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New Hampshire

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New Hampshire Counties
  • Belknap County, NH

  • Carroll County, NH

  • Cheshire County, NH

  • Coos County, NH

  • Grafton County, NH

  • Hillsborough County, NH

  • Merrimack County, NH

  • Rockingham County, NH

  • Strafford County, NH

  • Sullivan County, NH

Links to Legal Pages Based on State

2014 New Hampshire Revised Statutes
Title LV - PROCEEDINGS IN SPECIAL CASES
Chapter 540 - ACTIONS AGAINST TENANTS

  • Section 540:1 - Tenancies, Nature of.

  • Section 540:1-a - Definitions.

  • Section 540:1-b - Landlord's Agent Required.

  • Section 540:1-c - Penalty.

  • Section 540:2 - Termination of Tenancy.

  • Section 540:3 - Eviction Notice.

  • Section 540:4 - Demand.

  • Section 540:5 - Service of Demand and Eviction Notice.

  • Section 540:6 - Violation of Lease.

  • Section 540:7 - Demand of Rent.

  • Section 540:8 - Time of.

  • Section 540:9 - Payment After Notice.

  • Section 540:9-a - Payment by Voucher and Application of Rents Paid by a Municipality.

  • Section 540:10 - Holding Over.

  • Section 540:11 - Termination by Lessee.

  • Section 540:11-a - Termination by Members of the Armed Services.

  • Section 540:12 - Possessory Action.

  • Section 540:13 - Writ; Service; Discovery; Record; Default.

  • Section 540:13-a - Defense to Retaliation.

  • Section 540:13-b - Evidence of Intent to Retaliate.

  • Section 540:13-c - Discretionary Stay Dependent on Payment of Rent.

  • Section 540:13-d - Defenses to Violations of Fitness.

  • Section 540:13-e - Infestation of Bed Bugs: Liability for Costs of Remediation.

  • Section 540:14 - Judgment.

  • Section 540:15 - Neglect to Enter, etc.

  • Section 540:16 - General Issue.

  • Section 540:16-a - Hearsay Exception.

  • Section 540:17 - Plea of Title, Recognizance.

  • Section 540:18 - Effect of Plea, etc.

  • Section 540:19 - Neglect to Recognize.

  • Section 540:20 - Appeal.

  • Section 540:21 - Procedure on.

  • Section 540:22 - Neglect to Enter Appeal.

  • Section 540:23 - Plaintiff's Damages.

  • Section 540:24 - Recognizance, by Plaintiff.

  • Section 540:25 - Recognizance, by Defendant.

  • Section 540:26 - Other Remedies.

  • Section 540:27 - Landlord's Grantee.

  • Section 540:28 - Lease Provisions.

  • Section 540:29 - Conflict of Laws.

  • Section 540:30 - Unauthorized Practice of Law; Exception; Certain Employees and Members of Limited Liability Companies, Corporations, or Partnerships.

2014 New Hampshire Revised Statutes
Title LV - PROCEEDINGS IN SPECIAL CASES
Chapter 540-A - PROHIBITED PRACTICES AND SECURITY DEPOSITS

  • Section 540-A:1 - Definitions.

  • Section 540-A:2 - General Prohibition.

  • Section 540-A:3 - Certain Specific Acts Prohibited.

  • Section 540-A:4 - Remedies.

  • Section 540-A:5 - Definitions.

  • Section 540-A:6 - Procedure.

  • Section 540-A:7 - Return of Security Deposit.

  • Section 540-A:8 - Remedies.

2014 New Hampshire Revised Statutes
Title LV - PROCEEDINGS IN SPECIAL CASES
Chapter 540-B - RENTAL OF SHARED FACILITIES

  • Section 540-B:1 - Definition; Shared Facility.

  • Section 540-B:2 - Nature of Tenancy.

  • Section 540-B:3 - Termination of Tenancy; Notice of Termination.

  • Section 540-B:4 - Termination by Occupant.

  • Section 540-B:5 - Service of Notice.

  • Section 540-B:6 - Possessory Rights.

  • Section 540-B:7 - Remedies.

  • Section 540-B:8 - Possession.

  • Section 540-B:9 - Personal Property.

  • Section 540-B:10 - Security Deposit.

2014 New Hampshire Revised Statutes
Title LV - PROCEEDINGS IN SPECIAL CASES
Chapter 540-C - VACATION OR RECREATIONAL RENTAL UNITS

  • Section 540-C:1 - Covered Units.

  • Section 540-C:2 - Lease Required.

  • Section 540-C:3 - Removal Upon Expiration of Lease.

  • Section 540-C:4 - Civil Penalty.

