Nebraska Eviction Process
November 2, 2023
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Eviction In Nebraska
If you own and rent properties in the state of Nebraska, you are responsible for complying with Nebraska eviction laws. In this article, we break down each step of the legal eviction process in Nebraska.
Nebraska’s eviction laws can be found at Neb. Stat. § 76-1431 to 76-1447.
Eviction Process in Nebraska
- Landlord serves a five- to 30-day eviction notice.
- Landlord files an eviction lawsuit with the court.
- Court serves tenant a summons.
- Tenant files an answer.
- Landlord and tenant attend court hearing and receive judgment.
- Tenant gets ten days to move out.
- Sheriff arrives to forcible remove the tenant.
In Nebraska, tenants can be evicted for failing to pay rent, violating the lease, breaking a Nebraska landlord-tenant law materially affecting health and safety, repeating a violation, or engaging in illegal activity on the premises.
1. Landlord Serves a Five- to 30-Day Eviction Notice
If any of the above lease violations occur, the landlord must first serve a Nebraska eviction notice and state that the tenant has the appropriate number of days to remedy or cure the violation. There are four possible eviction notices a landlord may send in Nebraska:
- Rent Demand Notice: 7 days to pay or quit. If rent is unpaid when due, the landlord may deliver this notice stating the amount of unpaid rent required to remedy the breach and the date on which the lease will terminate if it is not paid (not less than seven calendar days after receipt of the notice) (Neb. Stat. § 76-1431(2)).
- Lease Violation Notice: 14 days to cure; 30 days to quit. If a tenant violates a lease term or a Nebraska landlord-tenant law materially affecting health and safety, the landlord may deliver this notice. The notice should state the breach, what is required to remedy it, and the date the lease will terminate (at least 30 days after receipt of notice). The tenant may cure the violation within the first 14 days of the 30-day period; if they do not, the eviction process will continue after the remaining 16 days (Neb. Stat. § 76-1431(1)).
- Repeat Violation Notice: 14 days to quit. If a tenant commits substantially the same noncompliance more than once within six months, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement after 14 days’ notice with no opportunity to cure the breach (Neb. Stat. § 76-1431(1)).
- Unconditional Notice to Quit: 5 days to quit. This notice gives no opportunity to “cure” the violation and applies if the tenant engages in violent criminal activity on the premises, sells a controlled substance illegally, or commits another act that threatens the health or safety of another person on the premises (Neb. Stat. § 76-1431(4)). This includes but is not limited to:
- Physical assault or the threat of physical assault
- Illegal use or threat of use of a firearm or other weapon
- Willful possession of a controlled substance
- Any other activity or threatened activity which would otherwise endanger the health or safety of any person, or that involves imminent or actual damage to the property.
For all evictions, the landlord may recover actual damages and reasonable attorney’s fees.
2. Landlord Files an Eviction Lawsuit with the Court
The next step in the Nebraska eviction process is filing a complaint in court. If the tenant has not cured the breach by the end of the notice period (or if the violation is uncurable and the notice period expires), the landlord can then file a complaint for restitution with the clerk of the Nebraska District or County Court with jurisdiction over the area in which the property is located (Neb. Stat. § 76-1441).
The complaint must include:
- The legal basis for the eviction
- The reason for the eviction, including any incidents involved, and the facts supporting it
- A reasonably accurate description of the premises
- Proof that the landlord properly complied with the eviction notice requirements
The complaint may also include these optional items:
- A notification that the tenant’s personal property remains on the premises, and that it will be disposed of if the tenant does not remove it
- Other causes of action related to the tenancy which will be tried separately
The landlord will also need to pay a filing fee. The filing fee is approximately $87 in District Courts and $45 in County Courts.
3. Court Serves Tenant a Summons
After the landlord files the complaint, the court will issue a summons demanding the tenant’s presence in court. The summons should state:
- The cause of the complaint
- The time and place of the eviction hearing
- The date by which the tenant should submit an answer
- A notice that if the tenant fails to appear, a default judgment will be awarded to the landlord
The summons and complaint may be served to the tenant by anyone who isn’t part of the case within three days of its issuance, including nonjudicial days. It must be served in one of the following manners as per Neb. Stat. § 25-505.01:
- Personal service to the tenant
- Leaving a copy with a resident of suitable age and discretion at the unit
- Mailing a copy by certified mail within ten days of issuance and filing proof of such with the court via a return receipt
- Sending a copy via a designated delivery service within ten days of issuance, obtaining a signed delivery receipt, and filing proof with the court
If all the above methods fail, the landlord should post a copy of the summons and complaint on the front door of the rental unit AND mail a copy by first-class mail to the tenant’s last known address. The landlord should then file an affidavit describing the efforts made to serve the tenant in the typical ways and why they were unsuccessful (Neb. Stat. § 76-1442.01).
If service is made in one of the usual ways bulleted above, the person serving must file the affidavit within five days from the date of issuance, excluding nonjudicial days. The affidavit states the manner in which the summons was served (Neb. Stat. § 76-1442).
Either party can ask the court’s permission for a continuance to delay the eviction hearing for good cause. Subsequent continuances will only be granted by special agreement or if there are extraordinary circumstances. If the continuance extends the trial date into the next periodic rental period, the court may require the tenant to pay accrued rent into the court while the hearing is pending (Neb. Stat. § 76-1443).
