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Nevada AG asks renters facing lease changes to file complaints

Nevada’s highest-ranking attorney on Wednesday encouraged renters facing unilateral changes to their leases to file complaints with his office.

Attorney General Aaron Ford’s announcement came after multiple property management companies announced plans to alter renters’ leases following changes to landlord-tenant law that became active in July. Senate Bill 151 capped late fee amounts at 5 percent of a tenant’s regular rent and extended the time a tenant could pay overdue rent to avoid eviction from five to seven business days.

“The law does not authorize landlords to independently raise rent, increase fees, or make any other changes to terms of an existing lease,” Monica Moazez, spokeswoman for Ford’s office, wrote in a statement. “Claims that SB 151 requires changes to existing or even new leases are incorrect.”

In July, thousands of Southern Nevada renters began receiving notices from their landlords and property management companies stating they planned to reduce grace periods for rent payments and raise some fees. Some companies referenced SB 151 as the reason for the changes.

One of Southern Nevada’s largest property management companies sent letters to some 5,600 apartments stating every tenant would see changes starting Sept. 1. Advanced Management Group announced in early August it was canceling the plan.

It is illegal to change the terms of an active lease unless both the tenant and landlord agree to make the changes, according to Ford’s statement. In the absence of the lease, state law requires landlords to provide a tenant with 45 days’ notice before increasing their rent, or 15 days’ notice if the tenant pays rent by the week.

Tenants who believe their lease is being illegally altered should contact a legal aid organization or a private attorney, according to Ford’s statement. Complaints can also be submitted to Ford’s office online at ag.nv.gov.

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.

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