July 17, 2015
Daniel Gutierrez
Contact 13

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - Your rent could be on the rise. Landlords these days are passing on more and more charges to their tenants.
One woman reached out to Contact 13 wanting to know, is her rent increase even legal?
"Disgusted. What is this country coming to? It's the little people that are getting hurt," said Sandy Deiman.

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Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - Your rent could be on the rise. Landlords these days are passing on more and more charges to their tenants.
One woman reached out to Contact 13 wanting to know, is her rent increase even legal? "Disgusted. What is this country coming to? It's the little people that are getting hurt," said Sandy Deiman.
She isn't happy with the recent rise in rent.  "What I thought was, they're screwing us," Deiman said.

She's been living in her apartment in the northeast part of the valley for nearly 5 years now. She's been happy with the place up to now, and didn't hesitate when she was asked to renew her lease.

"I do like it here. It is a nice location. I can look out at the mountain if I want to," Deiman said.

But what got her fired up was this addendum to her lease. It turns out management, is now charging tenants $10.92 per month, to cover the property's real estate tax.

"That really hit home. I went what? I'm gonna be paying their taxes? I'm on, you know, living on social security. And every little $10 hurts," Deiman said.

She said she can't afford to move, so she signed the addendum. But she reached out to Contact 13, because the more she thought about it, the more she wondered, is this legal?

"It's perfectly clear what she's obligating herself to and she signs it. If a tenant signs it, they're obligating themselves to it," said Jim Berchtold, with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.He said it's perfectly legal, and it's not unheard of.

"A lot of properties around town, more and more, passing on charges to the tenant. Like property taxes, water, sewage. Things that typically a tenant wouldn't necessarily pay in an apartment setting," Berchtold said.

 But a lease is a binding contract. It protects the landlord as well as the tenant. So a landlord can't pass that cost on to you, unless both sides agree to the terms. And that's exactly what this addendum does. But Deiman still isn't happy.

"I still don't think it's right. I really don't," Deiman said.

So here's the Contact 13 bottom line. Never sign any lease or addendum until you've read it completely. In some cases a lease may include a warning, that you'll occasionally face extra utility charges. If you agree to those terms, you could be legally obligated to sign an addendum.