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Cities in New Hampshire

  • Acworth, NH

  • Alstead, NH

  • Alton, NH

  • Amherst, NH

  • Andover, NH

  • Antrim, NH

  • Ashland, NH

  • Atkinson, NH

  • Auburn, NH

  • Barnstead, NH

  • Barrington, NH

  • Bartlett, NH

  • Bath, NH

  • Bedford, NH

  • Belmont, NH

  • Bennington, NH

  • Berlin, NH

  • Bethlehem, NH

  • Bow, NH

  • Bradford, NH

  • Bristol, NH

  • Brookline, NH

  • Campton, NH

  • Canaan, NH

  • Candia, NH

  • Canterbury, NH

  • Center Harbor, NH

  • Charlestown, NH

  • Chester, NH

  • Chesterfield, NH

  • Chichester, NH

  • Claremont, NH

  • Colebrook, NH

  • Concord, NH

  • Contoocook, NH

  • Conway, NH

  • Cornish, NH

  • Danbury, NH

  • Danville, NH

  • Deerfield, NH

  • Derry, NH

  • Dover, NH

  • Dublin, NH

  • Dunbarton, NH

  • Durham, NH

  • East Kingston, NH

  • Eaton Center, NH

  • Effingham, NH

  • Enfield, NH

  • Epping, NH

  • Epsom, NH

  • Errol, NH

  • Exeter, NH

  • Farmington, NH

  • Fitzwilliam, NH

  • Franconia, NH

  • Franklin, NH

  • Freedom, NH

  • Fremont, NH

  • Gilford, NH

  • Gilmanton, NH

  • Gilsum, NH

  • Goffstown, NH

  • Gorham, NH

  • Goshen, NH

  • Grafton, NH

  • Grantham, NH

  • Greenfield, NH

  • Greenland, NH

  • Greenville, NH

  • Groveton, NH

  • Hampstead, NH

  • Hampton Falls, NH

  • Hampton, NH

  • Hancock, NH

  • Hanover, NH

  • Harrisville, NH

  • Haverhill, NH

  • Hebron, NH

  • Henniker, NH

  • Hill, NH

  • Hillsboro, NH

  • Hinsdale, NH

  • Holderness, NH

  • Hollis, NH

  • Hooksett, NH

  • Hudson, NH

  • Jackson, NH

  • Jaffrey, NH

  • Jefferson, NH

  • Keene, NH

  • Kingston, NH

  • Laconia, NH

  • Lancaster, NH

  • Lebanon, NH

  • Lempster, NH

  • Lincoln, NH

  • Lisbon, NH

  • Litchfield, NH

  • Littleton, NH

  • Londonderry, NH

  • Loudon, NH

  • Lyme, NH

  • Lyndeborough, NH

  • Madison, NH

  • Manchester, NH

  • Marlborough, NH

  • Marlow, NH

  • Meredith, NH

  • Merrimack, NH

  • Milan, NH

  • Milford, NH

  • Milton, NH

  • Monroe, NH

  • Mont Vernon, NH

  • Moultonborough, NH

  • Nashua, NH

  • Nelson, NH

  • New Boston, NH

  • New Castle, NH

  • New Durham, NH

  • New Hampton, NH

  • New Ipswich, NH

  • New London, NH

  • Newbury, NH

  • Newfields, NH

  • Newmarket, NH

  • Newport, NH

  • Newton, NH

  • North Conway, NH

  • North Hampton, NH

  • Northwood, NH

  • Nottingham, NH

  • Orford, NH

  • Ossipee, NH

  • Pelham, NH

  • Peterborough, NH

  • Piermont, NH

  • Pittsburg, NH

  • Pittsfield, NH

  • Plainfield, NH

  • Plaistow, NH

  • Plymouth, NH

  • Portsmouth, NH

  • Raymond, NH

  • Rindge, NH

  • Rochester, NH

  • Rollinsford, NH

  • Rumney, NH

  • Rye, NH

  • Salem, NH

  • Salisbury, NH

  • Sanbornton, NH

  • Sandown, NH

  • Seabrook, NH

  • Somersworth, NH

  • Springfield, NH

  • Stoddard, NH

  • Strafford, NH

  • Stratham, NH

  • Sullivan, NH

  • Sunapee, NH

  • Suncook, NH

  • Swanzey, NH

  • Tamworth, NH

  • Tilton, NH

  • Troy, NH

  • Walpole, NH

  • Warner, NH

  • Warren, NH

  • Washington, NH

  • Waterville Valley, NH

  • Weare, NH

  • Wentworth, NH

  • West Swanzey, NH

  • Westmoreland, NH

  • Whitefield, NH

  • Wilmot, NH

  • Wilton, NH

  • Winchester, NH

  • Windham, NH

  • Wolfeboro, NH

  • Woodstock, NH

  • Woodsville, NH

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Step 1: Send an Eviction Notice 

All Lease Violations 

Month-to-Month 

Notices are served either for lease violations or a month-to-month tenancy, each of which requires a certain number of days for notice. 

 

All Lease Violations (Notice to Quit) Tenants are subject to eviction if they’re responsible for substantial damages to the property, have failed to comply with a term of their lease, or their behavior adversely affects the health and safety of other tenants.1 In such circumstances, they have 30 days to remedy the issue(s) or vacate. For non-payment of rent, a landlord must deliver the Notice to Quit along with a Demand for Rent Form, informing the tenant of their right to avoid eviction by payment in full within 7 days, which may include any damages.2 Notice timeframes for each violation are as follows: 

Non-payment of Rent: Seven (7) Days 

Non-Compliance: Thirty (30) Days 

Substantial Property Damage: Seven (7) Days 

Failure to Accept Temporary Relocation: Seven (7) Days 

Failure to Prepare Rental Unit for Treatment: Thirty (30) Days 

Illegal Activity: Seven (7) Days 

Month to Month (30-Day Notice to Quit) Both the tenant and landlord are required to give the other party 30 days’ notice in the event that they wish to terminate a month to month rental agreement.  

Step 2: Wait to Hear from the Tenant  

A tenant may not be evicted without an order from the court.3 Therefore, landlords should wait to hear from the tenant within the timeframe of the notice to quit period.  

If the eviction is for non-payment of rent, they may seek Town or City Welfare in an effort to pay the amount due, plus $15 in what’s called liquidated damages.4 

Step 3: File in Court  

Average Processing Time: 10 Days5 

Filing Fees: $1256 

Where to File: Local District Court 

Forms to File:  

Affidavit of Damages and Statement of Claim — nonpayment evictions and claims attempting to recover any damages must include a notarized Affidavit of Damages and Statement of Claim. 

 

Affidavit of Ownership — The state refers to this document as a sworn claim of ownership of the property in question. 

 

Affidavit of Military Service — If applicable, a party in the case will state their military service.  

 

Appearance Form — An Appearance form will be turned in by the tenant to document their presence at their eviction hearing.  

 

Step 4: Serve the Tenant  

Once the complaint is filed with the Local District Court, the landlord must serve the tenant the Complaint and Summons by:7 

Giving them a copy in person; or  

Leaving a copy at their residence  

If a tenant chooses to contest the eviction, they must have filed an appearance with the court by the return day listed on their writ.8 The return date is not a hearing day, rather it is the tenant’s deadline to file for their appearance.  

Step 5: Attend a Hearing  

If the tenant didn’t file an appearance, the court may rule in favor of the landlord and order the tenant to move out. If they did file an appearance, the hearing will be held within 10 days of the date an appearance was filed with the court, and either party has the right to request a continuance that will then be scheduled within 30 days.

Step 6: Obtain a Writ of Possession  

A ruling in favor of the landlord or default judgment against the tenant will result in the court issuing a writ of possession.8 In the case of non-payment, the landlord may accept payment of rental arrearage before the writ of possession is issued and the eviction process will end.9 

If the tenant appeared at their hearing and judgment fell in favor of the landlord, the writ won’t be issued for 7 days, giving the tenant time to file an appeal if they wish.10 

Step 7: Repossess the Property  

Tenants have the right to request a stay of execution for up to 3 months and the court may grant the stay if circumstances require it.11 New Hampshire state law doesn’t specify a timeline in which the sheriff may eventually be directed to execute the writ and return possession of the property to the landlord. 

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Landlord Terms
  • Abandonment 

    A landlord may consider rental property as abandoned by the tenant once rent has not been paid for a set time along with visual evidence of the tenant’s disappearance such as the accumulation of unopened mail, unkempt premises, or statements from neighbors. Usually, the landlord must make a good faith effort to locate the tenant for a reasonable time, usually 30 days, before reclaiming the property and disposing of or selling any of the tenant’s unclaimed possessions. 

  • Assignment of Rent 

    A clause found in trust deeds whereby rent is included as addtional security to the real property described in a trust deed. The clause transfers to the lender the right to collect rental income from the income-producing property if there is a default on the note or other secured obligation that is held by the beneficiary or lender. 

  • Complaint in Unlawful Detainer 

    A formal lawsuit used by a landlord after having given appropriate written notice to a tenant to vacate leased property within a set time based on the tenant’s breach of a material provision of the lease or by nonpayment of rent. It is typically a summary proceeding where the tenant has a shortened period to file a written answer or response to the lawsuit and to appear in court for an eviction hearing within a short period after service of the action or the filing of a response by the tenant. 

  • Contract for Deed 

    Also referred to as a land contract or installment land contract, it is a contract for the sale of real property whereby the seller finances the transaction instead of a third party lender. The seller retains legal title to the property until the contract is satisfied and can more easily cancel the contract and repossess the property should the buyer fail to make the required payments or not fulfill other obligations without the need for foreclosure action or judicial action. 

  • Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment 

    An implied covenant in every residential lease agreement that a tenant has the right to undisturbed use of the rental property including excluding others from the premises, to peace and quiet, and to a safe and clean unit along with essential services such as hot water, heat, plumbing and electricity. A breach of this convenant by a landlord may entitle the tenant to withhold rent until the conditon is remedied or to vacate the property and terminate the lease. 

  • Default Judgment 

    A court issued judgment in favor of the landlord in cases where a tenant fails to respond to a summons and complaint for unlawful detainer or other eviction action, or where the tenant fails to appear at an eviction hearing, and which allows the landlord to request an order that the tenant vacate the premises. A tenant also may receive a default judgment if the landlord fails to appear at the hearing. 

  • Demurrer 

    A legal pleading used by tenants in some eviction cases wherein a party may agree with the underlying facts of a lawsuit but objects to certain allegations or counts in a complaint by arguing that it lacks legal sufficiency, validity or does not contain enough facts to support the opposing party’s cause of action. If sustained by the court, most courts will allow the opposing party to attempt to amend its complaint to cure the deficiency. 

  • Discriminatory Eviction 

    An unlawful eviction based upon a person’s protected status, which includes race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual preference, pregnancy, marital status, children or disability. 

  • Eviction 

    A legal or judicial process by which a landlord or landowner forces a tenant to vacate the leased property and terminate the rental agreement for failure to pay rent, to follow certain terms of the lease or who has stayed beyond the expiration of the lease term. 

  • Eviction Notice 

    A written statement that must be properly served or delivered to a tenant that contains certain language required by that jurisdiction, typically including the landlord’s declaration that the tenant has breached a specific material provision of the lease, has failed to pay a specified amount of rent on time, or committed some other substantial breach of the landlord/tenant relationship, and that the tenant must either vacate by a certain date or remedy the breach before a set date or the lease agreement will terminate. It must also state that legal proceedings will commence to expel the tenant from the leased property. 

