The Nevada rental application form is a document sent out by landlords to a prospective tenant to determine whether or not they are a suitable tenant. The information collected relates to the tenant’s rental history, eviction history, and financial information and is used for background screening purposes.
Nevada Laws on Rental Application Fees
In Nevada, there is no limit or maximum rental application fee a landlord can charge a prospective tenant. It’s advised to not charge more than the average out-of-pocket expense, but ultimately the determination of the fee is at the sole discretion of the landlord.
If a prospective tenant’s application is approved, they may chare a security deposit. According to Nevada state law landlords may not charge more than 3 months’ rent for a security deposit. The tenant also has the option to purchase a surety bond to cover some or all of the security deposit. Additionally, upon request from the tenant, the landlord must provide a receipt for the security deposit or surety bond or combination of the two. There are no specified holding requirements for security deposits in Nevada.
What Nevada Rental Application Forms Can’t Ask About
Federal and state laws are in effect in Nevada to protect potential renters from unfair discrimination during the application process. The Federal Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate against the following protected classes:
- National Origin (Nationality)
- Familial Status (Having or not having children)
- Disability (Physical or Mental)
Additionally, Nevada state laws add additional protections for the following classes:
- Sexual Orientation
- Gender Identity
Asking about any of these items on a Nevada rental application form (and/or using them to base an application decision on) is illegal. These criteria may not be asked about in writing or in person and may not be used in the consideration of a rental application.
Exemptions from Fair Housing laws do exist. In Nevada, the following exemptions are allowed:
- Familial Status – it is acceptable to ask about and base an application decision on if children will occupy the rented premises in any two-family owner-occupied buildings.
- Age – landlords may ask for an applicant’s age in the case of age-specific communities, such as senior housing or 55+ communities, due to the Housing for Older Persons exemption.
- Housing for Older Persons Exemption
- Religious Organizations – religion can be used as a basis for giving preference to certain applicants for property that is owned, operated, supervised, or controlled by a religious organization that does not rent for commercial purposes. However, other protected classes may not be the basis for making a decision as a result of this exemption. 42 U.S. Code § 3607
- Private Clubs – private clubs that operate without public access or commercial intent may provide preferential treatment of applications for lodgings owned or operated by the club. 42 U.S. Code § 3607
Federally, race is a non-exemption criteria that cannot have an influence on the choice of whether to rent to an applicant or not regardless of existing exemptions.
The Mrs. Murphy Exemption is not recognized in Nevada.
Consent for Background Checks
Before a landlord can run a credit check based on the prospective tenant’s information on the submitted rental application, the Federal Credit Reporting Act requires that written consent must be given by the applicant. This written consent can be given via a statement of such and signature on the rental application form itself, or via a separate consent form (such as this one).
Processing a Rental Application
The next step in the tenant screening process is to use the information on the rental application form to conduct a background check:
- Credit Check – subject to the tenant’s written consent, a credit check will either provide a simpler “pass/fail” report, or a full credit report including the tenant’s credit score and information about their income, employment, past addresses, credit inquiries and more.
- Eviction Check – an eviction check aims to show the tenant’s history of eviction filings or judgments against them at any point in the last 7 years.
- Criminal History Check – a criminal history check aims to show any records involving the tenant in state court criminal records or in databases such as the national sex offender public registry.
Nevada Eviction Record Search
Evictions, also known as unlawful detainers, are public record in Nevada, which means they can be accessed by anyone.
To complete an eviction record search, you can use a third-party service or check for the record yourself.
To access the eviction records:
- Visit the Nevada Appellate Case Management System.
- Select ‘Participant Search’ from the left side of the page.
- Enter the applicant’s name into the appropriate fields and any cases involving the applicant will pop up.
- Select the case number to view the details of the docket. Any documents available for download will be linked in the case details in PDF format.
Adverse Action Notices
If you acquire a consumer report for an applicant (i.e., credit, eviction or criminal history) and take an “adverse action” against them such as any of the following:
- Rejecting the applicant
- Requiring a co-signer (when they didn’t include one before)
- Requiring a larger security deposit
- Requiring higher rent
Then you are legally required to provide the tenant with a notice letter that includes certain details, known as an “adverse action notice”. This is required even if the consumer report’s information wasn’t the primary reason for the action.
The notice must include details about the consumer reporting agency, an explanation that they didn’t take the adverse action themselves (and can’t explain why it was made) and a statement on the applicant’s right to a copy of the report and to dispute its contents within 60 days. Additionally, when rejecting an applicant, it’s recommended to specify the reason (but not legally required).
For an example, see this tenant rejection letter template.