Landlord's Retaliation Against Tenant

Q&A - Retaliation


What is "retaliation" by a landlord?

"Retaliation" means that a landlord is ending a tenancy, refusing to renew a tenancy, raising rent, decreasing essential items or services (such as electricity, heat, water, and the like), or threatening or filing an eviction action where:
  • The tenant has complained in good faith to a governmental enforcement agency about a violation of a building, housing, or health code that affects health or safety.
  • The tenant has complained in good faith to the landlord or a law enforcement agency about a violation of Nevada's Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (Chapter 118A of the Nevada Revised Statutes) or a specific law that imposes a criminal penalty.
  • The tenant has organized or become a member of a tenants' union or similar organization.
  • A code enforcement agency has cited the landlord because of tenant's complaint.
  • The tenant has sued or defended a court case and raised the habitability of the rental property as an issue.  Click to read Habitability and Essential Services.
  • The tenant has refused to give written consent to a regulation adopted by the landlord after the tenant moved in, and the landlord is trying to enforce the regulation without waiting the required time period (typically thirty days under NRS 118A.320(2)(b)).
  • The tenant has complained in good faith to the landlord, a government agency, an attorney, or a fair housing agency about violations of the Nevada Fair Housing Law (NRS 118.010 to 118.120), or the federal Fair Housing Act, or has exercised rights guaranteed by those laws.

    (NRS 118A.510(1).)
What can a tenant do if the landlord retaliates against the tenant?
 
If the landlord retaliates against a tenant, the tenant can sue the landlord for:
  • Money to pay for any injury or loss the tenant has suffered, and/or
  • Money the court can award under the law to punish the landlord (up to $2,500).

    (NRS 118A.510(2); NRS 118A.390.)
Additionally, the tenant can raise the landlord's retaliation as a defense in any retaliatory eviction case the landlord files.  (NRS 118A.510(2).)
 
If the tenant sues the landlord because of the landlord's retaliation, the tenant can still sue the landlord for money or an "injunction" (a court order requiring the landlord to do something or not do something) because of landlord's breach of lease or failure to comply with Nevada's habitability laws.  (NRS 118A.510(3).)  Click to read Habitability and Essential Services.
 
What defenses can the landlord raise if the tenant claims retaliation?
 
A landlord's actions are not retaliatory if:
  • The tenant caused the violation of the building, housing, or health code that the tenant complained about.
  • The landlord had "cause" (a valid legal reason) to terminate the tenancy.
  • The landlord can only comply with a building, housing, or health code citation by altering, remodeling, or demolishing the rental property, which must be vacant.
  • The landlord raised the rent across the board for all tenants.

    (NRS 118A.510(3).)