  • Fair Housing Act 

    The Fair Housing Act is part of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 and was designed to eliminate bias and discrimination in renting and in home sales on the basis of a person’s personal characteristics including race, religion, creed, national origin, gender, family status or disability. Suspected violations are reported to fair housing councils in a local area, a state’s department of fair employment and housing or to a private attorney for civil remedies. 

  • Forcible Entry 

    Entry by a landlord upon leased property without the consent of the occupier or tenant. It also refers to a tenant who remains on the property after termination of the lease or after receiving written demand of possession by the landlord. 

  • Forfeiture 

    A concept whereby a landlord may claim that a tenant has forfeited his or her rights under a rental agreement because of nonpayment of rent, violation of a material provison in the lease, or by committing criminal acts on the premises. It is also a concept in land contract cases where the seller declares the buyer to have forfeited the contract if the obligations of the contract are not fulfilled or has engaged in conduct that violates the contract. 

  • Holdover 

    A holdover is a tenant who has remained on leased property after expiration of the rental term, who has used the premises for illegal activity or who has violated a provision of the lease other than nonpayment of rent. Some states use holdover petitions to evict a tenant. 

  • Landlord 

    A person or entity that leases or rents property to another person or organization and is referred to as a lessor. A landlord has certain obligations to the tenant either through a written rental agreement or which are implied or specified by state law. 

  • Lease 

    A written or implied contract with a certain duration that allows a lessee to use or occupy property subject to its terms. 

  • Lease Option 

    A contract wherein the buyer pays the seller of real property money to secure an option to purchase the property at a later time, usually at an agreed future price, and to lease the property for a set rental amount over a predetermined time. The buyer is not obligated to buy the property during the option period and no other person may buy it until the option expires. 

  • Leasehold 

    A form of temporary right to property acquired under a lease or rental agreement for a set time at a certain price or rent. A leasehold is considered personal property. 

  • Low Income Tax Credit Properties 

    An affordable housing program also known as LIHTC for low income renters that permits investors to take a dollar-for-dollar tax reduction or credits pursuant Section 42 of the tax code and which currently accounts for the majority of affordable rental housing in the US. Most tax credit projects are able to qualify for government subsidies at below market interest rates. 

  • Nuisance 

    Any conduct or activity by a tenant that usually must be egregious in nature that materially affects the health or safety of other tenants or other people in the community. This could include unhealthy habits leading to infestations of vermin or insects, foul odors, chronic excessive noise or other conduct that interferes with another person’s right to quiet enjoyment of their property. 

  • Retaliatory Eviction 

    An unlawful eviction based on a tenant’s complaining to the landlord or to a governmental agency, or for participating in or joining a tenant’s union. 

  • Section 8 Housing 

    A federal housing program that provides rental subsidies to qualified, low-income renters and homeowners who must demonstrate that their income is below 50 percent of the applicant’s area median income. A Section 8 housing voucher may be used in any housing authority in the US, regardless of where the recipient received it. 

  • Self-Eviction 

    Unlawful activities or conduct by a landlord or the landlord’s representatives that are designed to forcibly evict or cause a tenant to vacate the leased property without using the judicial process. This includes shutting off the utilities, denying the tenant access to the property, threatening the tenant or creating conditons that make the property unfit to live in. 

  • Sublease 

    A rental agreement between the tenant or lessee and a third party that allows that party, called the sublessee, to use the lessee’s rental unit or property for a set time and who is obligated to the lessee. A lessee is still responsible for paying rent to the lessor or landlord for the duration of the underlying lease term. 

  • Tenancy 

    The period of a tenant’s right to possess and use the property of another under a lease and usually upon payment of rent or the performance of services. 

  • Tenant 

    A person or entity that leases property from another and who is referred to as a lessee, who by paying rent has rights of possession and limited use of the property for a set time, usually pursuant to a written lease or oral agreement. A tenant has certain obligations to the landlord to abide by the terms of the lease. 

  • Trade Fixtures 

    An item or piece of equipment used by a tenant in his or her trade or business that may be removed from the leased business property at the expiration of the lease term. Such fixtures may ordinarily be considered part of the real property and not removeable if not for their business or trade status. 

  • Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act 

    A model code or legislative act that addresses residential landlord and tenant interactions and which has been adopted with many variations by most states. The act was designed to introduce more fairness and uniformity in landlord/tenant laws and to specify the statutory obligations of tenants and landlords.

 

  • Warranty of Habitability 

    An implied obligation by the landlord in every rental agreement to provide and maintain an apartment or unit in a safe and habitable condition. This includes providing running water, electricity, heat and a structurally sound premises. The landlord’s failure to provide these services or essentials may permit a tenant to unilaterally terminate a lease, pay reduced rent, make self-repairs and deduct the costs from the rent or withhold the entire rent until the conditions are remedied. 

  • Writ of Possession 

    A court order granted after an eviction hearing or default whereby the landlord is granted possession of rental property and which advises the tenant to vacate the leased property by a certain date or be subject to forcible removal by the sheriff. A writ is served on the tenant by the sheriff or authorized law enforcement personnel. 

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Chapter 540
ACTIONS AGAINST TENANTS

 

Section 540:1

    540:1 Tenancies, Nature of. – Every tenancy or occupancy shall be deemed to be at will, and the rent payable upon demand, unless a different contract is shown.

Source. RS 209:5. CS 222:5. GS 231:5. GL 250:5. PS 246:1. PL 357:1. RL 413:1.

Section 540:1-a

   

540:1-a Definitions.
In this chapter:
I. "Nonrestricted property" means all real property rented for nonresidential purposes and the following real property rented for residential purposes:

 

(a) Single-family houses, if the owner of such a house does not own more than 3 single-family houses at any one time.

 

(b) Rental units in an owner-occupied building containing a total of 4 dwelling units or fewer.

 

(c) [Repealed.]

 

(d) Single-family houses acquired by banks or other mortgagees through foreclosure.

 

II. "Restricted property" means all real property rented for residential purposes, except those properties listed in paragraph I.

 

III. "Rental unit" means a suite of one or more rooms located within a single building rented by the owner to one or more individuals living in common for nontransient residential purposes.

 

IV. The term "tenant" or "tenancy" shall not include occupants or occupancy in the following places and the provisions of this chapter shall not apply to:

 

(a) Rooms in rooming or boarding houses which are rented to transient guests for fewer than 90 consecutive days. For purposes of this subparagraph, if the owner of the facility directs the occupant to move from one room to another in the same rooming or boarding house, or directs the occupant to move from one of the owner's rooming or boarding houses to another, the 90-day period for computing consecutive days of occupancy shall not be broken. Consecutive days of occupancy shall not include a voluntary move from one room to another if the move was made at the request of the occupant after the occupant has been notified of the exemption from tenancy under this subparagraph. Such request shall be in writing and shall include the following statement:
"I request a move from ________________ to _______________. I have received a copy of RSA 540:1-a, IV(a) and understand that any time I spent in the first room shall not apply toward the 90 consecutive days of occupancy required for tenancy under RSA 540."

 

(b) Rooms in hotels, motels, inns, tourist homes and other dwellings rented for recreational or vacation use.

 

(c) Rooms in student dormitories, nursing homes, hospitals and any other facilities licensed under RSA 151 or certified under RSA 126-A, convents, monasteries, asylums, or group homes.

 

(d) A single-family home in which the occupant has no lease, which is the primary and usual residence of the owner.

 

(e) Residential real estate under RSA 540-B.

 

(f) Vacation or recreational rental units under RSA 540-C.

 

(g) Residential units leased by a member of a fraternal or social organization that provides student housing for a postsecondary institution in a structure owned and operated by the fraternal or social organization.

 

(h) Occupancies in which the occupant is hired to provide care or assistance for a person with disabilities. In such cases, if the person with disabilities or his or her legal guardian no longer wishes the assistance of the caregiver, he or she may order the caregiver to vacate the premises without legal process required as a tenant under this chapter, provided:

 

(1) There is a written agreement specifying that care or assistance authorizes summary ejection of the caregiver; and

 

(2) The caregiver is given written notice directing him or her to vacate the premises in not less than 72 hours; and

 

(3) If the agreement between the parties provides for compensation for the care provider beyond free housing, prior to the time the caregiver vacates the premises, the person with disabilities or the legal guardian pays the caregiver any money due under the agreement for services rendered.

