What’s the deal with evictions in Nebraska?
As a property manager, you want to be able to say that all of your renters are model tenants. Unfortunately, this just isn’t how it works, and at some point, you may find yourself in the position of serving a 30 days notice to vacate due to non-payment of rent or excessive damage to the property.
Sometimes, the reasons that tenants need to be evicted are out of your control. In Nebraska, unfortunately, it’s common that low-income tenants will struggle to pay their rent. And after evictions, tenants struggle to put together the money needed for a deposit or to pay legal fees.
And, if that property is in disrepair when the tenant is evicted? Your only choice is to have it condemned or pay to fix it up into a condition suitable for renting for more money. It’s unpleasant all around.
That said, it’s all the more important that landlords and property managers follow legal proceedings to the letter to ensure that nobody is left out in the cold.
What are some reasons I can evict a tenant?
- Unpaid rent
- Violation of a written lease
- Termination of a month-to-month lease
Are there situations in which I cannot evict a tenant?
- In the event that tenants have complained about unsafe living conditions to a government agency or health inspector, they cannot be evicted as a form of retaliation.
- In response to them joining or organizing a tenant union.
- If the unit is in such disrepair that it can’t actually be lived in. Only a judge can determine the livability of the unit.
What is the process normally like?
Because many eviction cases in Nebraska must be brought before a judge, it’s important to try to work through any issues with the tenant before beginning the eviction process. This will save you time, money, and stress in the long run.
With that in mind, so-called “self-help” evictions are illegal. The tenant cannot be removed from the property by changing the locks, removing the front door, or turning off the heat or electricity. Repercussions of this type of eviction may include owing the tenant up to three months’ rent, as well as covering court costs and fees.
If you decide to proceed with an eviction, there are three courses of action:
If the rent is unpaid:
- Serve a 3-day notice. Cite the amount of rent due, the last day it can be paid, and that not paying in full may result in eviction.
- Within 3 days, any offer to pay rent in full must be accepted. This ends the eviction process.
- Any offer to pay part of the rent does not need to be accepted. Accepting a partial payment will stall the eviction process.
- After the 3-day notice is up, the full rent payment does not need to be accepted, but can be.
- Following the end of the 3-day notice, the case can proceed to court. Serve the tenant with a Summons that includes the date, time, and place of the hearing. A process server or representative from the Sheriff’s office may also serve the Summons.
- Once in court, a judge may then decide whether or not the tenant can be evicted. If so, the court can then order the eviction as well as determine what, if any, money the tenant owes – including past rent and legal fees.
- If the tenant does not then vacate the property a constable or sheriff can remove them and their property from the premises anytime within 10 days of the hearing.
- If the tenant has left any of their property behind, it must be stored. Send a written notice to the tenant to tell them where the property is and when it can be picked up. Tenants are responsible for paying any storage fees. After 14 days, the property can be sold at a public sale. Any money earned from the sale of property must be returned to the tenant or given to the State Treasurer’s office. If the total value of the property is less than $1,000, it can be thrown or given away.
If the terms of the lease have been violated:
- Serve a 30-day notice. Cite health and safety violations or the specific part of the lease that was violated.
- Give the tenant 14 days to fix the problems. If they are not fixed within that time, the lease will end 30 days after the original notice was served.
- Bring it to a judge. Proceed as outlined in steps 5 through 8 as outlined above. Tenant property cannot be removed from the premises and locks cannot be changed without an eviction decision from a judge.
If the lease is month-to-month or a verbal agreement:
- Serve a 30-day written notice to tenants that the lease will be ending per your verbal or written month-to-month agreement.
- If the tenant does not want to vacate the property, they can be served with a summons to appear in court as outlined above.
Where can I learn more?
If you have any questions, or think you may want to start the eviction process with a tenant in Nebraska, please consult a lawyer.
- Nebraska State Legislature Statute 76-1431: Noncompliance; Failure to Pay Rent
- Legal Aid of Nebraska Landlord Tenant Handbook (PDF)
- NOLO Illegal Eviction Procedures in Nebraska
- Nebraska Eviction Process Blog
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Disclaimer: The materials on this database provide general information related to the law and are intended to provide a layman’s summary of the law. The information provided does not constitute legal advice and the manager of this database is not a law firm. These materials are intended, but cannot be promised or guaranteed to be current, complete or up-to-date. All of the information offered are intended for general informational purposes only. You should not act or rely on any of the information contained on this database without first seeking the advice of a qualified attorney.