‘Make rent make sense’: Know your rights if a Las Vegas rental lacks essential services

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 7:24 AM PDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - FOX5 is working to get answers on the rights of renters after one Las Vegas local went viral after she said she repeatedly asked her landlord for answers when her apartment was experiencing a power outage.

FOX5 told you in late February about how thieves had, once again, stolen copper and knocked out power at the Ridge on Charleston. Tah’leah Firee’s interview with FOX5 went viral, garnering 1.6 million views on Twitter alone.

Firee and other residents said the ordeal lasted a total of three days, although the complex insisted that the problem was immediately fixed. Firee said her power was not restored, and eventually become spotty before fully returning.

“I knew that I was going to go viral because a lot of people were going to feel what I had to say,” she said, noting her TikTok and Instagram accounts have seen a surge of interest.

Firee tells FOX5 that she had a follow-up question for landlords: Can she get three days of rent deducted from her next statement to compensate for the time that she lost power and temporarily stayed elsewhere?

Firee said she asked apartment staff in person about the request, then sent an e-mail to follow up and never got a reply.

FOX5 sent several emails and left a voicemail with a staff member from an answering service, but also did not receive a reply.

What are your rights for rent and your wallet? FOX5 spoke to the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada to break down your rights and options in NRS118A.

Attorney Aaron MacDonald tells FOX5 that every apartment must have the following “essential services”: heat, air conditioning, water, electricity, gas, sewer and lockable doors. Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada has a page to help tenants navigate habitability issues.

It is crucial that tenants document and send correspondence, noting that one of those essential services has halted. This will start the process to exercise financial options, in case the problem is not resolved quickly.

“Under Nevada law, the tenant needs to send this formal letter, putting the landlord on notice that they have an amount of time to fix the issue. For essential services, the landlord only has 48 hours to fix it,” MacDonald said.

“There are remedies under the statutes. The tenants really need to follow these formal steps. The tenant needs to keep a paper trail of these formal notices. They need to be able to prove to a court, if a landlord later sued them, that they were only exercising their habitability rights,” he said.

If essential services are not resolved, options include withholding rent if rent is current, paying for repairs and deducting fees from rent, obtaining other housing and halting rent payments, or even filing a lawsuit.

MacDonald noted that once the problem has been resolved, tenants do not have a way to send a notice after-the-fact to seek remedies.

“I’m sure this is going to happen again. Now I know the right steps to do,” Firee said.

For more information, the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada has resources: Click here. The center also has a letter template to help tenants issue a formal notice.

The Southern Nevada Health District also has information and a letter template: Click Here