Nebraska Landlord Tenant Law

Looking for clear and concise information on Nebraska landlord tenant law? Get all your answers from this plain English guide to the Nebraska Landlord Tenant Code.

NE Landlord Tenant Law:

  • Nebraska Revised Statutes Chapter 76, Article 14.(a) - Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act
  • Nebraska Revised Statutes Chapter 69, Article 23 - Deposition of Personal Property

Tenant Application

Application Fees

The landlord can ask prospective tenants for application fees to cover the costs of background and credit checks. The fee amount should be reasonable - We recommend charging $25 to $30 per applicant. If the landlord did not run any tenant screening checks, the fees should be refunded.

Background and Credit Check

Before running background or credit checks on tenant applicants, landlords must first obtain the applicant's written permission. [Fair Credit Reporting Act § 604(a)(3)(F)]

For landlords to run background and credit checks, the tenant application form needs to ask for the applicant's:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • social security number or ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number)
  • current address
  • signed consent (e.g. "I authorize the use of the information and contacts provided to complete a credit, reference, and/or background check.")

Avoiding Discrimination

The federal Fair Housing Act disallows landlords from rejecting prospective renters based on their race, color, religion, nationality, sex, *familial status or physical/mental disability. *Familial status means landlords cannot reject someone for having one or more children under 18. Familial status also includes pregnant women and people planning to have (or adapt) children under 18.

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Tenancy Agreement

A tenancy agreement (also known as a lease agreement or rental agreement) can be written or verbal. We highly, highly recommend going for a written agreement - There are just so many details in a tenancy, and therefore just too many things that a landlord and tenant can disagree on.

The landlord and tenant can choose between a month to month tenancy or fixed term lease. For a month to month tenancy, the landlord or tenant can change its terms and conditions at the end of every month. For a fixed term lease, the landlord and tenant CANNOT change the lease terms and conditions during its duration... unless there is written consent from both parties.

In the absence of a rental agreement, the tenancy shall be month to month by default. If the tenant pays rent every week, then the tenancy shall be week to week. [NE 76-1414.(4)]

Required for Tenancy Agreement

Nebraska landlord tenant law requires all tenancy agreements to contain the following details:

  • Name and address of person authorized to manage the property [NE 76-1417.(1)(a)]
  • Name and address or property owner or owner's agent (person authorized to act on behalf of owner) [NE 76-1417.(1)(b)]
  • Disclosure and information of lead-based paint in the property (for housing built before 1978)

Recommended for Tenancy Agreement

  • Name and address of tenant(s)
  • Number of people (occupants) staying on the property
  • Type of tenancy: month to month tenancy or fixed term lease
  • How much is the rent
  • When, how and where the rent is to be paid
  • When is rent is considered late and the penalties for late rent payment
  • How much is the security deposit and pet deposit (if any)
  • Who holds the deposit(s) and where will it be held
  • What utilities and services are provided and who pays for them
  • What are the landlord's and tenant's duties for property maintenance
  • Can the tenant sublet the property or assign the lease
  • When to inform the landlord if tenant will be away for a long time
  • Prohibited activities and items

Disallowed for Tenancy Agreement

According to Nebraska landlord tenant law, your lease agreement CANNOT:

  • make the landlord or tenant give up any legal rights or remedies under the Landlord and Tenant Act [NE 74-1415.(1)(a)]
  • permit the landlord or tenant to get a confession of judgment against the other party (on a claim arising out of the rental agreement) [NE 74-1415.(1)(b)]
  • make the landlord or tenant pay for the other party's attorney fees (unless ordered by the courts) [NE 74-1415.(1)(c)]
  • limit the landlord or tenant's liability when they have failed in their duties [NE 74-1415.(1)(d)]
  • allow the landlord to seize the tenant's personal belongings (to pay for rent or other fees owed) [NE 74-1415.(1)(d)]

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Security Deposit

The landlord can ask for up to one month's rent as security deposit. [NE 76-1416.(1)]
   
If the tenant keeps a pet (that is not a *service animal), the landlord can ask for an additional pet deposit. The maximum amount for this pet deposit is 1/4 of one month's rent and it can only be deducted for pet-related damages. *A service animal is an animal (usually a dog) that is trained to assist disabled people.

There are no Nebraska landlord tenant laws on security deposit holding methods and security deposit interest.

Deductions and Returns

Nebraska landlord tenant law requires the landlord to inform the tenant of the terms and conditions for security deposit deductions.
  
