Nevada Security Deposit Laws in 2024

Nevada Security Deposit Laws Overview

Nevada has specific statutes that govern how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit, when it must be returned, allowable deductions, and disputes. This helps protect tenant rights and prevent abuses. 

The Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) set the maximum security deposit amount a landlord can charge. For an unfurnished dwelling, the deposit cannot exceed an amount equal to 3 months' rent. For a furnished dwelling, the limit is up to 1.5 times the monthly rent.

Landlords cannot require tenants to pay both a security deposit and the last month's rent upfront. The total of the security deposit plus any prepaid rent cannot exceed 3 months' rent for an unfurnished unit or 1.5 times the monthly rent for a furnished unit.

These limits apply per dwelling unit. So if a tenant is renting an entire house, the deposit limit would apply to the whole house, not per bedroom.

The security deposit laws protect renters from excessive fees. Knowing the legal limits can help tenants avoid getting overcharged when signing a lease.

When Security Deposits Must Be Returned

In Nevada, landlords have 30 days after a tenant moves out to return the security deposit along with an itemized statement of deductions. This applies to all residential rental units, including apartments, houses, condos, and mobile homes.

The 30 day timeline begins once the tenant has fully vacated the unit and returned the keys to the landlord. Tenants should provide their forwarding address in writing to ensure the landlord knows where to send the deposit refund. 

If a landlord fails to return the deposit or provide a statement within 30 days, the tenant has the right to sue for up to 2 times the amount wrongfully withheld. The landlord may also face penalties of up to $1,000 if they acted in bad faith by not returning the deposit in a timely manner without reasonable justification.

Some exceptions apply, such as allowing additional time if the tenant left damages that required extensive repairs exceeding the deposit amount. But in most standard cases, Nevada law requires the full deposit be returned or accounted for within 30 days after move out.

Allowable Security Deposit Deductions

Nevada law allows landlords to deduct from a tenant's security deposit for the following reasons:

  • Unpaid rent or utilities - If a tenant moves out owing rent or utility bills, the landlord can deduct these costs from the deposit. 
  • Cleaning fees - If a tenant leaves the unit significantly dirtier than when they moved in, requiring professional cleaning, the landlord can charge cleaning fees.
  • Damage repairs - Landlords can deduct the reasonable cost to repair any damages beyond normal wear and tear, such as holes in walls, broken appliances, or damaged flooring.
  • Rekeying fees - If a tenant fails to return all keys, the landlord can charge the cost to rekey the locks for security. 
  • Removal and storage of abandoned property - If a tenant leaves belongings behind, the landlord can deduct costs to remove and store the property for a period of time.
  • Late fees and returned check fees - Outstanding late rent fees and bounced check fees can also be deducted.
  • Termination fees - If the tenant breaks the lease early, the landlord can charge fees per the lease terms.
  • Court costs - The landlord can deduct any court costs incurred in evicting a tenant or collecting unpaid rent.

The landlord must have proper documentation such as invoices or repair estimates to justify these deductions. Normal wear and tear cannot be deducted.

Normal Wear vs. Damages

Normal wear and tear is defined as the expected decline in the condition of a rental property over the course of a tenancy. Minor issues like lightly worn carpets, faded paint or wall scuffs, and light scratches on appliances are considered normal wear and tear in Nevada.

Damages refer to excessive deterioration or destruction that occurs due to a tenant's misuse, negligence, or intentional actions. This includes large stains on carpets, broken fixtures, holes in walls, damaged appliances, and any alterations made without the landlord's consent.

The distinction between normal wear versus damages is important when determining security deposit deductions. Landlords can only deduct costs to repair damages, not normal wear and tear. 

Some examples of normal wear in Nevada rentals:

  • Light scuff marks or small nail holes in walls that can be easily patched
  • Faded paint or minor scratches on floors from normal use
  • Worn carpet traffic patterns or minor permanent stains
  • Chipped kitchen tiles near the sink from regular use
  • Loose cabinet handles or sticky drawers 

Some examples of tenant damages:

  • Large holes in walls or broken fixtures due to negligent handling
  • Major carpet stains from spills or pets
  • Cracked tiles or torn flooring from improper use
  • Missing or damaged appliances
  • Smoke or odor damage from smoking indoors
  • Unauthorized changes like painting or removing fixtures

Overall, minor aesthetic issues that occur naturally over time are normal wear and tear. Excessive damage requiring repairs or full replacement is considered tenant damages in Nevada.

Disputing Security Deposit Deductions

If a tenant disagrees with any deductions taken from their security deposit, they have the right to dispute them under Nevada law. Here are the options available to tenants:

Send a letter contesting the deductions

The tenant should review the security deposit disposition and write a formal letter to the landlord explaining any deductions they believe were unfair or excessive. This gives the landlord a chance to reconsider the charges. The letter should be sent via certified mail with return receipt requested so there is proof it was received.

Request documentation

The tenant can request to see the landlord's documentation, such as receipts and invoices, for any deductions they are disputing. Nevada law requires landlords to provide documentation if requested by the tenant.

File in small claims court

If the landlord does not return the disputed amount after receiving the tenant's letter, the next step is to file a case in small claims court. The maximum that can be recovered in small claims court in Nevada is $10,000. The tenant will have to gather evidence and make their case before a judge. 

Contact a tenants rights group

Organizations like Nevada Legal Services may be able to provide advice and assistance with disputing deposit deductions for free or low cost. They can review the case and help the tenant understand their options.

Hire an attorney

Tenants can choose to have an attorney send a demand letter on their behalf or represent them in small claims court. This will increase the chances of recovering the disputed deposit money but comes with legal fees.

The key is for tenants to act promptly in disputing unfair security deposit deductions and be able to back up their claims with evidence if it goes to court. With the proper documentation, tenants stand a good chance of recovering their money under Nevada law.

