Landlord Liability in Nevada for Renting a Unit that is Uninhabitable or Lacks Essential Services

A landlord of residential property is required to maintain the rental unit in a habitable condition, which includes furnishing essential services unless the lease provides otherwise.  A habitability claim premised on the landlord’s alleged failure to provide essential services, however, is treated slightly differently under Nevada law in a few material respects.  For this reason, it is important that both parties understand whether a problem is one of habitability or one of essential services.

“Habitability” Definition

Pursuant to NRS 118A.290, a rental unit is not habitable if it violates provisions of housing or health codes concerning the health, safety, sanitation or fitness for habitation of the dwelling unit.  The unit is also deemed uninhabitable as a matter of law if it substantially lacks:

•             Waterproofing and weather protection of the roof, walls, windows and doors.

•             Properly installed plumbing facilities maintained in good working order

•             A hot and cold, properly maintained running water system

•             Adequate heating facilities.

•             Electrical lighting, outlets, wiring and electrical equipment.

•             Adequate garbage disposal system

  •        Clean and sanitary building, and grounds facilities under landlord’s control

•             Properly maintained floors, walls, ceilings, stairways and

•             Properly maintained ventilating, air-conditioning and appliances

Tenant Remedies for Breach of Warranty of Habitability

A landlord must be provided with notice of the uninhabitable condition and an opportunity to fix the problem as a condition precedent to liability for the uninhabitable condition.  Notice can be provided by the tenant or a code enforcement agency.

The landlord must use his best efforts to comply with the notice within 14 days, or faster in an emergency.  Otherwise, the tenant has the right to:

  • Withhold or pay rent into the court’s escrow account
  • Repair and deduct the costs of the repair from the rent (up to one month’s rent)
  • Terminate the rental agreement
  • Sue the landlord for damages, and/or
  • Sue the landlord for an order to repair the problem(s).

These remedies are not available if the habitability problem was caused by the tenant, a member of his household, or anyone on the property with the tenant’s consent, or if the landlord was unable to remedy the problem because the tenant refused to allow lawful access to the property.

Tenant Remedies When Rental Lacks Essential Services

Essential services include, heat, air-conditioning, running water, hot water, electricity, and gas. If the landlord either willfully or negligently fails to supply an essential service and the rental unit becomes unfit to live in as a result, the tenant may:

  • Give written notice of the problem to the landlord
  • Give the landlord 48 hours (not counting weekends or holidays), in which to fix the problem

If the landlord fails to fix, or use his best efforts to fix the problem, the tenant may take any of the following actions:

  • Withhold Rent (after 48 hours’ notice)
  • Repair and Deduct
  • Move, Withhold Rent, and Sue

Note that a tenant need not deposit the rent in a court escrow account if the landlord fails to provide essential services.  Additionally, these remedies are not available if the failure to provide essential services was the responsibility of the tenant, a member of his household, or anyone on the property with the tenant’s consent.

Please contact us with any questions regarding the above or if you are ready to start a case.  We can be reached at 888-441-2355, Ext. 2 or  You can also schedule a free telephonic consultation on our website to discuss your needs and issues.

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