A landlord wishing to evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent, for staying beyond the rental term or for violating a lease term must begin the Nebraska eviction process with a written notice to the tenant.
Nebraska Eviction is 3 Days or 30 Days
An eviction notice to a tenant must state that it is either a 3-day or 30-day notice (see details below). It must state the reason for the eviction, such as nonpayment of rent or violation of the rental agreement. And it must state that the tenant may halt the eviction process by paying the rent or curing the violation within the notice period.
A landlord may be legally obligated to a tenant for damages if he or she attempts to evict a tenant without adhering to the Nebraska eviction process. Entering the unit and removing the tenant’s personal possession, changing the locks, shutting off the utilities, issuing threats or taking any other action to remove the tenant without a court order could subject the landlord for damages.
3-Day Notice to Quit
The 3-day Nebraska notice to quit is given whenever the tenant fails to pay rent when due or after a grace period specified in the lease. If the tenant pays the rent within the 3 day period, the landlord cannot proceed any further. Should the tenant pay the rent beyond the 3-days, however, the landlord may choose not to accept it and proceed with the eviction in court.
30-Day Notice to Quit
For all other lease violations such as damage to the property, refusing entry to the landlord upon reasonable notice, or having unauthorized persons living in the unit, the landlord must serve a 30-day notice to quit. The notice must state that the tenant has 14-days to fix or remedy the violation or move out within 30-days.
If the tenant does remedy the violation within the 14-day period but commits the same violation within the next 6 months, the landlord may terminate the lease after giving a minimum of 14-days written notice that specifies the breach and the date the lease agreement will terminate.
A 30-day written notice may also be given in any month-to-month lease by either the tenant or landlord for any reason provided it is given at least 30-days before the periodic rental date specified in the notice. The landlord may not evict a tenant based on a discriminatory reason such as the tenant’s race, gender, religion, age, pregnancy, childbirth, or in retaliation for the tenant having exercised his or her Constitutional or statutory rights.
Service of Notice
The Nebraska Eviction Notice notice may be served by the Sheriff personally on the tenant, by leaving it with a subtenant of suitable age or by posting the notice on the unit’s door or in a conspicuous place.
Petition for Restitution
If the tenant fails to comply within the notice period, the landlord must take the next step in the Nebraska eviction process by filing and serving a Petition for Restitution with the county or district court clerk. The petition must state the facts upon which the action is based, a description of the premises, and that the notice complied with the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.
Summons and Complaint
Along with the Petition for Restitution, the landlord must file and serve a Summons and Complaint within 3 business days of its issuance and return the Summons within 5 business days of its issuance. The landlord may use the Sheriff’s Civil Division to serve the documents. If personal service cannot be made, a copy may be posted at the tenant’s last known address as well as mailed there.
The summons will contain the time and place of the trial for possession of the property and an Answer Day. The trial must be held not less than 10 days nor more than 14 days after issuance of the summons. Either party must request a jury trial or a bench or court trial will be held.
The tenant may ask for a continuance of the trial date but for no longer than 7 days, unless the tenant makes a showing of extraordinary cause and deposits with the court a surety bond approved by the court.
A tenant can appear on the hearing or trial date and assert any defenses, setoffs or counterclaims. If the tenant fails to appear, the landlord still must demonstrate that the tenant breached some provision in the lease. If the tenant does appear, he or she may present any witnesses or documentary evidence to show any of the following:
- The landlord gave insufficient or inadequate notice.
- The tenant did not breach any provision of the lease.
- The landlord is evicting the tenant for a discriminatory reason.
- The eviction is in retaliation for the tenant exercising a valid right.
- The unit was inhabitable and the landlord failed to fix the hazard or remedy the hazard despite a documented request or requests to do so by the tenant.
- The landlord illegally entered the unit for no valid purpose and without having given reasonable notice to intimidate the tenant.
- The landlord attempted self-eviction.
Writ of Restitution
Should the landlord win, the court will declare that the rental agreement is ended and may issue, if requested, a Writ of Restitution that directs the sheriff, or constable, to restore the unit or property to the landlord. By statute the tenant may be given up to 10-days to vacate, but the sheriff will only give the tenant 3 days notice to move. Writs are not executed on weekends or holidays.
If the sheriff must appear to evict the tenant on the date posted, the landlord must arrange for someone other than the sheriff to physically remove any of the tenant’s personal property. The sheriff can physically remove any remaining tenants and advise them that trespassing charges may be made if they return.
Any money judgments such as rent arrearages or for the landlord’s service, court and legal fees, must be brought in a separate legal action.