 

Source. 1985, 249:1. 2001, 277:1. 2006, 312:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2007. 2010, 203:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2011. 2013, 61:3, eff. June 6, 2013; 253:1, eff. July 24, 2013. 2014, 93:1, eff. Aug. 10, 2014. 2018, 189:1, eff. Aug. 7, 2018.

Section 540:1-b

    540:1-b Landlord's Agent Required.

 

I. An owner of restricted property, as defined in RSA 540:1-a, II, who resides within the state of New Hampshire shall, within 30 days of becoming the owner or within 30 days of the effective date of this section, whichever occurs later, file a statement with the town or city clerk of the municipality in which the property is located that provides the name, address, and telephone number of a person within the state who is authorized to accept service of process for any legal proceeding brought against the owner relating to the restricted property. Such person authorized to accept service may be the owner of the premises. This section shall not apply to manufactured housing parks as defined in RSA 205-A:1, II.

 

II. An owner of restricted property who resides outside the state of New Hampshire shall, within 30 days of becoming the owner or within 30 days of the effective date of this section, whichever occurs later, file a statement with the town or city clerk of the municipality in which the property is located that provides the name, address, and telephone number of a person within the state who is authorized to accept service of process for any legal proceeding brought against the owner relating to the restricted property.

 

III. In any legal proceeding in which the property owner resides out of state and said owner fails to: (a) comply with paragraph II, and (b) appear in said proceeding, service of process pursuant to RSA 510:4 shall create a rebuttable presumption that such service was lawful and adequate. As used in this section the term "legal proceeding" includes, but is not limited to, any action at law or in equity or for the enforcement of any provision of RSA 48-A:14, or any housing code adopted by a municipality pursuant to RSA 48-A, or for the enforcement of any municipal health code, building code, or fire or life safety code. A municipality may establish a reasonable filing fee to cover the cost to the town or city clerk of maintaining a record of the filings required by this section.

 

IV. [Repealed.]

 

Source. 2010, 203:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2011. 2011, 247:3, eff. July 13, 2011. 2014, 77:4, eff. Jan. 1, 2015.

Section 540:1-c

    540:1-c Penalty. – The governing body of a municipality may establish a fine not to exceed $100 for the failure to file a statement designating an agent for service of process as required under RSA 540:1-b. Any such fine may be collected in the same manner as a fine for violation of a municipal ordinance, and shall be for the use of the municipality.

 

Source. 2014, 77:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2015.

 

Section 540:2

    540:2 Termination of Tenancy. –


I. The lessor or owner of nonrestricted property may terminate any tenancy by giving to the tenant or occupant a notice in writing to quit the premises in accordance with RSA 540:3 and 5.

 

II. The lessor or owner of restricted property may terminate any tenancy by giving to the tenant or occupant a notice in writing to quit the premises in accordance with RSA 540:3 and 5, but only for one of the following reasons:

 

(a) Neglect or refusal to pay rent due and in arrears, upon demand.

 

(b) Substantial damage to the premises by the tenant, members of his household, or guests.

 

(c) Failure of the tenant to comply with a material term of the lease.

 

(d) Behavior of the tenant or members of his family which adversely affects the health or safety of the other tenants or the landlord or his representatives, or failure of the tenant to accept suitable temporary relocation due to lead-based paint hazard abatement, as set forth in RSA 130-A:8-a, I.

 

(e) Other good cause.

 

(f) The dwelling unit contains a lead exposure-hazard which the owner will abate by:

 

(1) Methods other than interim controls or encapsulation;

 

(2) Any other method which can reasonably be expected to take more than 30 days to perform; or

 

(3) Removing the dwelling unit from the residential rental market.

 

(g) Willful failure by the tenant to prepare the unit for remediation of an infestation of insects or rodents, including bed bugs, after receipt of reasonable written notice of the required preparations and reasonable time to complete them.

 

III. If the grounds for eviction is other good cause as set forth in paragraph II(e) of this section, and such cause is based on the actions or inactions of the tenant, members of his family, or guests, the landlord shall, prior to the issuance of the eviction notice, provide the tenant with written notice stating that in the future such actions or inactions would constitute grounds for eviction. Such notice shall be served in accordance with RSA 540:5 or by certified mail.

 

IV. A tenant's refusal to agree to a change in the existing rental agreement calling for an increase in the amount of rent shall constitute good cause for eviction under paragraph II(e) of this section, provided that the landlord provided the tenant with written notice of the amount and effective date of the rent increase at least 30 days prior to the effective date of the increase.

 

V. "Other good cause" as set forth in paragraph II(e) of this section includes, but is not limited to, any legitimate business or economic reason and need not be based on the action or inaction of the tenant, members of his family, or guests.

 

VI. No tenancy shall be terminated for nonpayment of rent if:

 

(a) The tenant was forced to take over the landlord's utility payments in order to prevent utility services, which the landlord agreed to provide, from being terminated;

 

(b) The amount of rent which the tenant is in arrears does not exceed the amount paid by the tenant to maintain utility service to the tenant's premises; and

 

(c) The tenant has receipts from the utility company or other proof of payment of the amount paid to maintain utility service.

 

VII.

(a) No lessor or owner of restricted property shall terminate a tenancy solely based on a tenant or a household member of a tenant having been a victim of domestic violence as defined in RSA 173-B, sexual assault as defined in RSA 632-A, or stalking as defined in RSA 633:3-a, provided that the tenant or household member of a tenant who is the victim provides the lessor or owner with written verification that the tenant or household member of a tenant who is the victim has obtained a valid protective order against the perpetrator of the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

 

(b) A tenant who has obtained a protective order from a court of competent jurisdiction granting him or her possession of a dwelling to the exclusion of one or more other tenants or household members may request that a lock be replaced or configured for a new key at the tenant's expense. The lessor or owner shall, if provided a copy of the protective order, comply with the request and shall not give copies of the new keys to the tenant or household member restrained or excluded by the protective order.

 

(c) A lessor or owner who replaces a lock or configures a lock for a new key in accordance with subparagraph (b) shall not be liable for any damages that result directly from the lock replacement or reconfiguration.

 

(d) If, after a hearing in the possessory action, the court finds that there are grounds under this section to evict the tenant or household member accused of the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, it may issue a judgment in favor of the lessor or owner of the property against the person accused, and allow the tenancy of the remainder of the residents to continue undisturbed. The lessor or owner of the rental unit at issue in the possessory action shall have the right to bar the person accused of the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking from the unit and from the lessor's or owner's property once judgment in the possessory action becomes final against such person. Thereafter, and notwithstanding RSA 635:2, the person's entry upon the lessor's or owner's property after being notified in writing that he or she has been barred from the property shall constitute a trespass.

 

(e) Nothing in this section shall preclude eviction for nonpayment of rent. A landlord may evict on any grounds set forth in RSA 540:2, II which are unrelated to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

 

(f) The defense set forth in subparagraph VII(a) shall be an affirmative defense to possessory actions brought pursuant to subparagraph II(b), (c), (d), or (e) of this section.

Source. RS 209:1. CS 222:1. GS 231:1. GL 250:1. PS 246:2. PL 357:2. RL 413:2. RSA 540:2. 1985, 249:2. 1993, 325:5, 6. 1996, 139:2. 2006, 192:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2007. 2010, 285:1, eff. Oct. 6, 2010. 2013, 48:7, eff. Jan. 1, 2014.

Section 540:3

    540:3 Eviction Notice.

 

I. If a nonresidential tenant neglects or refuses to pay rent due and in arrears, upon demand, 7 days' notice shall be sufficient; if the rent is payable more frequently than once in 3 months, whether such rent is due or not, a notice equal to the rent period shall be sufficient, and 3 months' notice shall be sufficient in all cases.

