Renter of foreclosed home wants his deposit back

Q: Hi, my name is David, and the reason for this email is because the property I was living in went into foreclosure and was sold at auction. The problem is that the property management (company) I was going through told me that they needed to take (money) from my deposit to paint and clean the carpets and that it was up to the owner “who lost the property in the first place” to determine what I would receive back from my deposit.

Now this makes no sense to me due to the fact that the property was sold and they no longer have possession of the home. So, if you can please share any info about my rights on this situation, it would be great, or any numbers I can contact for the info would be helpful. Thank you for your time.  

— David D., Las Vegas

A: First and foremost, let me be very clear that I am not a property manager or an attorney. However, I want to provide you with some general background information and resources, since I know many tenants in Southern Nevada may be facing similar circumstances.

As our legal counsel at the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors always cautions, this should not be taken as legal advice for any particular situation because each lease and each set of circumstances may vary widely.

For starters, you may want to contact Nevada Legal Services, which represents low-income tenants in a variety of housing and eviction matters through its Tenant’s Rights Center. The number is 702-386-0404. The Nevada Legal Services website, at, also has a Frequently Asked Questions page about security deposits and a brochure about post-foreclosure evictions that may be helpful to you.

Nevada law (in NRS 118A.242) generally provides that, upon termination of a tenancy by either party for any reason, the landlord may claim amounts from the security deposit that are “reasonably necessary” to remedy any default of the tenant in the payment of rent, to repair damages other than normal wear and to pay the reasonable costs of cleaning the premises. A lease agreement may make the cleaning deposit nonrefundable.

The landlord has 30 days to provide you with an accounting of the security deposit and any remaining portion of the deposit. The Nevada Legislature’s website,, has a law library page where you can view all Nevada statutes.

According to the Nevada Legal Services website, “After the foreclosure, sale, or the property otherwise changes hands, your landlord has to either return the security deposit to you, after making any deductions allowed under NRS 118A.242 (explained above), or transfer your deposit (minus the deductions) to the new owner. …  If the security deposit is not transferred and not returned to you, you can sue the old landlord under NRS 118A.242 if more than 30 days has expired after the property transfers.”

You should also be aware that under Nevada and federal law, you may have certain rights to continue living in the home for a period of time after the foreclosure sale, if you continue to pay rent to the new owner and all other criteria are met.

I hope this information helps. Still, you should contact Nevada Legal Services or an attorney to learn more about your specific situation.

For more information on real estate issues, consult a qualified local Realtor or visit

Paul Bell is the president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors and has worked in the real estate industry for 30 years. GLVAR has nearly 11,500 members. To ask him a question, email him at For more information, visit

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