Apartment Guru: Leaseless in Nevada

no lease sub-tenant adviceDear Apartment Guru,

I live in Henderson, NV.

My roommate and I acquired an apartment together -- however, my name is not on the lease. I have paid my half of rent to cover me through May and I believe my roommate may be asking me to leave before the end of the month. By law, how long do I have to vacate the premises as I have already paid to cover me through till the end of the month?

-- The Right to Live

Dear Right,

It looks like you won't have to pack your bags and leave the premises just because your roommate decides you should. Since you have paid your rent -- and are otherwise not breaking the lease you haven't signed -- you have the same rights as your roommate.

In Nevada, as in many states, a person (a subtenant) living by mutual agreement with a tenant does not have to live by the whims of the tenant. Now, we apartment gurus tend to agree it is never a bad idea to put all agreements, verbal or otherwise, on paper, in an e-mail, or even on a cocktail napkin. But even if you and your roommate didn't do this, it is implied simply by way of you paying a portion of the monthly rent.

As David Olshan of Nevada Legal Services puts it, "A subtenant just has to pay money for a discrete area of the dwelling in order to have the same rights as the tenant."

In other words, if you have a room or area of the home that is considered yours, for which you pay rent each month, you have the same rights as your roommate. Mr. Olshan even read me the legalese to back it up.

He went on to explain, "A subtenant must be presented with an eviction notice. Depending on the cause of eviction, if there is a lease violation the subtenant gets a five-day notice. But for no cause, they must have 30 days in most cases."

So it sounds like you are free to live in your "discrete area" of your roommate's apartment, lease or no lease, for the time being. If your roommate has any compassion he/she will give you a month from June 1st since you have paid through May.

If you need further help, Nevada Legal Services might be able to work with you, depending on whether or not you qualify.

In the meantime, try to get through this experience as free of drama as possible. Moving, which unfortunately you will probably end up having to do, is hard enough without passive-aggressive battles and using each other's toothbrushes to clean the toilet.

So break it kindly to your roommate that you will leave one-month after you receive your eviction notice. Although it means you will still have to move, it will buy you some time.

Hope this helps!

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