The Complete Guide on Landlord Tenant Laws - Nebraska 
Like in other states, Nebraska has a set of state and local rental laws that landlords and tenants must navigate. These landlord-tenant laws, as they’re called, directly impact their rights, responsibilities, and interactions. Comprehending these statutes can be both daunting and overwhelming, even for the most experienced rental owners and tenants.
To help landlords and tenants overcome this challenge, we have compiled this complete guide, covering everything from tenant screening and security deposit regulations to evictions and lease agreements. Landlords and tenants will walk away with a solid grasp of The Cornhusker state’s rental laws as outlined in the Residential Landlord Tenant Act.
Landlords will discover how to protect their rental properties or fully-fledged rental businesses, as well as foster healthy relationships with tenants. Renters will learn how to assert their fundamental rights while residing in a rental home.
Let’s jump in!
Nebraska landlord tenant law fast facts
- Is a rental license required to be a residential landlord? No
- Are there any security deposit requirements? Yes
- Is there rent control? No, but the state does not prohibit cities and towns from creating their own
- Are there limits on late fees? No
- Are there rent payment grace period laws? No
- Are there notice of entry laws? Yes
Nebraska landlord responsibilities & rights
Nebraska state law grants landlords rights to oversee their rental properties while protecting them from potential legal issues. Some of the fundamental rights include:
- Collecting on-time rent payments
- Charging a security deposit at the start of the lease to cover unexpected costs like damage beyond normal wear and tear
- Formally evicting a tenant in the case of a lease violation
Rental property owners in Nebraska also bear a set of duties they must uphold to ensure a smooth and safe tenancy for renters. Their main obligations are as follows:
- Providing renters with a safe rental unit that complies with building and housing codes
- Making repairs within 14 days of receiving written notice from tenants
- Returning tenants' security deposits within 14 days of the end of the lease term
Nebraska tenant rights & responsibilities
Nebraska state law also grants tenants fundamental rights that serve to safeguard their well-being and safety through their tenancy. Some of those key rights include:
- Living in a habitable rental that meets local health and safety codes
- Having repairs made in 14 days after providing the landlord with written notice of the issue
- If the landlord fails to make repairs in a timely manner or return the security deposit on time, taking legal action like suing the landlord
Nebraska renters also have a set of duties they must uphold while renting to maintain the property and ensure a positive landlord-tenant relationship. They must:
- Pay rent on time
- Keep plumbing fixtures clean and remove garbage
- Make small repairs when necessary
- Not disturbing other renters or neighbors
- Not purposefully destroy or damage any part of the rental property
Nebraska landlord tenant law through the rental cycle
Nebraska tenant screening and rental application laws
Nebraska does not have very many statutes governing the rental application and tenant screening process. For example, the state doesn’t limit how much a landlord can charge for a rental application fee and fees are non-refundable. However, landlords should not charge more than whats reasonable to cover the cost of screening tenants.
Landlords are allowed to run background checks such as credit reports, criminal history, and eviction history, but to do so, they must first obtain the prospective tenant’s signed consent. Additionally, landlords in Montana are bound by the federal Fair Housing Act and cannot ask any questions regarding protected characteristics and must be consistent in their screening practices to avoid possible discrimination.
Nebraska lease agreement laws
In Nebraska, both oral and written lease agreements are legally valid. However, written lease agreements are always advised, as they provide protection for landlords and tenants in the event of a dispute.
While Missouri doesn’t require specific clauses to be included in lease agreements, other than mandatory disclosures, there is certain information that should always be included in a lease. For example, lease agreements should include the landlord and tenant’s names, rent amount and due date, and security deposit terms.
Nebraska security deposit laws
Similar to other states, Nebraska allows landlords to charge a security deposit at the start of the lease to cover unexpected costs like property damage exceeding normal wear and tear. Landlords cannot charge more than the equivalent of one month’s rent for the deposit.
Additional Nebraska security deposit regulations to note:
- Landlords do not have to provide a receipt for security deposits.
- Landlords are not required to pay interest on security deposits.
- Security deposits do not have to be held in a separate bank account.
At the end of a lease, Nebraska landlords have 14 days to return the tenant’s security deposit. Allowable deductions include damage excluding normal wear and tear, cleaning costs, costs due to a breach of the rental agreement, and unpaid rent, late fees, and utility bills.
If the landlord fails to comply with the notice period or wrongfully withholds funds, the tenant can sue for one month’s rent or twice the amount of the deposit, whichever is less, plus court costs and lawyer fees.
Nebraska rent laws
Nebraska state does not have rent control laws but does allow its cities and towns to create their own rent control laws. In areas without rent control, landlords can charge any amount of rent and increase rent as often as they like. However, landlords cannot increase rent during the lease term unless the lease agreement allows for it.
To increase rent, landlords must provide a certain notice period. Week-to-week leases require a 7 days’ notice and month-to-month leases require a 30 days’ notice. Mobile home tenants must be given at least 60 days’ notice.
