Is Nebraska the next potential spot for a rental property investment? Before investing anywhere, it’s important that you know the relevant real estate laws that will influence the actions you can legally take as a landlord. Below are some of the laws you should know before investing in your next Nebraska rental property.
Rent and Fees
In some states, real estate laws dictate how much landlords can charge for late fees, grace periods, or other charges. In Nebraska, there are not many specified laws regarding these issues, so landlords can often use their best judgment when deciding what to charge. For instance, there is no rental application fee maximum, no statewide rent control, no limit on late fees, and no mandatory grace period in Nebraska.
If a tenant’s rent check bounces, the landlord is limited to charging a $10 fee to cover any fees implemented by the banking institution.
Tenants also have remedies under Nebraska law. If a landlord fails to provide or maintain essential services like hot water, electricity, or plumbing, the tenant can give notice to their landlord and either recover damages, find alternative housing, or get reasonable amounts for the neglected service and deduct that cost from their rent payment.
Collecting and organizing security deposits are an important part of being a landlord.
The security deposit limit in Nebraska is one month’s rent, and pet deposits cannot exceed one fourth of the tenant’s monthly rent. Landlords are not required to pay interest on security deposits, nor are they required to keep them in a separate bank account. Landlords must return the remainder of their tenants’ deposits within 14 days after the lease ends, and they must provide an itemized list of all deductions.
Nebraska renting laws require landlords to share information with their tenants regarding important details of their future home. For instance, landlords in Nebraska must provide in writing the name and address of anyone authorized to receive notices and manage the premises. Additionally, it’s crucial that tenants are aware of any known lead hazards in their unit if it was built before 1978, and it is a federal requirement that the landlord includes a notice in every lease agreement regarding such hazards. Landlords must also distribute an EPA-approved pamphlet entitled “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home”. If you have any questions, refer to Section 1018 of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992.
If you rent properties, it’s inevitable that you will need to remove a bad tenant at some point or another. However, the eviction process varies considerably by state, so be sure to carefully read your state’s statutes on eviction to be sure you’re compliant with the rules of court procedure.
In Nebraska, if a tenant doesn’t pay rent on time, it is within the landlord’s right to issue a rent demand notice and allow the tenant seven days to either pay their rent or leave the property. If the tenant does neither, the landlord can begin the evictions process.
For a lease agreement violation, tenants have 30 days to or quit the property. If the tenant does not attempt to cure the violation within the first 14 days, they have the remaining 16 days to make alternative accommodations and vacate the unit. Nebraska landlord tenant laws specify that for repeat violations (a second noncompliance within six months), the landlord can terminate the rental agreement after issuing a 14-day quit notice. The landlord does not have to offer a chance for the tenant to cure their second violation.
Lastly, according to Nebraska eviction laws, if the tenant engages in serious and violent criminal activity on the premises, the landlord can send them an unconditional notice to quit providing five days to leave before the landlord can evict them. Common behaviors that warrant this kind of eviction include distributing a controlled substance or threatening the health and safety of other tenants.
The above information should be a good starting point for your future independent research into Nebraska landlord-tenant laws. Landlords can find themselves in legal trouble if they don’t adhere to these rules and regulations, so if you are at all confused or unclear about them, be sure to consult another trusted landlord or an attorney to answer any questions you may have.