The Few Options That Exist for a Tenant Who Owes a Late Rent Payment

Nevada is considered by many to be a “landlord friendly” state with less protections for tenants than nearby states, such as California. Therefore, it is always best for tenants to stay on good terms with their landlords, follow all  the lease terms, and pay rent in a timely manner.

 

Sometimes you will have a late rent payment even with the best of intentions

But, it is not uncommon for a tenant to face financial difficulties at one time or another and have a late rent payment due at the beginning of any given month. If that happens, a tenant is somewhat at the mercy of their landlord, unfortunately.

If you can persude your landlord to agree to an extension, that will be the best option. That way, the landlord and the tenant can agree for the late rent to be paid at a time when the tenant will have the money available. A tenant may request that any late fees be waived, and the landlord is free to oblige as a courtesy. It is always best to get the extension and waiver in writing so both parties are bound.

Given that it is so hard, time consuming, and expensive for a landlord to find a reliable and trustworthy tenant, a landlord will likely be sympathetic to the situation and grant an extension. If you are a troublesome tenant who is often late, the landlord does not have to grant any extensions. Also, any late fees required by the lease become part of the rent owed.

A tenant should never write a check that s/he knows will bounce. Not only is that possibly a violation of the lease, but it will cause additional fees to be incurred. Importantly, a person can even be charged with a crime for writing a bad check1)This is a serious crime in Nevada, please do not do this. The law presumes a person who writes a check with non-sufficient funds in their accounts knows that the check will bounce, and this is considered a crime. Certainly not a hassle that anyone needs!

If a landlord does not grant an extension for you to pay the late rent, s/he must give you a five day notice after which an eviction proceeding may be commenced. If you receive this five day notice, you will need to pay the rent within those five days or vacate the property. If the landlord has not waived the late payment, the entire rent plus the late payment must be paid within the five day period to bring the amount owed current.

If you have a legal defense to the eviction, then you can file papers with the Justice Court to request a hearing on your eviction. You will not be asked to leave the property pending the outcome of the hearing, but if you do not have a valid legal defense you will just be delaying the inevitable eviction. Not only that, but if you file a petition for a hearing with the intent to delay knowing that you have no valid legal defense to the eviction, you might end up paying your landlord’s attorneys’ fees and costs.

Importantly, there are certain legal defenses to your possible eviction. For instance, if you can make a partial payment of the late rent, you should do so. If you do, and the landlord accepts it, this may be a defense to eviction based on the landlord’s acceptance of this payment knowing it was not the full amount. But, the landlord does not have to accept the partial payment and may choose to refuse it and proceed with an eviction.

There are various legal reasons to withhold rent, including if there are major issues with the property that have gone unfixed after notification that make the property uninhabitable2)called constructive eviction.  But, if you owe late rent and claim to the court that your property is uninhabitable, the court will not be sympathetic if you have never given the landlord a chance to fix the problem.

So, unless the landlord has failed to fix major problems that they knew about in advance, you are at his or her mercy if you are unable to make the late rent payment. It is always best to be on good terms with your landlord so in the event that you need an extension of time to pay the rent, your landlord is likely to have faith in you and give you a little extra time.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. This is a serious crime in Nevada, please do not do this
2. called constructive eviction
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