 

II. For all residential tenancies, 30 days' notice shall be sufficient in all cases; provided, however, that 7 days' notice shall be sufficient if the reason for the termination is as set forth in RSA 540:2, II(a), (b), or (d).

 

III. The eviction notice shall state with specificity the reason for the eviction.

 

IV. If the eviction notice is based on nonpayment of rent, the notice shall inform the tenant of his or her right, if any, to avoid the eviction by payment of the arrearages and liquidated damages in accordance with RSA 540:9.

 

V. For the purpose of interpreting or enforcing any lease or rental agreement for residential tenants in effect on July 1, 2006, a notice to quit shall be deemed an eviction notice under this section.

Source. RS 209:2. CS 222:2. GS 231:2. GL 250:2. PS 246:3. PL 357:3. 1939, 63:1. RL 413:3. RSA 540:3. 1979, 305:2. 1985, 249:3. 1988, 100:1. 2006, 192:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2007.

 

Section 540:4

    540:4 Demand. – Such demand shall be sufficient if made upon the tenant or occupant at any time after the rent becomes due and prior to or simultaneously with the service of such eviction notice.

Source. 1915, 37:1. PL 357:4. RL 413:4. 1999, 6:1. 2006, 192:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2007.

 

Section 540:5

    540:5 Service of Demand and Eviction Notice. –

 

I. Any notice of a demand for rent or an eviction notice may be served by any person and may be served upon the tenant personally or left at his or her last and usual place of abode. In the case of commercial rental property, service of process may be made at such property provided that a copy of the demand for rent or eviction notice shall be sent by certified mail to the commercial tenant at his or her last known legal address or, for non-residents, by certified mail to the tenant's registered agent if there is a registered agent for the tenant duly registered with the New Hampshire secretary of state or, if there is no such registered agent, by certified mail to the tenant's last known legal address. Proof of service must be shown by a true and attested copy of the notice accompanied by an affidavit of service, but the affidavit need not be sworn under oath. A notice of a demand for rent shall be sufficient if served upon the tenant at any time after the rent becomes due and prior to or simultaneously with the service of an eviction notice.

 

II. The district court shall provide forms for a demand for rent and eviction notice in the district court clerks' offices and on the New Hampshire judicial branch website. Although a landlord shall not be required to use the forms, a valid demand for rent or eviction notice shall include the same information as is requested and provided on such forms.

Source. 1915, 37:1. PL 357:5. RL 413:5. RSA 540:5. 1979, 305:3. 1999, 6:2. 2006, 192:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2007. 2011, 208:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2012. 2013, 87:1, eff. Aug. 19, 2013.

Section 540:6

    540:6 Repealed by 1985, 249:10, I, eff. Aug. 6, 1985.

Section 540:7

    540:7 Demand of Rent. – Where, to constitute a forfeiture for a violation of the condition of a written lease, a demand of rent is required such demand may be made as provided RSA 540:5.

Source. 1905, 57:1. PL 357:7. RL 413:7.

Section 540:8

    540:8 Time of. – Such demand may be made when the rent is due or while it is in arrears, but the lessor shall not demand a greater sum than the whole rent in arrears when demand is made.

Source. 1905, 57:1. PL 357:8. RL 413:8.

Section 540:9

    540:9 Payment After Notice. –

 

I. Any possessory action based solely on nonpayment of rent shall be dismissed if both of the following occur:

 

(a) The tenant, at any time prior to the hearing on the merits, pays to the landlord, in cash, certified check, prepaid money order, electronic transfer, or other guaranteed or immediately drawable funds, including any form of payment specified in 540:9-a, I, all rent due and owing through the time of such payment plus other lawful charges contained in the lease, $15 liquidated damages, and any filing fee and service charges incurred by the landlord in connection with the possessory action; and

 

(b) The landlord also submits prior to the hearing date a receipt of such payment to court and states in writing that a copy of same receipt has also been forwarded to the tenant prior to the time and date of the hearing on the merits. If the landlord fails to file such receipt the hearing on the merits shall proceed, and if the tenant proves that payment has been made in accordance with subparagraph (a), the case shall be dismissed.

 

II. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph I, a tenant may not defeat an eviction for nonpayment of rent by use of this section more than 3 times within a 12-month period.

Source. 1905, 57:1. PL 357:9. RL 413:9. RSA 540:9. 1985, 249:4. 2000, 155:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2001. 2021, 152:2, Pt. I, Sec. 1, eff. July 23, 2021.

Section 540:9-a

    540:9-a Payment by Voucher and Application of Rents Paid by a Municipality. –


I. Any rental payment or partial rental payment tendered by the tenant in the form of a written promise to pay on behalf of the tenant by the state, a county or a municipality of this state, or a payment by any organization which disburses federal or state funds, and any application by a municipality of amounts owed to it by a landlord pursuant to RSA 165:4-a, shall constitute payment by the tenant of the amount represented in the voucher, and of any amount applied by a municipality to delinquent balances of the landlord; provided, that this section shall not be construed to obligate a landlord to accept partial rental payments.

 

II. In any eviction based on non-payment of rent, it shall be an affirmative defense that:

 

(a) The tenant tendered timely payment pursuant to paragraph I, and such payment was refused; or

 

(b) The tenant could have tendered timely payment pursuant to paragraph I had the landlord provided ordinary and reasonable verification of rental information requested by the agency.

Source. 1988, 100:2. 1992, 184:3. 2000, 48:1. 2006, 192:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2007. 2007, 153:1, eff. Aug. 17, 2007. 2021, 152:2, Pt. I, Sec. 2, eff. July 23, 2021.

Section 540:10

    540:10 Repealed by 1985, 249:10, II, eff. Aug. 6, 1985.

Section 540:11

    540:11 Termination by Lessee. –


I. A lessee may terminate his or her lease by notice in writing, in the same manner as the lessor, and the notice shall have the same effect for all purposes as a notice by the lessor to the lessee.

 

II. A tenancy at will, from month to month, may be terminated by the lessee upon 30 days notice; provided that if the date of termination given in the notice does not coincide with the rent due date, the lessee is responsible for the rent for the entire month in which the notice expires, up to the next rent due date, unless the terms of the lease provide otherwise.

Source. RS 209:6. CS 222:6. GS 231:6. GL 250:6. PS 246:6. PL 357:11. RL 413:11. 2018, 18:1, eff. July 14, 2018.

Section 540:11-a

    540:11-a Termination by Members of the Armed Services. –


I. A lessee may terminate his or her lease, or a tenant may terminate a rental agreement when the lessee or tenant is:

 

(a) A member of the armed services reserve who is called to active duty.

 

(b) A member of the national guard who is called to active duty.

 

(c) A member of the armed services on active duty who is reassigned to a location out of the state.

 

II. The lessee or tenant shall give notice of termination within 7 days of receipt of notice of being called to active duty or being reassigned out of the state.

 

III. The lessee or tenant shall terminate the lease or rental agreement by a written notice in accordance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Public Law 108-189, Section 305.

Source. 2004, 135:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2005.

Section 540:12

    540:12 Possessory Action. – The owner, lessor, or purchaser at a mortgage foreclosure sale of any tenement or real estate may recover possession thereof from a lessee, occupant, mortgagor, or other person in possession, holding it without right, after notice in writing to quit the same as herein prescribed.

Source. RS 209:7. CS 222:7. GS 231:7. GL 250:7. PS 246:7. PL 357:12. 1939, 53:2. RL 413:12.

Section 540:13

    540:13 Writ; Service; Discovery; Record; Default. –


I. A writ of summons may be issued, returnable before a district court, setting forth in substance that the plaintiff is entitled to the possession of the demanded premises, and that the defendant is in possession thereof without right, after notice in writing, to quit the same at a day named therein.

 

II. The writ shall be accompanied by a notice from the district court, printed in no smaller than 12-point type, informing the tenant that:

 

(a) If the tenant wishes to contest the eviction, he must file an appearance in the district court no later than the return day appearing on the writ.

 

(b) The tenant shall not be evicted unless the court so orders; however, such an order may be granted if the tenant does not file an appearance.