Valid reasons for security deposit deductions (under Nebraska landlord tenant law) include:

  • Rent owed
  • Property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by tenant, occupants or tenant's guests
  • Costs and losses incurred by landlord due to the tenant failing in his or her duties [NE 76-1421] - See Tenant Duties and Responsibilities below

The landlord is NOT allowed to take money from the security deposit due to damage from *normal wear and tear. *Normal wear and tear is the natural deterioration of the property (and its contents) from normal everyday use.

Once the lease terminates and the tenant returns the property, the landlord must send the tenant a list of security deposit deductions and refund any remaining deposit within 14 days. This list has to individually account for all damages and rent owed in writing. [NE 76-1416.(2)]
   
If the landlord fails to follow Nebraska landlord tenant law for returning security deposits, the tenant may recover all money due and attorney fees. [NE 76-1416.(3)]

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Omaha, Nebraska NE

Nebraska Landlord Tenant Law

Rent

The tenant has to pay the rent without demand or reminders. As long as the landlord and tenant are agreeable, they can choose the time, place and method of rent payment. [NE 76-1414.(3)]
   
By default, rent is payable once the tenancy begins and shall be paid on the same day at the start of every term of one month or less. Rent is to be collected at the rental property.

Late Rent

There are no specific Nebraska landlord tenant statutes on imposing charges for late rent payments. If the landlord wants to impose late rent charges, it must be specified in the lease agreement.

The penalty for a bounced check is $10 plus any handling fees paid by the landlord (to the financial institution). [NE 28-611.(5)]

Raising Rent

There are no specific Nebraska landlord tenant statutes on raising rent.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • When can the landlord raise the rent?
  • How many days notice does the landlord have to give before raising the rent?
  • How many days notice does the tenant have to give if he or she is moving out due to the rent increase?
  • Maximum amount or percentage of rent increase (optional)

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Property Maintenance

Landlord Duties and Responsibilities

The Nebraska Landlord Tenant Act requires the landlord to maintain the property in a safe and habitable condition [NE 76-1419]:

  • Compliance: Obey all building and housing codes that affect health and safety
  • Repairs: Make all repairs to keep the property safe and habitable
  • Common Areas: Keep all common areas clean and safe
  • Maintenance: Maintain all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, kitchen facilities in safe working condition
  • Waste Disposal: Provide outlets for waste disposal and arrange for waste removal
  • Heating: Supply running water, hot water and heating (as far as conditions allow)

For a single family residence, the tenant may take over the landlord's duties for waste disposal, heating, repairs and maintenance if ALL of the following conditions are met [NE 76-1419.(2)]:

  • Both the landlord and tenant have agreed and signed a separate written agreement for it
  • The agreement states what repair and maintenance works the tenant is responsible for
  • The tenant is compensated for taking over additional duties

Tenant Duties and Responsibilities

Nebraska landlord tenant law also requires the tenant to keep the property in a clean and safe condition [NE 76-1421]:

  • Compliance: Obey all building and housing codes that affect health and safety
  • Cleanliness: Keep the property clean and safe (as far as conditions will allow)
  • Waste Disposal: Dispose all waste from the property in a clean and safe manner
  • Plumbing: Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit clean (as far as conditions will allow)
  • Proper Usage: Use all facilities and appliances properly. This includes all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, kitchen and common area facilities
  • Property Damage: Avoid property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by the tenant, occupants or tenant's guests
  • Neighbors: Avoid disturbing neighbors and also disallow others from disturbing neighbors
  • Regulations: Obey all condominium, cooperative housing and neighborhood association rules (that do not conflict with the landlord's rights or duties)

If Landlord Fails to Maintain Property

If the landlord fails to maintain the property (and it affects the tenant's health and safety) OR severely violates the rental agreement, the tenant can give the landlord a written notice stating the problem and giving the landlord 14 days to correct it. [NE 76-1425.(1)]

If the problem is corrected within 14 days (of the landlord receiving this notice), the tenancy shall continue. If the problem isn't corrected within 14 days, the tenancy shall terminate in 30 days and the tenant can move out.

However if the landlord violates the tenancy agreement in a similar manner within six months, the tenant can send the landlord a 14 day written notice stating the landlord's violation and lease termination date. In this case, the tenancy will have to terminate.

