Security deposits can trigger the age-old “he said, she said” debate in landlord-tenant relationships. Different states have different laws regarding security deposits. The Nevada rental laws, in particular, are very clear on this topic. As property managers in the Nevada area, we are very familiar with the security deposit law.
Landlords charge security deposits for various reasons:
- To repair any property damage caused by a tenant’s negligence or carelessness
- To cover any default by tenant in rent payment
- To clean the rental unit.
As a landlord in Nevada, it’s important to familiarize yourself with Nevada’s Security Deposit laws. Otherwise, you risk losing the right to keep a tenant’s security deposit and incur legal costs in the process.
Here’s a basic summary of Nevada’s Security Deposit law
· What happens to the security deposit when the property ownership is transferred?
As a landlord, you are required to do two things when property ownership is transferred. First, give the security deposit back to the tenant. The Nevada landlord-tenant law also requires you to notify the incoming landlord that the security deposit has been returned back to the tenant.
Second, notify the tenant in writing that their security deposit, minus legal deductions, has been transferred to the new owner. The law also requires you to provide the tenant with the name, address and phone number of the new owner.
In reality, however, that return or transfer often doesn’t take place. Therefore, besides giving the new owner “the rights and obligations” of the former landlord, Nevada rental law also makes the new owner liable for the former landlord’s securities. Simply put, the incoming landlord becomes responsible for the tenant’s security deposits.
· Can a tenant use a surety bond instead?
Yes, they can. Tenants can use a surety bond for all or part of the deposit. No law compels you to accept it, nor can you force a tenant to use it as a security deposit. It is based purely on mutual understanding.
Renters bonds, however, make it easier for you to collect penalties in case of property damage. So, if the tenant causes damage, they will guarantee to cover it (to a certain limit). Typically, surety bonds cost about 10-20% of the total security deposit required.
In case of property damage, you’re required to provide your tenant with a written itemized accounting. The tenant may or may not agree with your accounting. If the tenant disagrees with it, they need to file their dispute with their bond company.
At this point, you may first need to file a lawsuit against the tenant in a Small Claims Court. If the judgment favors you, the tenant’s bond company will then pay you for the property damage.
· Is it a must for the landlord to provide the tenant with a written notice after receiving the security deposit?
This isn’t a must in Nevada. You are only required to provide it if it’s requested by the tenant. Aside from the amount serving as a security deposit, the receipt can also be for a surety bond or a rental payment. The tenant is allowed to withhold further rent payments until you provide them the receipt.
· Are there any specific laws regarding security deposit storing in Nevada?
No, there aren’t. Unlike some states where the law dictates how a tenant’s security deposit will be stored, the Nevada law doesn’t offer any specific requirements.
· Is the landlord required to state the conditions under which the security deposit can be refunded to tenants in Nevada?
Yes. In addition to clearly listing all the deposits in the lease agreement, you are also required to explain the conditions under which you can refund the security deposits.
· Can landlords in Nevada charge a nonrefundable security deposit?
No. Landlords can’t ask for a non-refundable security deposit. You can, however, charge your tenant a nonrefundable fee for cleaning. This amount must be reasonable. The amount must also be written clearly in the rental agreement.
· Does Nevada law limit how much a landlord can charge a tenant for a security deposit?
Yes, it does. According to Nevada’s Security Laws, the amount you can charge a tenant is dependent on the type of property they rent.
For Project-Based Section 8 housing, you can charge a maximum of one month’s rent or $50, whichever is more. For public housing, you can charge a maximum of one month’s rent. And for private housing, you can charge a maximum of three month’s rent. So, for instance, if monthly rent is $900, you cannot demand anything beyond $2,700.
· What are the reasons to withhold the security deposit of a tenant in Nevada?
You can keep all or a part of a tenant’s security deposit for various reasons:
- Costs associated with cleaning the unit
- Damage exceeding normal wear and tear
- To cover any default by tenant in rent payment
But what constitutes normal wear and tear versus damage as a result of the tenant’s carelessness or negligence? These examples can provide some insight into the differences between “normal wear and tear” and damage.
Normal wear and tear
|Damage as a result of a tenant’s carelessness or negligence|
· When and how should landlords give the security deposit back to a tenant in Nevada?
You have thirty days to give the security deposit, minus legal deductions, back to the tenant. Supposing there are deductions, you are required to provide an accounting of such deductions.
There are two options for refunding the security deposit back to the tenant. You can mail the deposit back to the tenant or hand it personally to the tenant.
If the tenant doesn’t agree with the deductions made, the tenant has the option of filing a dispute with either you or the surety. Likewise, if you fail to return the tenant’s security deposit within thirty days or fail to provide an itemized accounting of the deductions, under Nevada renter’s rights the tenant can also file a lawsuit against you in a small claims court.
In Nevada, the tenant can request to double the security deposit amount. With regard to this, a court will consider:
- The degree of harm your conduct caused the tenant
- The course of conduct between you and the tenant, and;
- Whether you acted in good faith
· Is a Walk-Through Inspection necessary in Nevada?
A walk-through inspection takes place when a tenant is moving out of a rental unit. It ensures that the property’s condition hasn’t changed. In Nevada, a walk-through inspection isn’t necessary.
As a landlord in Nevada, it’s important that you follow Nevada’s Security Deposit Law when handling your tenant’s security deposit. For more information on security deposits, read this post.