 

(c) At the time the tenant files his appearance, he may request that the court make a sound recording of the eviction hearing by checking an appropriate box on the appearance form.

 

(d) If the tenant wishes to appeal the district court's decision, he must:

 

(1) File a notice of intent to appeal with the district court within 7 days of the notice of the district's decision; and

 

(2) File a notice of appeal in the supreme court within 30 days of the notice of the district court's decision; and

 

(3) Pay all rent, as it comes due, between the date of the notice of intent to appeal the district court's decision and the final disposition of the appeal.

 

III. The writ of summons and the notice provided in paragraph II shall be returnable 7 days from the date of service of the writ by the sheriff. The writ of summons shall provide an opportunity for the landlord, at the landlord's option, to make a claim for an award of unpaid rent. If the landlord elects to make a claim for unpaid rent, the court shall consider any defense, claim, or counterclaim by the tenant which offsets or reduces the amount owed to the plaintiff. If the court finds that the landlord is entitled to possession on the ground of nonpayment of rent, it shall also award the landlord a money judgment. If the court determines that the amount owed by the landlord to the tenant, as a result of set-off or counterclaim exceeds or equals the amount of rent and other lawful charges owed by the tenant to the landlord, judgment in the possessory action shall be granted in favor of the tenant. If the court finds that the tenant's counterclaim exceeds the amount of the nonpayment, a money judgment shall issue in favor of the tenant. Any decision rendered by the court related to a money judgment, shall be limited to a maximum of $1,500 and shall not preclude either party from making a subsequent claim in a court of competent jurisdiction to recover any additional amounts not covered by the $1,500 judgment.

 

IV. Both parties shall have a right to engage in discovery prior to the hearing on the merits within such time frame as may be established for eviction actions by the Rules of the District Court.

 

V. If the tenant files an appearance, a hearing shall be scheduled to occur within 10 days after such filing, with allowance for additional time pursuant to paragraph IV, with notice of the hearing mailed to the parties no fewer than 6 days prior to the hearing. If the tenant fails to file an appearance or fails to appear at the hearing on the merits, the court shall mail a notice of default to the address set forth on the summons at least 3 days prior to the issuance of the writ of possession.

 

VI. In deciding any contested hearing, the court shall issue a written decision setting forth the basis for its decision.

 

VII. In the case of nonpayment of rent, while the possessory action is pending, the landlord may accept payment of the rental arrearage without creating a new tenancy, provided that the landlord informs the tenant in writing of the landlord's intention to proceed with the eviction in spite of the landlord's acceptance of the payment. The landlord may choose not to accept payment and to proceed with the eviction.

Source. RS 209:8, 9. CS 222:8, 9. GS 231:8. GL 250:8. PS 246:8. PL 357:13. RL 413:13. RSA 540:13. 1957, 244:23. 1992, 284:87. 1996, 155:1, 2. 1998, 25:1, 2, eff. Jan. 1, 1999.

Section 540:13-a

    540:13-a Defense to Retaliation. –
Except in cases in which the tenant owes the landlord the equivalent of one week's rent or more, it shall be a defense to any possessory action, as to residential property, that such possessory action was in retaliation for the tenant:


I. Reporting a violation or reporting in good faith what the tenant reasonably believes to be a violation of RSA 540-A or an unreasonable and substantial violation of a regulation or housing code to the landlord or any board, agency or authority having powers of inspection, regulation or enforcement as to the reasonable fitness of said residential property for health or safety;

 

II. Initiating an action in good faith pursuant to RSA 540-A or availing himself of the procedures of RSA 540:13-d; or

 

III. Meeting or gathering with other tenants for any lawful purpose.

Source. 1972, 26:1. 1979, 305:4, eff. Aug. 21, 1979.

Section 540:13-b

    540:13-b Evidence of Intent to Retaliate. –
Unless the court finds that the act of the tenant in making a report or complaint or in initiating an action or in organizing relative to alleged violations by a landlord was primarily intended to prevent any eviction, a rebuttable presumption that such possessory action was in retaliation of the tenant's action shall be created when any possessory action, increase in rent or any substantial alteration in the terms of the tenancy is instituted by a landlord within 6 months after:


I. The landlord received notice of any such alleged violation provided that:

 

(a) The tenant mailed, gave in hand to, or left at the abode of the landlord notice of the report or complaint of the alleged violation; or

 

(b) The landlord received notice of the complaint or report from the board, agency or authority; or

 

II. The landlord completed repairs or otherwise successfully remedied such violation; or

 

III. The landlord received notice that the tenant had initiated an action pursuant to RSA 540-A; or

 

IV. The discovery by the landlord of activity protected by RSA 540:13-a, III.

Source. 1972, 26:1. 1979, 305:4. 1985, 249:5, eff. Aug. 6, 1985.

Section 540:13-c

    540:13-c Discretionary Stay Dependent on Payment of Rent. –


I. If the defendant defaults, or confesses judgment, or if on trial the court rules that the landlord has sustained his complaint, judgment shall be rendered that the landlord recover possession of the premises and costs. A writ of possession shall be issued, provided that, the court may order the tenant shall not be dispossessed until a date not later than 3 months from such default, confession of judgment, or ruling of the court, provided the court decides that under all the circumstances justice requires such stay, based on the reasonableness and good faith of the parties in their respective reports, complaints, demands, and evidence. In the event of any such stay of dispossession, the tenant shall pay the landlord weekly in advance the weekly former rent, or the proportional weekly part of the former rent if rent was payable less often than weekly, and on default of any such advance weekly payment a writ of possession shall be issued and the sheriff shall evict the tenant as soon as possible.

 

II. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the parties in a case of nonpayment of rent from agreeing that, in spite of judgment for the plaintiff, a writ of possession shall not be issued, if the defendant makes payments in accordance with a schedule designated in the agreement. The agreement may incorporate the arrearage, future rent due, court costs, and service fees. The agreement shall be filed with the court and shall state the date when final payment of the arrearage, court costs, and service fees are due. Entering into such an agreement shall waive the defendant's right to appeal.

 

(a) Every such agreement shall conspicuously state in a separate paragraph at the end of the agreement the following language:
I, TENANT/DEFENDANT IN THIS ACTION, UNDERSTAND THAT IF I FAIL TO MAKE ANY OF THE PAYMENTS CALLED FOR IN THIS AGREEMENT ON TIME, THE COURT MAY ORDER THE SHERIFF TO EVICT ME WITHOUT A HEARING. I ALSO UNDERSTAND THAT BY SIGNING THIS AGREEMENT I AM GIVING UP MY RIGHT TO FILE ANY APPEAL IN THIS CASE.

 

(b) If the plaintiff has not filed an affidavit of non-compliance within 14 days of the date that the final payment under the agreement established under this paragraph is due, the court shall dismiss the action.

 

(c) The acceptance of any payment pursuant to such an agreement shall not establish a new tenancy.

 

(d) If payments are not made when due, as evidenced by an affidavit of non-compliance filed with the court by the plaintiff and served in hand or at the abode of the defendant before the affidavit is filed with the court, the court shall issue a writ of possession, within 5 business days of the filing of the affidavit with the court, and without further hearing or judicial review.

 

(e)

(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of subparagraph (d), the court may hold a hearing to determine whether or not a writ of possession shall issue if the defendant files an objection or other pleading in court within 4 business days of the filing of the affidavit of non-compliance and certificate of service with the court, which alleges that:

 

(A) The defendant made a timely tender of the required payment; or

 

(B) The defendant had a specific compelling cause for not tendering the required payment or payments on time, and that the defendant is able to tender the past-due payment or payments at the time the defendant files his or her objection or other pleading.

 

(2) If the court finds that the defendant's motion or other pleading do not meet the requirements of subparagraph (1)(A) or (1)(B), it shall issue a writ of possession. If the court determines that the defendant's allegations meet the requirements, a hearing shall be scheduled to occur within 4 business days of the filing of the defendant's objection or other pleading.
(f)(1) At any hearing under subparagraph (e)(2), the defendant shall have the burden to prove that:

 

(A) The defendant has made timely payments, and therefore the writ of possession shall not issue; or

 

(B) The defendant has brought to court cash or a certified check sufficient to tender all past-due payments, and the defendant had a specific compelling cause for his or her failure to tender any past-due payments.

