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Landlords and tenants should be aware of the 2019 changes to the Residential Landlord Tenant Act. Specifically, the Nebraska unicameral made some substantial changes to the way landlords will have to deal with renters at the end of their tenancy. Additionally, both parties should be aware of a modification of the three-day notice requirement under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 76-1431(1) for failure to pay rent and some of the rules regarding returning security deposits.
Under the new laws, landlords will now have to give a seven-day (calendar) notice to the tenant to rectify the delinquent debt. This change increased the amount of time the tenant can pay their past due rent by four days. This new rule also increases the amount of time before a landlord can file a lawsuit for forcible entry (since a landlord cannot file suit until after the notice period).
The second change has to do with the residential landlord’s duty to return security deposits. Previously, the fourteen-day period to return the deposit started when the tenant asked for his/her deposit back. Landlords now must send the entirety of the remaining security deposit, after applying payments for unpaid rent or damages beyond normal wear and tear within 14 days of the tenant moving out. The landlord also must now send an itemization of the application of the deposit to unpaid rent, other charges, and any damages to the tenant by first-class mail to the tenant’s last known address, regardless of any action taken by the tenant (i.e. even if the tenant does not request it).
If the returned balance remains outstanding thirty days after the mailing for any reason, the landlord must now send the balance of the security deposit to the State Treasurer. The deposit to the State Treasurer is required to be delivered within sixty days from the date of initially mailing the refund. This is a time-sensitive issue that is only compounded by the fact that often the last known address of the tenant will be the one they just vacated.
Tenants should be aware of these new rights and the impact it has on the end of the tenancy. Conversely, landlords should update their forms to account for the new seven-day notice. Landlords should also put everything possible in writing to provide proof of sending deposit refunds and notices, and may consider setting up workflows ahead of time to ensure they comply with each step.
Questions or concerns with an issue of your own, call us at (402) 827-7000.