In addition, the tenant can sue the landlord for direct damages and obtain a court order (that requires the landlord to do, or stop doing something). If the landlord's violations are deliberate, the tenant may also recover attorney fees and consequential damages. [NE 76-1425.(2)]

If Landlord Fails to Provide Essential Services

If the landlord fails to provide an essential service (such as heat, water, electricity, plumbing or sanitation), the tenant has three choices [NE 76-1427]:

1. The tenant can pay the bills and deduct the cost from rent

The tenant has to inform the landlord in writing that he or she intends to pay the utility bill(s) and deduct the cost from the rent. The tenant should keep the receipts for all related costs. If the landlord did not supply essential services on purpose, the tenant can also recover up to one month's rent plus attorney fees.

2. The tenant can sue the landlord for damages

The tenant can recover damages based on how much the rental value of the property has fallen.

3. The tenant can move to substitute housing for the time being

The tenant can give the landlord written notice that he or she is moving into substitute housing. The tenant doesn't have to pay rent until the problem is fixed. If the landlord did not supply essential services on purpose, the tenant can also recover up to one month's rent plus attorney fees.

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Property Access

When Tenant's Permission is Required

According to Nebraska landlord tenant law, the landlord is only allowed to enter the property for the following reasons [NE 76-1423.(1)]:

  • Performing property maintenance or repairs
  • Supplying essential (or mutually agreed) services and utilities
  • Inspecting for damages
  • Showing the property to prospective buyers, tenants or contractors

In the above situations, the landlord must inform the tenant at least 24 hours in advance before entering the property. The landlord can only enter the property with the tenant's consent and during reasonable hours. [NE 76-1423.(3)]

When Tenant's Permission is NOT Required

According to Nebraska landlord tenant law, the landlord may enter the property without permission in the following situations:

  • Emergencies such as smoke, fire, flooding or explosion [NE 76-1423.(3)]
  • Tenant has been away from the property for more than seven days without notice [NE 76-1432.(2)]
  • Tenant has abandoned the property [NE 76.1432.(3)]

If Tenant Refuses Landlord's Valid Request to Enter Property

The tenant cannot deny access if the landlord has a valid reason to enter the property. [NE 76-1438.(1)] Otherwise the landlord can EITHER

  1. obtain a court order that requires the tenant to let the landlord in OR
  2. terminate the lease agreement by giving the tenant a written notice

In addition, the landlord can also sue the tenant for actual damages plus attorney fees.

If Landlord Enters Property Illegally

The landlord must have a valid reason and obtain the tenant's permission (whenever required) to enter the property. [NE 76-1438.(2)] If the landlord fails to do so or harasses the tenant, the tenant can EITHER

  1. obtain a court order that stops the landlord from entering the property illegally or harassing the tenant OR
  2. terminate the lease agreement by giving the tenant a written notice

In addition, the tenant can also sue the landlord for one month's rent plus attorney fees.

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Subletting

There are no specific Nebraska landlord tenant laws on subletting.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • Is the tenant allowed to sublet the property? If yes, is the landlord's written consent required before the tenant can sublet?
  • Is the landlord allowed to screen and reject every prospective subtenant?
  • Can the landlord ask for additional rent and security deposit if the tenant sublets?

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Lincoln, Nebraska NE

Lincoln, Nebraska NE

Termination of Tenancy

Number of Days for Notice to Quit

Before terminating a tenancy, Nebraska landlord tenant law requires you to give the other party a written notice to quit in advance [NE 76-1437]:

Week to week tenancy

7 days

Month to month tenancy

30 days

TENANT

If you are the tenant, the following are the minimum number of days for giving your landlord a notice to quit:

Landlord failed to maintain property

30 days

Landlord violated tenancy agreement or didn't perform duties

30 days

Property damage due to fire, disaster or unavoidable accident

Immediate

Property Damage Due to Fire, Disaster or Unavoidable Accident

If the property is badly damaged by fire, disasters or unavoidable accidents, the tenant can immediately move out and stop paying rent. The tenant must inform the landlord that he or she intends to terminate the tenancy within 14 days of moving out. The tenancy shall terminate once the tenant moves out. [NE 76-1429]

After the tenant moves out, the landlord must return the security deposit (after any deductions) to the tenant. The tenant won't have to pay rent starting from the date of the fire or natural disaster, so the landlord must also return any prepaid rent to the tenant.

If only part of the property is damaged, the tenant should move out of the damaged area. The rent amount will be lowered based on how much of the property is still livable.