If tenants fail to pay rent on time, landlords can immediately charge a late fee of any amount, as Montana doesn’t have grace period laws. There is no limit on how much a landlord can charge for a late fee, but the fee must be reasonable.
Nebraska repair and maintenance laws
Nebraska residential landlords must provide rental units that are in safe and habitable condition. This includes making repairs within 14 days of receiving written notice from tenants.
A landlord’s failure to make repairs within 14 days can result in punitive measures including the tenant suing for costs, filing a court order to force the landlord to make repairs, and in severe cases, canceling the rental agreement altogether. Nebraska does not allow tenants to use the “repair and deduct” remedy, where they withhold rent to make repairs themselves.
Nebraska notice of entry laws
In Nebraska, landlords have the right to enter rentals for reasons such as maintenance, inspections, and property showings. Unless for an emergency, they are required by law to provide at least 24 hours’ advanced notice before entering the property. Tenants can sue to recover a minimum of one month’s rent if the landlord enters illegally.
Nebraska eviction and lease termination laws
Nebraska’s landlord-tenant laws permit landlords to evict tenants for specific legal reasons. Each of those reasons requires a certain notice period before the landlord can move forward with the eviction process. Here are the legal reasons and accompanying notice periods:
- Unpaid rent: If a tenant doesn’t pay rent on time, the landlord may issue a written 7-day notice to pay. If the tenant still fails to pay, the landlord can continue the eviction procedure.
- Lease violation: If the tenant violates the lease agreement, the landlord can issue a 30-day notice to comply. However, the tenant must correct the issue within a 14-day period.
- Illegal acts: If the tenant commits an illegal activity in or on the property, the landlord can issue a 5-day notice to quit. If the tenant doesn’t leave, the landlord can continue with the eviction.
- No lease/end of lease: If tenants stay past the end of the tenancy, the landlord must provide them with a notice to quit. The length of the lease determines the notice period. Week-to-week leases must provide a 7-day notice to quit and month-to-month leases must provide a 30-day notice to quit.
Nebraska tenants can also terminate lease agreements for the following reasons:
- Active military duty
- Early termination clause
- Uninhabitable unit
- Landlord harassment
Renters who break their lease early could still be responsible for paying the remaining rent owed. However, Nebraska does require landlords to make an effort to re-rent the unit.
Additional Nebraska landlord tenant laws
In addition to covering rental issues like evictions and repairs, Nebraska state law also addresses topics like landlord retaliation and mandatory disclosures. Explore some of those statutes and regulations below.
Only federal laws protect Nebraska tenants from housing discrimination. Under the federal Fair Housing Act, landlords are prohibited from discriminating against potential renters based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability.
If a landlord violates these laws, tenants can seek legal help and file a complaint with the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission.
It’s illegal for Nebraska rental owners to retaliate against tenants for taking certain actions like reporting the landlord to government authorities for health and safety violations. Raised rent, reduced services like major utilities, and threatened eviction are all considered forms of retaliation.
Nebraska residential landlords must provide tenants with several disclosures at the beginning of the lease period. The disclosures include:
- Lead-based paint: Landlords with dwelling units built before 1978 must provide information about lead paint concentrations in the building.
- Authorized agent: Landlords must provide the names and addresses of all parties involved in owning and managing the property.
Final word: Understanding Nebraska’s landlord tenant laws
Nebraska's rental laws exist to establish clear rights and responsibilities for both landlords and tenants. These laws not only create a fair and balanced rental process but also foster positive relationships between property owners and renters.
By becoming familiar with and adhering to these regulations, Nebraska landlords can effectively safeguard their real estate investments and manage their rental operations. Simultaneously, tenants gain the knowledge needed to assert their rights and ensure their well-being while renting.
Bottom line, it's essential for both property owners and tenants in Nebraska to do their due diligence in staying informed about the state's evolving landlord-tenant laws. These laws can change over time, shaping the rental landscape in the state and affecting the rental process.
Nebraska landlord tenant law FAQ
Is Nebraska a landlord-friendly state?
Nebraska is considered to be a moderately landlord-friendly state. This is evident in its ranking as the 24th most landlord-friendly state. The state doesn’t have rent control or any limits on late fees. Additionally, landlords are allowed to deduct from security deposits for unpaid rent and utilities. However, the state’s high property taxes can be disadvantageous for landlords.
What is the limit a landlord or tenant can sue for in Nebraska Small Claims Court?
Nebraska’s Small Claims Court handles disputes involving small amounts of money in a simplified, expedited manner. In Nebraska, Small Claims Court will only hear rental cases for up to $3,900. Beyond this amount, tenants should seek out legal services. The process takes approximately one to two months.
What is the Disposition of Personal Property Landlord and Tenant Act?
The Disposition of Personal Property Landlord and Tenant Act is a set of laws in Nebraska that governs how landlords must handle personal items left behind by renters. In general, the act requires landlords to provide notice to tenants before disposing of any personal property left behind after the end of the lease.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials are for general informational purposes only. This content may not constitute the most up-to-date legal information. No reader, user, or browser of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information herein without first seeking the advice of a legal professional.