Find out when a tenant can legally break a lease in Nevada, when they can’t, and whether or not a landlord is required by Nevada law to make reasonable effort to rerent.
Before we address the legally acceptable reasons to get out of a lease early without penalty, it’s important to know the notice requirements in Nevada to end a tenancy in general.
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:
- Notice to terminate a week-to-week lease. 7 days (NRS 40.251)
- Notice to terminate a month-to-month lease. 30 days (NRS 40.251)
Conditions for Legally Breaking a Lease in Nevada
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.
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 / 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. So 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 (meaning, rent is still due for the month of April).
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
Every state has 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 if the repairs/fixes 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 (§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:
- Effective waterproofing and weather protection of the roof and exterior walls, including windows and doors
- Plumbing facilities which conformed to applicable law when installing and which are maintained in good working order
- Adequate heating facilities which conformed to applicable law when installed and are maintained in good working order
- Electrical lighting, outlets, wiring and electrical equipment which conformed to applicable law when installed and are maintained in good working order
- 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 at the time of the commencement of the tenancy in 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 maintained in good repair
- Ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, maintained in good repair if supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord
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 24-hour notice and entry allowed only at reasonable times (NRS 118A.330). There are situations, such as in emergencies 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
Nevada protects tenants who are victims of domestic violence with early termination rights. If you are confronting a domestic violence situation (this can also be stalking), and want to move, you 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. The victim is responsible for rent for 30 days or until the end of the current rental period, whichever is sooner (NRS 118A.345(1)).
You can also 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, a lease agreement cannot say that a tenant (NRS 118A.220(1)):
- 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, tenants with a mental or physical disability or are sixty 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. (NRS 118A.340(1)). Be sure to check (the Nevada Landlord and Tenant Handbook) to get detailed, state-specific information on this statute.
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
Since state landlord-tenant laws vary, the following reasons may legally permit a tenant to terminate their tenancy early in other states but are not applicable in Nevada:
- Illegal contract. In some scenarios, a lease agreement may be deemed illegal and as a result, is generally not enforceable.
- 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.
Breaking a lease for any of the above reasons or in any conditions not previously outlined can have tangible consequences for tenants.
Landlord’s Responsibility to Rerent in Nevada
Nevada state law does require landlords to take reasonable steps to rerent their unit when a tenant breaks their lease. This is referred to as the landlord’s duty to “mitigate damages”. This means that if you leave your lease early and your landlord rerents the unit before your lease ends, then the rent received from the new tenant will apply to your debt.
According to Nevada code §NRS 118.175, your landlord must make reasonable efforts to rerent their unit instead of charging you for the total remaining rent due under the lease. If your landlord rerents the property quickly, all you’ll be responsible for is the amount of time the unit was vacant.
Keep in mind, not all landlords are aware of their duty to mitigate. If your landlord demands payment for the remaining balance of your lease, you may want to notify them of your state’s law.
Nevada tenants who break their lease early without proper justification should still plan on losing at least one month’s rent, even though the landlord has a responsible to rerent. In Nevada and other states where the law requires the landlord to make a reasonable effort to rerent, judges in civil courts commonly award landlords with at least one month’s rent, no matter how quickly the unit is rented.
Tenant’s Right to Sublet in Nevada
If your lease does not prohibit subletting, then you are in the clear to do so. However, your lease might contain a clause requiring you to obtain your landlord’s approval prior to subletting. To get your landlord’s approval, you have to 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 in case you need proof that you notified your 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 your landlord rejects your request, know that they can only refuse the proposed subtenant based on legitimate factors. The law says your landlord cannot unreasonably refuse your sublet.