 

(2) If the defendant fails to meet his or her burden of proof under subparagraph (1)(A) or (1)(B), the court shall issue the writ of possession.

 

(3) If the defendant meets his or her burden of proof under subparagraph (1)(B), the court shall order the defendant to tender, by cash or certified check, all past-due payments to the plaintiff immediately. If all past due-payments are tendered immediately by cash or certified check, a writ of possession shall not issue, otherwise a writ of possession shall issue.

Source. 1972, 26:1. 1988, 100:3. 1992, 284:88, eff. Jan. 1, 1993. 2016, 220:1, eff. June 9, 2016.

Section 540:13-d

    540:13-d Defenses to Violations of Fitness. –


I. No action for possession based on nonpayment of rent shall be maintained in regard to any premises leased or rented for residential purposes, other than for vacation or recreation, if such premises are in substantial violation of the standards of fitness for health and safety set forth in RSA 48-A or in local codes, ordinances or bylaws established pursuant thereto, and such violation materially affects the habitability of said premises, provided that:

 

(a) The tenant proves by clear and convincing evidence that, while not in arrears in rent, he provided notice of the violation to the person to whom he customarily pays rent; and

 

(b) The landlord failed to correct the violations within 14 days of the receipt of such written notice or, in an emergency, as promptly as conditions require; and

 

(c) The violations were not caused by the tenant, a member of the tenant's family or other person on the premises with the tenant's consent; and

 

(d) Necessary repairs have not been prevented due to extreme weather conditions or due to the failure of the tenant to allow the landlord reasonable access to the premises.

 

II. If a defendant raises a defense provided in paragraph I of this section, the court may order the action continued for a reasonable time not to exceed one month to enable the plaintiff to remedy the violation. At the time such continuance is ordered, the court shall require the person claiming a defense under this section to pay into court any rent withheld or becoming due thereafter as it becomes due. Upon a finding by the court that the violation has been remedied within the continuance period, the court shall dismiss the possessory action and either award the withheld rent money to the plaintiff or apportion the rent paid into court by paying to the plaintiff the fair rental value of the premises while in the substantially defective condition and by awarding the remainder of said funds to the defendant as damages for plaintiff's breach of his warranty of habitability. If the violation has not been remedied within such period, the court shall enter judgment for the defendant and refund to the defendant all money deposited.

Source. 1979, 305:5. 1985, 249:6, 7, eff. Aug. 6, 1985.

Section 540:13-e

    540:13-e Infestation of Bed Bugs: Liability for Costs of Remediation. –


I. In this section:
(a) "Infestation of bed bugs" means the presence of bed bugs in real property rented for residential purposes.
(b) "Remediation" means action taken by the landlord that substantially reduces the presence of bed bugs in a dwelling unit for at least 60 days.

 

II. The landlord shall bear the reasonable costs of remediation of an infestation of bed bugs, but may recover those costs if the tenant is responsible for the infestation.

 

III. If a landlord alleges that a tenant is responsible for an infestation of bed bugs, the landlord may bill the tenant, in writing, for the reasonable costs of remediation of the infestation of bed bugs in the tenant's own unit. If within 30 days of the completion of remediation the tenant has not paid the landlord for the reasonable costs of remediation, or entered into a repayment agreement with the landlord, such failure shall be considered grounds for eviction for nonpayment of rent pursuant to RSA 540:2, II(a).

 

IV. In an eviction action for nonpayment of rent based on failure to pay the reasonable costs of remediation, or in an action for damages for the reasonable costs of remediation of an infestation of bed bugs, the landlord shall bear the burden of proving both that the tenant was responsible for the infestation and that the landlord offered the tenant the opportunity to enter into a reasonable repayment agreement.

 

V. In an eviction action for nonpayment of rent based on failure to pay the reasonable costs of remediation of an infestation of bed bugs, or in an action for damages for the reasonable costs of remediation of an infestation of bed bugs:
(a) Notwithstanding paragraph IV, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the tenant is responsible for the infestation if during the 6 months prior to the inception of the defendant's tenancy, and throughout the defendant's tenancy, there were no reports, to the landlord or a municipal health or housing authority, of the presence of bed bugs in the defendant's unit or the dwelling units of a multiple-unit building that are adjacent to or directly above or below the defendant's unit, or by previous tenants in a single-family home. For the purposes of this subparagraph, the defendant's own report to the landlord or a municipal health or housing authority shall not be considered a report.

 

(b) In evaluating which party is responsible for the infestation, the court shall consider the totality of the evidence, including but not limited to the following:

 

(1) The existence and extent of bed bugs in other units or common areas anywhere in the building prior to and during the tenant's tenancy;

 

(2) In which unit bed bugs were first discovered;

 

(3) Whether and to what extent, prior to the infestation that is the subject of the litigation, the landlord undertook remediation efforts in the tenant's unit and the units adjacent to and directly above and below the tenant's unit; and

 

(4) Whether the tenant had bed bugs in the dwelling unit in which he or she resided immediately prior to moving to the unit that is the subject of the litigation.

Source. 2013, 48:6, eff. Jan. 1, 2014.

Section 540:14

    540:14 Judgment. –


I. If the defendant makes default, or if on trial it is considered by the court that the plaintiff has sustained its complaint, judgment shall be rendered that the plaintiff recover possession of the demanded premises and costs, and a writ of possession shall issue. In cases based on nonpayment of rent, the court shall state the actual amount of the tenant's current weekly rent or, if rent is not paid on a weekly basis, the equivalent weekly rent amount, which must be paid into the court if an appeal is taken pursuant to RSA 540:20 and 540:25. The judgment may be enforced, at the sole discretion of the plaintiff, either by directing the sheriff to serve the writ of possession or by seeking judicial relief against the defendant for civil contempt. A writ of possession shall authorize the sheriff to remove the defendant from the premises.

 

II. Whenever the tenant successfully raises the defense of retaliation pursuant to RSA 540:13-a, damages of not more than 3 months' rent may be awarded to the tenant.

 

III. If the plaintiff makes a successful claim for unpaid rent as well as possession, or the defendant makes a successful counterclaim, the court shall issue a money judgment at the same time that it makes its ruling regarding possession of the premises.

 

IV. If the court renders judgment against any one tenant or member of a multiperson household pursuant to RSA 540:2, VII(d), the court shall specify in its order that the writ of possession shall only be used to remove the tenant or household member against whom the judgment issued, and that the other tenants or household members may remain in residence.

Source. RS 209:10, 11. CS 222:10, 11. GS 231:9. GL 250:9. PS 246:9. PL 375:14. RL 413:14. RSA 540:14. 1957, 244:24. 1979, 305:6. 1991, 373:1. 1998, 25:3, 4, eff. Jan. 1, 1999. 2010, 285:2, eff. Oct. 6, 2010.

Section 540:15

    540:15 Neglect to Enter, etc. – If the plaintiff neglects to enter his action, or fails to support it, judgment shall be rendered for the defendant for his costs.

 

Source. RS 209:12. CS 222:12. GS 231:10. GL 250:10. PS 246:10. PL 357:15. RL 413:15.

Section 540:16

    540:16 General Issue. – Under the general issue, the defendant shall not offer evidence which may bring the title to the demanded premises in question.

Source. RS 209:13. CS 222:13. GS 231:11. GL 250:11. PS 246:11. PL 357:16. RL 413:16.

Section 540:16-a

    540:16-a Hearsay Exception.
In any possessory action based on allegations concerning the behavior of the defendant or his family or guests, records of complaints made by other tenants to the landlord or his agent concerning such behavior shall be competent evidence if:

 

I. The landlord or other qualified witness testifies to its identity and the mode of its preparation;

 

II. It was made at or near the time of the receipt of the complaint; and

 

III. In the opinion of the court, the sources of information, method and time of preparation, and proximity in time of the complaint to the alleged tenant behavior, were such as to justify its admission.