Transferring Deposits to New Owners

When a rental property in Nevada is sold or transferred to a new owner, there are rules regarding the tenant's security deposit that must be followed. 

According to [Nevada law](, the new owner is responsible for the deposit, and the previous owner must transfer the full deposit to them. This applies even if the tenant has not yet moved out when the property changes hands.

The previous owner must provide written notice to the tenant indicating that the deposit has been transferred to the new owner. This notice should include the new owner's name, address, and contact information. 

Within 10 days of the property sale or transfer being finalized, the previous owner must turn over the full security deposit amount to the new owner. They cannot deduct any fees or make any claims on the deposit during this transfer process.

If the previous owner fails to properly transmit the full deposit to the new owner, they can be held liable for damages up to twice the amount of the deposit, as well as court costs and attorney fees.

Tenants' rights regarding return of their security deposit remain the same, regardless of the property changing owners. The new landlord inherits responsibility for the deposit and must handle any deductions, disputes, and return of deposit per Nevada law.

Sale or transfer of the property does not change tenants' rights or remove the legal obligations on security deposits that bind all Nevada landlords. Following the rules on deposit transfer ensures a smooth transition when rental properties change hands.

Charges for Carpet, Painting, etc.

In Nevada, landlords are allowed to deduct from the security deposit for any damages beyond normal wear and tear. However, they cannot charge for regular maintenance and upkeep that is expected over time.

Carpet Replacement

Landlords often want to replace carpet and deduct the cost from the deposit after a tenant moves out. However, carpets do degrade over time with normal use. In Nevada, landlords can only charge for carpet replacement if the carpet was new when the tenant moved in and is now damaged beyond normal wear and tear. Small rips, stains, or matting down of the carpet from regular use is not grounds for full replacement.

Painting Charges 

Landlords cannot deduct painting costs from the security deposit unless there is abnormal damage to the walls. Small nail holes from hanging pictures are considered normal wear and tear. Some chipping or scuffing can also be expected. However, large holes in drywall or excessive paint damage could allow a landlord to deduct reasonable painting costs.

Other Repairs

For other repairs like appliances, plumbing fixtures, and more - landlords can only deduct costs if the damages are due to the tenant's actions and exceed normal wear and tear. They cannot use the security deposit for general maintenance and upgrades.

Using the Deposit for Rent 

In Nevada, a landlord cannot use a tenant's security deposit to cover unpaid rent unless the lease agreement specifically authorizes it. The law prohibits landlords from simply keeping the deposit if the tenant fails to pay rent.

However, if the lease agreement states the deposit can be applied to rent arrears in the event of a default, then the landlord may use it for this purpose after giving proper notice. The landlord must provide an itemized statement showing the remaining deposit balance after deducting for unpaid rent.

Without a clause allowing it in the lease, the security deposit remains separate from rent owed. The landlord cannot take deductions from the deposit to cover unpaid rent, even if the tenant moves out owing back rent. The deposit must still be returned, minus any damages, while unpaid rent remains a debt that must be collected separately.

Tenants should check their lease to see if it contains a provision allowing the deposit to pay unpaid rent. If so, staying current on rent is especially critical, since falling behind could result in loss of the full deposit.

Some landlords try to illegally use the security deposit to cover unpaid rent even without authorization. Tenants should object in writing and consult a lawyer if the landlord deducts rent from the deposit without consent in the lease.

Move-Out Inspections

Nevada law requires landlords to perform a move-out inspection after a tenant vacates a rental unit. The purpose of this inspection is to assess the condition of the property and determine if there are any damages beyond normal wear and tear. 

Landlords must inform tenants in writing of their right to be present during the move-out inspection. This written notice must be delivered to the tenant no later than 3 days before the inspection is scheduled.

If the tenant cannot be present on the scheduled date, they may request an alternate inspection date up to 3 days after the originally scheduled inspection. The landlord must try to accommodate reasonable date requests.

During the inspection, the landlord must provide the tenant with a comprehensive list of any damages found. Both parties should document the inspection with photographs and/or video if possible. 

Tenants have the right to complete their own inspection within 24 hours after the landlord's inspection. This allows them the opportunity to dispute any damages claimed by the landlord.

If deductions are taken from the security deposit based on the move-out inspection, the landlord must provide the tenant with an itemized statement of deductions along with the refund. Nevada law does not allow non-itemized deductions.

It is crucial that both landlords and tenants take the move-out inspection seriously. This process lays the foundation for any potential security deposit disputes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the security deposit laws in Nevada?

Nevada law limits security deposits to an amount equal to 1 month's rent if the tenancy is 6 months or less, and up to 2 months' rent for tenancies over 6 months. Landlords must keep security deposits in a separate bank account and cannot comingle deposits with their own funds. Deposits must be returned within 30 days after the tenant moves out.

What is considered normal wear and tear in Nevada?

Normal wear and tear refers to the expected decline in condition that occurs naturally over time even with reasonable care and maintenance. This includes minor scratches, worn carpeting, faded paint/wallpaper, and light dirt. Landlords cannot deduct for normal wear and tear when returning a security deposit.

How long does a landlord have to return a deposit in Las Vegas?

In Las Vegas and across Nevada, landlords have 30 calendar days after the tenant moves out to return the security deposit with an itemized statement of any deductions. If the landlord fails to do this within 30 days, the tenant can sue to recover the full deposit amount.

How do I dispute a security deposit deduction in Nevada? 

If a tenant disagrees with the landlord's security deposit deductions, they should send a letter within 7 days explaining why they dispute the charges. The tenant can then file a claim in small claims court if the dispute is not resolved. It's recommended to take photos and videos when moving out to help dispute improper deductions.

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