Nebraska Habitability Laws

QUICK FACTS
  • Landlord Responsibilities. Maintain in good working order all electrical, plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, and other facilities, including any elevators (read more).
  • Making Repairs. Landlords are required to make and pay for repairs for items under their responsibility. They must do so within 14 days after receiving a written request from tenants (read more).
  • Tenant Options. If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, tenants are permitted to withhold rent, report the issue to a public official, or file a lawsuit, but cannot repair and deduct (read more).
  • Retaliation. Landlords are not allowed to increase rent in retaliation against a tenant for exercising a legal right (read more).

The implied warranty of habitability in Nebraska does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are & aren’t included.

Dwelling Type Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single family Yes
Multi-family Yes
Fraternities/Sororities/Clubs No
RV parks Not specifically addressed
Mobile home parks Not specifically addressed
Condos Only if person in condo is renter
Hotels/Motels No

Landlord Responsibilities

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

Rodents

Nebraska landlords are also required to ensure all rental properties are “rodent-proof” in addition to being weatherproof and waterproof.

Lead-based paint

For any rental properties built prior to 1978, the landlord is required to inform you of the potential for lead paint on the property, and any known areas where lead paint was used.

Making Repairs

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

If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.

  1. 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, given that the landlord was given written notice and reasonable time to make repairs.
  2. Repair and deduct – tenants do not have the right to repair the issue themselves and deduct a reasonable amount for the repair from the following month’s rent.
  3. Lawsuit – tenants do have the right to take legal action for damages resulting from habitability issues.
  4. 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

It is illegal for a landlord to retaliate to a tenant for exercising their rights. The landlord is not allowed to “retaliate” by means of:

  • increasing the rent,
  • threatening eviction, or
  • decreasing or cutting off services such as gas, electric or water.

Sources