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Eviction

According to Nebraska landlord tenant law, the landlord may evict the tenant from the property for the following reasons:

Tenant violated tenancy agreement or didn't perform duties

30 days

Tenant did not pay rent

3 days

Tenant or related person engaged in prohibited activities on property

5 days

Tenant Violated Tenancy Agreement or Didn't Perform Duties

If the tenant violates the tenancy agreement in a *significant manner, the landlord can send the tenant a 30 day written notice to terminate the tenancy. *Significant manner refers to situations that affects human health and safety. [NE 76-1431.(1)]

This written notice has to state what is the tenant's violation or failure in duty. If the tenant corrects the problem within 14 days, the tenant may stay.

However if the tenant violates the tenancy agreement (or fails in his or her duty) in a similar manner within six months, the landlord can evict the tenant by sending him or her a written 14 day notice. In this case, the tenant must move out.

In addition, the landlord can sue the tenant for damages and obtain a court order (that requires the tenant to do, or stop doing something). If the tenant's violations are deliberate, the landlord may also recover attorney fees. [NE 76-1431.(3)]

Tenant Did Not Pay Rent

If the tenant did not pay rent on time, the landlord can send the tenant a three day written notice to terminate the tenancy. This notice must state the amount of rent owed and inform the tenant that he or she can choose to pay or move out. [NE 76-1431.(2)]

If the rent is paid within three days, the tenant may stay.

Tenant or Related Person Engaged in Prohibited Activities on Property

If the tenant (or tenant's occupant or tenant's guest) engaged in prohibited activity on the property, the landlord can evict the tenant by sending the tenant a written five day notice to quit. In this case, the tenant must move out. [NE 76-1431.(4)]

Examples of prohibited activities include:

  • Violent threats or acts
  • Illegal use or threat of firearms or other weapons
  • Illegal possession of controlled substances
  • Activity that endangers the health or safety of any person
  • Activity that threatens or causes property damage

Unlawful Eviction

According to Nebraska landlord tenant law, the landlord CANNOT force the tenant to move out by shutting off utilities (electricity, water, gas, sanitation), changing the locks, taking the tenant's belongings or taking possession of the property by force without a court hearing. [NE 76-1430]
   
If the landlord forces the tenant to move out with (the unlawful methods above) or shuts off utilities, the tenant can EITHER

  1. regain possession of the property OR
  2. terminate the tenancy agreement

If the tenant chooses to terminate the tenancy agreement, the landlord will have to return all prepaid rents and security deposit (after deductions) to him or her.

In addition, the tenant may also sue the landlord for three month's rent and attorney fees.

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Abandonment

When is it Abandonment?

According to Nebraska landlord tenant law, the tenant has abandoned the property when he or she was absent from the property for a full rental period or 30 days (whichever is shorter) AND did not inform the landlord that he or she will be away. [NE 76.1432.(3)]
   
Once the property is abandoned, the landlord may immediately enter it, clean it, and re-rent it.
   
As long as the landlord makes a proper effort to re-rent the property at a fair rate, the abandoning tenant will be responsible for paying rent until the tenancy ends. If a new tenant is moving in before the tenancy ends, then the abandoning tenant can stop paying rent once the new tenant moves in.

Dealing with Abandoned Belongings

If the tenant's personal belongings remain on the property after the lease has expired or the tenant has abandoned the property, the landlord has to deliver the tenant a written notice to the tenant's last known address. [NE 69-2303]

This written notice has to:

  1. Describe the belongings that were left behind
  2. State that the tenant may have to pay storage costs
  3. Give a *deadline for tenant to recover the belongings

*The deadline shall depend on how this notice is delivered: If the landlord delivers this notice in person, the landlord has to give the tenant at least 7 days to recover the belongings. If the landlord sent this notice by first class mail, the landlord has to give the tenant at least 14 days to collect them.

In addition, this written notice has to contain ONE of the following statements [NE 69-2304]:

  1. “If you fail to reclaim the property, it will be sold at a public sale after notice of the sale has been given by publication. You have the right to bid on the property at this sale. After the property is sold and the costs of storage, advertising, and sale are deducted, the remaining money will be turned over to the State Treasurer pursuant to the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act. You may claim the remaining money from the office of the State Treasurer as provided in such act.”
  2. “Because this property is believed to be worth less than two thousand dollars, it may be kept, sold, or destroyed without further notice if you fail to reclaim it within the time indicated in this notice.”

According to the Disposition of Personal Property Landlord and Tenant Act, the landlord can leave the belongings on the property or move them to another place for safekeeping. While the landlord has to make a reasonable effort to store the abandoned belongings, the landlord isn't responsible for any damage or losses... unless it's due to the landlord's abuse or neglect. [NE 69-2306]

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Resources

Nebraska Landlord Tenant Law: Nebraska Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act

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