In Nebraska a landlord’s obligation for providing a habitable living space is primarily governed by Neb. Rev. Stat §76-1419. This legal requirement, commonly known as the “implied warranty of habitability”, also outlines the rights of tenants when repairs are not made in a timely manner.
Applicable Dwelling Types in Nebraska
The implied warranty of habitability in Nebraska does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are and aren’t included.
|Dwelling Type||Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?|
|RV parks||Not specifically addressed|
|Mobile home parks||Not specifically addressed|
|Condos||Only if person in condo is renter|
Landlord Responsibilities in Nebraska
The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability. Not all of them are requirements in Nebraska, as indicated below.
Note: Some of the below items may not be addressed at the state level but may be addressed on a county or city level. Check your local housing codes to see which additional requirements may apply.
|Habitability Issue||Landlord Responsibility?|
|Provide windows and doors that are in good repair.||Not addressed|
|Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks.||Yes|
|Provide hot and cold running water.||Yes|
|Provide working HVAC equipment.||Yes|
|Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting.||Yes|
|Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cooking||Yes|
|Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet).||Yes|
|Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services).||Yes|
|Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe.||Not addressed|
|Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe.||Not addressed|
|Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean.||Not addressed|
|Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials.||Not addressed|
|Provide working smoke detectors||Not addressed|
|Provide a mailbox.||Not addressed|
|Provide working wiring for one telephone jack.||Not addressed|
|Provide working kitchen appliances.||Yes, if required|
|Provide working carbon monoxide detector.||Yes|
|Provide a working washer/dryer.||Not addressed|
Nebraska landlords are also required to ensure all rental properties are “rodent-proof” in addition to being weatherproof and waterproof.
For any rental properties built prior to 1978, the landlord is required to inform tenants of the potential for lead paint on the property, and any known areas where lead paint was used.
Tenant’s Right to Repairs in Nebraska
The law says a landlord must make repairs to an apartment when needed. To enforce the law regarding habitability, tenants must give their landlord written notice of the problem. Tenants must keep a copy of the notice along with the certified mail return receipt.
- Sending Notice – After receiving the written notice sent by the tenant, the landlord is given 14 days to make necessary repairs to the unit.
- Landlord Access – Tenants are required to give the landlord access to the property to make necessary repairs. However, a landlord must give tenants one day’s notice unless it’s an emergency.
Tenant’s Options if Repairs Aren’t Made in Nebraska
If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner after notice was given, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.
- Withhold Rent – Nebraska landlord-tenant law permits the tenant to withhold rent for a landlord’s failure to make necessary repairs or provide essential services, such as heat, water, etc.
- Repair and Deduct – Tenants have the right to procure reasonable amounts of essential services during the landlord’s noncompliance and may deduct the actual and reasonable costs from the rent.
- Substitute Housing – If essential services such as water or heat are not provided by the landlord, the tenant may seek substitute housing during the landlord’s noncompliance. The tenant does not need to pay rent until the essential services are repaired.
- Lawsuit – Tenants do have the right to take legal action for damages resulting from habitability issues.
- Reporting to Public Officials – Landlords can be reported to the local housing code enforcement office if they are found to be in violation of any local housing codes.
Landlord Retaliation in Nebraska
It is illegal for a landlord to retaliate by increasing rent, shutting off or decreasing essential services or threatening to evict a tenant for exercising their rights. A landlord may not retaliate in the following circumstances:
- Tenant has joined or organized a tenants’ union (or a similar organization).
- Tenant complained to a local government agency regarding a building or housing code violation that is materially affecting the health and safety of the tenant.