Notice to Terminate a Month-to-Month Lease. 30 days’ written notice

Delivering Notice in Nevada

A tenant can deliver notice to the landlord by using one of the following methods:

  • Delivering a copy in person.
  • Mailing a copy.

Check the lease agreement if there is a specific method of delivery that the landlord prefers.

There are a handful of scenarios where a tenant can legally break a lease in Nevada without penalty. We’ll go through each of them below.

Questions? To chat with a Nevada landlord tenant attorney, click here

1. Early Termination Clause

Some modern lease agreements may provide specific terms that would allow a tenant to terminate a lease early in exchange for a penalty fee. Read over the lease and look for language that outlines agreed-upon terms for ending the lease before the end of the fixed period, such as the amount of the fee (i.e., equal to 2 month’s rent) and the amount of notice required (i.e., 30 days).

If a lease agreement contains an early termination clause, before executing it and paying the penalty fee, read further to learn about other conditions that, if met, would not require a penalty fee to be paid.

2. Active Military Duty

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) helps protect active service members who are relocated due to deployment or permanent change of station. The protection begins on the date of entering duty and ends between 30-90 days after the date of discharge.

To break a lease in accordance with the relief act, a tenant must:

  • Prove the lease was signed before entering active duty.
  • Prove they will remain on active duty for at least the next 90 days.
  • Deliver a written notice to the landlord (example, page 2), accompanied by a copy of the orders to deploy / Permanent Change of Station (PCS) or a letter from their commanding officer stating their pending deployment.

With that said, the lease does not terminate immediately. Once the notice is delivered, the earliest the lease can terminate is 30 days after the beginning of the next rent period. For example, if the notice was delivered on the 23rd of March, and the rent is due on the 1st of each month, the earliest the lease can terminate is May 1st therefore, rent is still due for the month of April.

note

In Nevada, the term “servicemember” means a member of the armed forces, commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, and the activated National Guard.

3. Unit is Uninhabitable

Most states have specific health and safety codes that provide minimum standards for rental units, and Nevada is no different.

If those standards are not met, proper notice is given by the tenant and the repairs are still not made within the allowable time period, a tenant would be considered “constructively evicted”. As a result, the obligations of the tenant under the lease are no longer required, given that the landlord has not met their own responsibilities under Nevada landlord-tenant law. According to Nevada state law, landlord duties to provide habitable premises include the following (NRS §118A.290):

A dwelling unit is not habitable if it violates provisions of housing or health codes concerning the health, safety, sanitation or fitness for the habitation of the dwelling unit or if it substantially lacks:

  • Waterproofing and Weather Protection. The waterproofing and weather protection must be effective and shall including the roof and exterior walls, including windows and doors.
  • Electrical Lighting, Outlets, Wiring, Electrical Equipment, Plumbing, and Heating. All facilities must be conformed to applicable law when installed and are maintained in good working order.
  • Receptacles for Garbage. An adequate number of appropriate receptacles for garbage and rubbish in clean condition and good repair at the commencement of the tenancy. The landlord shall arrange for the removal of garbage and rubbish from the premises unless the parties by written agreement provide otherwise.
  • Building, Grounds, Appurtenances and All Other Areas Under the Landlord’s Control.  Must be every part clean, sanitary and reasonably free from all accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, insects and vermin.
  • Floors, Walls, Ceilings, Stairways, and Railings. Must be maintained in good repair.
  • Ventilating, Air-Conditioning, Elevators, And Other Facilities and Appliances. Must be maintained in good repair if supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord.

For additional information on habitability laws in Nevada, click here.

4. Landlord Harassment or Privacy Violation

If the action is serious enough, harassment by a landlord or their violation of a tenant’s privacy may be enough justification for relieving a tenant of their obligations of the lease.

  • Landlord Entry. In Nevada, a tenant has the right to receive at least a 24 hours’ notice and entry allowed only at reasonable times (NRS §118A.330). There are situations, such as in emergencies, abandonment of property, surrender of property, or under a court order, when the landlord does not have to provide notice to enter. A tenant must usually grant the landlord access if the landlord has given proper notice and the landlord is trying to enter the unit for a lawful reason, such as to show the unit to a prospective tenant or to make a necessary repair.
  • Changing the Locks. In Nevada, if the locks are changed by a landlord without the tenant’s permission or without the protection of specific language in the lease agreement, this can qualify as being “constructively evicted”, and could relieve the tenant of their duties of the lease (NRS §118A.390).

5. Domestic Violence, Harassment, Sexual Assault, Stalking

Nevada protects tenants, co-tenants and household members who are victims of domestic violence with early termination rights. If a tenant is confronting a domestic violence situation (this can also be stalking), and wants to move, a tenant may have the right to terminate your lease upon written notice to your landlord of a domestic violence incident that occurred within the past 90 days.

