Dear TRC Counselor,
I moved here from out of state last winter and the unit I
moved into has had so many problems.
There is a cockroach problem and there is a leak under the sink that the
landlord has yet to fix properly. When
the landlord came to fix the leak, he did not even replace any parts. He just wrapped the pipes with some tape, so
the leak is not fixed. To make matters
worse, I think that there is black mold growing and I am afraid that it is
going to start affecting my health. I am
tired of submitting work orders. Do I
have to pay rent? My family and I cannot
live like this anymore.
Sincerely, Losing patience
Dear Losing Patience,
It is very difficult when you are facing habitability
problems in your apartment. Everyone
deserves to have a livable home to live in.
The problems you mentioned, plumbing, cockroach infestations, and mold,
all fall under NRS 118A.290, the Habitability Statute. Nevada Law requires landlords to provide a
livable home to tenants, and there are protections in place for tenants to
enforce these rules.
Under Nevada Law, tenants are required to serve their
landlord with a 14 Day Habitability Notice, telling the landlord what repairs
are needed. The letter should state that
the landlord has 14 days from receipt of the notice to make a reasonable
attempt to fix the problem. This has to
be done in good faith, so wrapping tape around the pipes will probably not meet
this requirement. If the landlord fails
to do this within the 14 days, tenants can pursue the remedies under NRS
118A.355 or NRS 118A.360.
Under NRS 118A.355, you can either 1) withhold rent, 2)
terminate the lease, 3) sue for damages, or 4) seek other relief in court. You can pursue only one of these four remedies,
and if you choose to withhold rent, they should deposit it in escrow at the
justice court where you live. If the
landlord makes the repairs, you must immediately release the rent to the
Please note that while work orders and emails are useful, to
ensure that you are following Nevada Law, be sure to send the written notice to
the landlord with tracking so that you can prove that it was delivered. There’s no need to send it with a signature,
as some landlords will not sign for the letter.
However, keep proof of tracking as well a copy of the letter and sure to
reach out to the TRC for advice to evaluate your case when the landlord
satisfied the requirements of the statute.
You can also have the option to repair and deduct under NRS
118A.360. The rules are similar, as the
14 day notice for habitability should be sent to the landlord. However, if the landlord fails to make a
reasonable attempt to do the repairs, you can pay to have the repairs done and
then deduct the amount from next month’s rent.
The cost should not exceed one months rent and the repairs cannot exceed
one month’s rent within any one calendar year.
On your final question regarding the mold, it is important
to have the mold tested because most mold is not dangerous and can just be
cleaned. However, there are dangerous
types of mold and it needs to be tested.
We can refer you to the State Bar Lawyer Referral Service so that you
can be referred to an attorney who specializes in these types of cases.