4. Tenant Files an Answer
The tenant may (but isn’t required to) file an answer with the court any time before or on the day of the court hearing. The answer should state any legal or equitable defenses or counterclaim the tenant wishes to bring to the court’s attention (Neb. Stat. § 76-1445).
5. Landlord and Tenant Attend Court Hearing and Receive Judgment
The eviction hearing will be held between ten and 14 days after the issuance of the summons (Neb. Stat. § 76-1446). There is no option for a jury trial for Nebraska eviction trials.
On the day of the hearing, the landlord should bring copies of the lease agreement, the eviction notice with proof of service, the complaint, and any evidence of the lease violation. Both the landlord and tenant will present their cases and any evidence to the judge, who will afterwards issue a judgment. If the judge rules in the landlord’s favor, the lease will be terminated, and the tenant will be ordered to move out.
6. Tenant Gets Ten Days to Move Out
If the landlord thinks the tenant will not move out, they can request a writ of restitution to be issued and directed to the constable or sheriff. The officer will inform the tenant that they must move out or else be forcibly removed from the premises within a specified date, not more than ten days after the writ has been issued (Neb. Stat. § 76-1446). The cost for the sheriff to serve the writ is $12, plus $3 for each additional tenant (Neb. Stat. § 33-117).
7. Sheriff Arrives to Forcibly Remove the Tenant
If the tenant still refuses to move out at the end of the ten-day period, the sheriff will return to forcibly remove the tenant from the premises and restore possession to the landlord. The landlord will need to pay an $18 fee for the execution of the writ (Neb. Stat. § 33-117).
If the tenant leaves behind any personal property at the rental unit, the landlord must make a reasonable attempt to contact the tenant within ten days of the eviction. The tenant then gets 20 days to notify the landlord of their intent to claim the property, and an additional 20 days to remove or obtain the property. Any remaining property may be disposed of (Neb. Stat. § 76-1446, § 76-1414(5)).
Evicting a Squatter in Nebraska
A squatter is a person who moves into a vacant or abandoned property without getting permission from the owner or paying rent. Squatters can usually be charged as criminal trespassers and be evicted like any other tenant. However, some squatters can receive the right to possession by meeting certain state-determined criteria. According to squatters rights in Nebraska, squatters must have lived in the property for ten consecutive years to claim right of possession (Neb. Stat. § 25-202). The possession must also be:
- Hostile/Adverse—The squatter must not have a valid lease with the owner
- Actual—The squatter must be actively residing on the property
- Open and Notorious—The squatter is openly and obviously living there.
- Exclusive—The squatter does not share possession of the property with anyone else.
- Continuous—The squatter must hold continuous and uninterrupted possession.
While relatively rare, if a squatter meets all these criteria, they can claim Nebraska squatters rights and what is known as “color of title”: the right of legal ownership without having a written deed to the property. They can file an action for adverse possession in Nebraska to legally obtain the title to the property. However, in most cases, a squatter will not meet the criteria and can be removed. If you think a squatter is living in your vacant property in Nebraska, you should:
- Call local law enforcement.
- Determine whether the person is a trespasser or a squatter.
- If the person is a trespasser, they can be removed immediately by a police officer.
- If the person is a squatter, you must contact the sheriff’s office.
- Send the squatter an eviction notice as per Nebraska eviction law.
- If the squatter does not vacate the premises by the end of the notice period, file for eviction and follow the typical eviction process.
- Only the sheriff can physically remove a squatter from your property. You cannot do so, and neither can a police officer.
Nebraska Eviction Cost Estimates
This chart shows estimates of the approximate cost of an eviction in Nebraska, according to civil procedure in the state and iPropertyManagement. A highly accurate estimate of an eviction is impossible to provide, as cases and circumstances vary so widely. Remember to factor in other losses due to an eviction as well, such as lost rent, time, and stress.
|Action||Approximate Cost (District Court)||Approximate Cost (County Court)|
|Service of court summons by sheriff||$12, plus $3 for each additional tenant||$12, plus $3 for each additional tenant|
|Service of writ of restitution||$12, plus $3 for each additional tenant||$12, plus $3 for each additional tenant|
|Execution of writ of restitution||$18||$18|
|Average locksmith fees||$160||$160|
|Storage fees for abandoned property||Varies||Varies|
|Tenant turnover costs||Varies||Varies|
Nebraska Eviction Time Estimates
The chart below shows an estimate of the duration of each part of the eviction process. Keep in mind that the length of eviction cases varies widely depending on the complexity of the eviction, the court’s current caseload, and whether or not the tenant contests or appeals the lawsuit.
|Eviction notice period||5-30 days|
|Service of summons||3 days after issuance (personal service) or within 10 days of issuance (mail)|
|Return of service affidavit||Within 5 days after issuance of summons|
|Tenant response period||Any time before or on date of hearing|
|Eviction hearing||10-14 days after issuance of summons|
|Issuance / service of writ of restitution||0-3 days|
|Time to quit after writ is posted||10 days|
- Nebraska District Court Filing Fees and Court Costs – This page lists the various fees and court costs for the District Courts in Nebraska.
The eviction process in any state can be long and complex, so hiring an eviction attorney is advised in most cases. It’s also important to note that municipalities and local governments often have stricter laws and requirements for landlords, so be sure to check local statutes as well as state ones. However, by reviewing the legal procedures and Nebraska laws on eviction, you can feel more confident pursuing an eviction in this state.
Innago does not provide legal advice. The content and materials provided in this article are for general informational purposes only and may not be the most up-to-date information.