A landlord is entitled to verify the claim of domestic violence status. The tenant may be asked to attach a copy of supporting documents with the 30-day notice shall be given to the landlord along with the reason for the termination of the rental agreement. The notice should include a copy of one of the following documents:

  • The order of protection;
  • A copy of the written report from a law enforcement agency;
  • A copy of a written affidavit signed by a qualified third party; or
  • A temporary or extended order.

The tenant is responsible for rent for 30 days or until the end of the current rental period, whichever is sooner (NRS §118A.345(1)).

note

A tenant can check with local law enforcement regarding special local laws that may apply in domestic violence situations.

6. Violation of Lease Agreement

If a landlord violates the terms of the lease agreement, it may be enough justification to break the lease and relieve the tenant from their own obligations. Because each lease agreement is different, carefully read over the duties and requirements for both parties to understand if a violation has been made, and whether or not there is language describing how certain violations are to be handled. In Nevada, according to (NRS §118A.220(1)), a lease agreement cannot say that a tenant:

  • Agrees to waive or give up rights or remedies given to the tenant by Nevada’s Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
  • Agrees to have any person “confess” (admit) a judgment for any claim arising out of the lease
  • Agrees to pay the landlord’s attorney’s fees (except the lease can say that the court can award reasonable attorney’s fees to the party that wins in a court case)
  • Agrees that the landlord will not be responsible (or that landlord’s responsibility will be capped or assumed by the tenant) for money awarded by a court because of something the landlord did or failed to do
  • Agrees to give the landlord a different termination notice then the landlord must give the tenant.

Any lease provision that violates Nevada law is “void” (completely without legal force). The tenant can sue the landlord for money if the tenant was injured because of the prohibited lease provision (NRS §118A.220(2)).

7. Senior Citizen or Health Issue

According to Nevada state law, (NRS §118A.340(1)) tenants with a mental or physical disability or are 60 years old or older, and their condition requires that they relocate because of a need for care or treatment that cannot be provided in the rental unit, they can terminate their lease. The tenant may terminate their lease by providing the landlord with 30 days’ notice within 60 days after the tenant relocates. Be sure to check (the Nevada Landlord and Tenant Handbook) to get detailed, state-specific information on this statute.

8. Other Reasons 

A tenant may have alternative reasons to terminate a lease early.  For example, the following reasons may legally permit a tenant to terminate the lease early, but are not always automatic and must be determined by a court:

  • Illegal or Unenforceable Contract. In some scenarios, a lease agreement may be deemed illegal and as a result, is generally not enforceable. (i.e. contracting with a minor)
  • Mandatory Disclosures. Many state and local laws require landlords to disclose documentation, policies, or specific unit information to tenants prior to moving in. Disclosure laws typically impose heavy fines or legal ramifications to landlords if they are not followed. In rare cases, they contain penalty provisions that may allow you to break your lease.
Questions? To chat with a Nevada landlord tenant attorney, click here

Examples of Insufficient Justification for Lease Breaking in Nevada

The below reasons are generally not enough justification (on their own) to release a tenant from the obligation of their lease term, and as a result, provide no legal protection against penalties for not honoring the lease.

  • They bought a house.
  • They are relocating for a new job or school.
  • They are upgrading or downgrading.
  • They are moving in with a partner.
  • They are moving to be closer to family.

Breaking a lease for any of the above reasons without court approval or in any conditions not previously outlined can have tangible consequences for tenants.  If a tenant would like to break a lease for any of these reasons, the tenant should ask the landlord to agree to a mutual termination.

Landlord’s Responsibility to Re-rent in Nevada

According to Nevada law, (NRS §118.175), a landlord must make reasonable efforts to re-rent their unit instead of charging the tenant for the total remaining rent due under the lease. This is referred to as the landlord’s duty to “mitigate damages”. If a landlord re-rents the property quickly, all the tenant will be responsible for is the amount of time the unit was vacant.

Tenant’s Right to Sublet in Nevada

If the lease does not prohibit subletting, then a tenant might be in the clear to sublet. However, the lease might contain a clause requiring a tenant to obtain a landlord’s approval prior to subletting. To get the landlord’s approval, a tenant shall send them a letter through certified mail, with a return receipt requested, outlining the terms of the sublet lease agreement. Certified mail is the only proof of delivery that most courts will accept that a tenant has notified the landlord.

The letter should include the following information:

  • Sublet term.
  • Name of proposed subtenant or assignee.
  • The permanent home address of proposed subtenant or assignee.
  • Your reason for subletting or leaving permanently.
  • Your new address during the sublease if applicable.
  • The written consent of any co‑tenant.
  • A copy of the proposed sublease.

If a landlord rejects the request, know that they can only refuse the proposed subtenant based on legitimate factors. The law states that a landlord cannot unreasonably refuse to sublet.

For more information and to get a FREE Nevada sublease agreement click here.

Additional Resources for Nevada Tenants & Landlords: