Tenants' Rights


  • Your landlord must deliver possession of the rental unit to you at the beginning of the lease term.  If your landlord fails to deliver possession of the rental unit at the beginning of the lease, you as a tenant have the right to:[1]
    • 1) terminate the lease upon 5 days’ written notice to the landlord. If you do so, the landlord must return all prepaid rent and security deposits or
    • 2) demand performance of the rental agreement by the landlord, and bring legal action against the person wrongfully possessing the property or
    • 3) bring legal action against the landlord and recover not more than the amount of three months’ rent and reasonable attorney’s fees, if the landlord’s failure to deliver possession of the property is willful and in bad faith

  • Freedom from landlord retaliation for complaining to governmental housing agency for code violations;
    • If you suffer retaliation from your landlord because of a complaint you made and that retaliation takes the form of increased rent, a decrease of services, or other threatened action, you as the tenant have the right to:[2]
      • 1) terminate the lease or
      • 2) terminate the lease and sue your landlord for recovery of three months’ rent plus legal costs and attorney’s fees or
      • 3)  successfully defend against any action for possession by your landlord, and sue your landlord for recovery of three months’ rent, costs and attorney’s fees
  • Freedom from unlawful entry by your landlord and his/her agents onto your premises
    • Your landlord may enter the leased premises only when: 1) an emergency exists, or 2) the landlord has provided you with one day’s notice of the intent to enter
      • If the landlord unlawfully enters the leased premises in violation of these provisions, you have the right to:[3]
        • 1) obtain an injunction preventing the landlord from abusing the right of access in the future or
        • 2) terminate the lease agreement and
        • 3) in either of the cases, sue to recover an amount not less than one month’s rent for each violation, together with costs and attorney’s fees
  • Your landlord has the responsibility under the law to:[4]
    • 1) keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition
    • 2) keep all common areas of the premises in a safe and clean condition
    • 3) maintain in good working order all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and other systems or appliances supplied by the landlord
    • 4) provide receptacles for removing trash and arrange for its removal
    • 5) provide running water, reasonable amounts of hot water, and reasonable heat 
      • If the landlord fails to comply with the above provisions the tenant has the right to:
        • 1) demand compliance:
          • Provide written notice of the noncompliance to your landlord and notify your landlord that if the noncompliance is not fixed within 14 days the lease will terminate at the end of the 30 days from the date of the notice or
        • 2) obtain an injunction demanding the landlord to comply with his/her responsibilities and
        • 3) In either case, seek damages caused by noncompliance, and if noncompliance was willful, recover costs and reasonable attorney’s fees
      • You may agree with the landlord to perform specified repairs, maintenance, alterations, and remodeling, but only if the agreement (1) is entered into in good faith and not for purposes of evading the landlord’s obligations; (2) is set forth in a written agreement separate from the lease; and (3) is supported by adequate consideration (i.e., you get something out of agreeing to perform the repairs, maintenance, or alterations)
      • If the landlord negligently or deliberately fails to provide water, hot water, or essential services, the tenant has the right to[5]:
        • 1) get reasonable amounts of the services during the period of the landlord’s noncompliance and deduct their cost from the rent; or
        • 2) sue to recover damages based on a diminution in fair rental value during the period of non-compliance; or
        • 3) inhabit substitute housing during the period of non-compliance, and during this time, you as the tenant are excused from paying rent
      • If the landlord’s failure to supply services is willful you as the tenant can sue to recover the value of the cost of the substitute housing, up to the value of periodic rent

If the landlord willfully interrupts essential services to the premises, the tenant may immediately terminate the rental agreement.  If the lease is terminated, the landlord must refund the deposit, and in any event, the tenant can sue the landlord for damages equal to three months’ rent, plus costs and attorney’s fees

  • BE AWARE: Your landlord may adopt rules and regulations after you enter into the lease that will be enforceable against you, if the landlord provides reasonable notice of their adoption to the tenant and it does not work a substantial modification of the lease.[6]



[1] Neb. Rev. Stat. § 76-1426

[2] Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 76-1430, 76-1439

[3] Neb. Rev. Stat. § 76-1438(2)

[4] Neb. Rev. Stat. § 76-1419

[5] Neb. Rev. Stat. § 76-1427

[6] Neb. Rev. Stat. § 76-1422