Source. 1985, 249:8, eff. Aug. 6, 1985.

Section 540:17

    540:17 Plea of Title, Recognizance. – If the defendant shall plead a plea which may bring in question the title to the demanded premises he shall forthwith recognize to the plaintiff, with sufficient sureties, in such sum as the court shall order, to enter his action in the superior court for the county at the next return day, and to prosecute his action in said court, and to pay all rent then due or which shall become due pending the action, and the damages and costs which may be awarded against him.

Source. RS 209:14. CS 222:14. GS 231:12. GL 250:12. PS 246:12. PL 357:17. RL 413:17. 1947, 121:15. RSA 540:17. 1957, 244:25, eff. Sept. 23, 1957.

Section 540:18

    540:18 Effect of Plea, etc. – After the filing of such plea and the entry of such recognizance no further proceedings shall be had before the municipal court, but the action may be entered and prosecuted in the superior court in the same manner as if it were originally begun there.

Source. RS 209:16. CS 222:16. GS 231:14. GL 250:14. PS 246:14. PL 357:18. RL 413:18. RSA 540:18. 1957, 244:26, eff. Sept. 23, 1957.

Section 540:19

    540:19 Neglect to Recognize. – If the defendant neglects or refuses to recognize, judgment shall be rendered against him in the same manner as if he had refused to make answer to the suit.

Source. RS 209:15. CS 222:15. GS 231:13. GL 250:13. PS 246:13. PL 357:19. RL 413:19.

Section 540:20

    540:20 Appeal. – Any party to an action brought pursuant to this chapter shall, within 7 days of the date of the notice of judgment, file in the district court a notice of intent to appeal to the supreme court. Until the appeal is perfected by the filing of a notice of appeal in the supreme court, the district court shall retain exclusive jurisdiction of the case. After the filing of the notice of appeal in the supreme court, the district court shall retain jurisdiction of the matter for the purposes of collecting rent pending appeal. In all other respects, the judgment of the district court shall be final at the expiration of the appeal period.

Source. RS 209:17. CS 222:17. GS 231:15. GL 250:15. PS 246:15. PL 357:20. RL 413:20. RSA 540:20. 1957, 244:27. 1965, 327:3. 1992, 284:45. 1998, 25:5, eff. Jan. 1, 1999.

Section 540:21

    540:21 Repealed by 1995, 277:26, III, eff. Aug. 19, 1995. –

Section 540:22

    540:22 Neglect to Enter Appeal. – If the appellant neglects to enter his appeal or to produce such copies the court, on complaint of the appellee, shall affirm the former judgment, with additional damages and costs.

Source. RS 209:21. CS 222:21. GS 231:19. GL 250:19. PS 246:19. PL 357:22. RL 413:22.

Section 540:23

    540:23 Plaintiff's Damages. – If a defendant files a plea of title or appeals, and the plaintiff recovers judgment against the defendant, the court shall cause plaintiff's damages, exemplary or otherwise, including a just compensation for the use and detention of the property and for any injury thereto, to be assessed and may issue execution therefor, or the same may be recovered on the recognizance taken as before provided.

Source. GS 231:20. GL 250:20. PS 246:20. PL 357:23. RL 413:23. RSA 540:23. 1992, 284:46, eff. Jan. 1, 1993.

Section 540:24

    540:24 Recognizance, by Plaintiff. – The plaintiff, before his appeal is allowed, shall recognize to the defendant, with sufficient sureties, in such sum as the court may order, to enter and prosecute his appeal, and to pay such costs as may be awarded against him.

Source. RS 209:18. CS 222:18. GS 231:16. GL 250:16. PS 246:16. PL 357:24. RL 413:24. RSA 540:24. 1957, 244:28, eff. Sept. 23, 1957.

Section 540:25

    540:25 Recognizance, by Defendant. –


I. If the possessory action was instituted on the basis of nonpayment of rent, and the defendant files a notice of intent to appeal, the defendant shall pay into court the current rent in an amount determined by the judgment of the court pursuant to RSA 540:14, I, weekly and in advance. Payment of rent for one week must be made at the time the defendant files notice of intent to appeal in the district court. Rent which had been payable on other than a weekly basis shall be paid to the court each week based on the equivalent weekly rent determined by the judgment issued by the court, pursuant to RSA 540:14, I. During the pendency of the appeal, rent is payable on a weekly basis and is due on the same day of the week on which the notice of intent to appeal was filed. If rent is not paid by the due date, the court shall immediately mail a notice of default to the tenant and issue a writ of possession to the landlord. If, however, the tenant pays the clerk the entire amount of rent due since the filing of the notice of intent to appeal prior to the service of the writ by the sheriff, the writ of possession shall be recalled and the appeal shall be reinstated. Unless the appeal is reinstated, the district court shall vacate the appeal and award the plaintiff the rent money that has been paid into court.

 

I-a. At any time during the pendency of the appeal, the landlord may file a motion to the district court for recovery of the rent money that has been paid into court pursuant to paragraph I. The court may grant such motion unless the tenant objects and the court rules that the landlord is not lawfully entitled to the full amount of rent. If the court rules that the landlord is not entitled to the full amount of the rent, it shall release such portion of the rent to which the court deems the landlord is lawfully entitled, if any, and make specific findings in support of its decision to deny or partially deny the landlord's motion. The rent money retained by the court shall be apportioned between the landlord and the tenant upon final disposition of the appeal.

 

II. If the possessory action was instituted for a reason other than nonpayment of rent, the defendant shall pay into court or to the plaintiff, as the court directs, all rents becoming due from the date the notice of intent to appeal is filed with the district court. In any case in which the duty to pay rent or a portion thereof is in dispute, the defendant shall be required to pay such portion of the rents becoming due after the notice of intent is filed into court, as the court may direct, which amounts shall be held by the court in escrow until a final decision is rendered. After such decision has been rendered, the escrowed rent money and any accrued interest thereon shall be apportioned between plaintiff and defendant on the basis of a finding of rent actually due. For the purpose of this section, "rent" shall mean the amount of money called for by the lease or rental agreement at the time the action for possession was instituted.

Source. RS 209:19. CS 222:19. GS 231:17. GL 250:17. PS 246:17. PL 357:25. RL 413:25. RSA 540:25. 1957, 244:29. 1973, 352:1. 1992, 284:47. 1998, 25:6. 2001, 123:1, 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2001.

Section 540:26

    540:26 Other Remedies. – Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent a landlord from pursuing his legal remedy at common law.

Source. RS 209:22. CS 222:22. GS 231:21. GL 250:21. PS 246:21. PL 357:26. RL 413:26.

Section 540:27

    540:27 Landlord's Grantee. – Whenever the estate occupied by a tenant at will or sufferance is conveyed by the landlord his grantee shall have the rights and remedies which the grantor would have had, under the provisions of this chapter, if the estate had not been conveyed.

Source. 1865, 4084:1. GS 231:22. GL 250:22. PS 246:22. PL 357:27. RL 413:27.

Section 540:28

    540:28 Lease Provisions. – No lease or rental agreement, oral or written, shall contain any provision by which a tenant waives any of his rights under this chapter, and any such waiver shall be null and void.

Source. 1985, 244:9, eff. Aug. 6, 1985.

Section 540:29

    540:29 Conflict of Laws. – Any provisions of federal law relating to rental units owned, operated or subsidized by the federal government which are inconsistent with or contrary to the provisions of this chapter shall supersede the provisions of this chapter. Where not inconsistent, the provisions of federal law shall apply in conjunction with the provisions of this chapter.

Source. 1985, 244:9, eff. Aug. 6, 1985.

Section 540:30

    540:30 Unauthorized Practice of Law; Exception; Certain Employees and Members of Limited Liability Companies, Corporations, or Partnerships. – Notwithstanding RSA 311:7, a person of good character who is not approved to practice law in New Hampshire, but is a member or employee of a limited liability company, corporation, or partnership, which has 5 or fewer members, shall, with the proper written authorization from the organization, be authorized to represent the entity on matters in the circuit court of New Hampshire arising under this chapter; provided that each such appearance shall require a new written authorization.

Source. 2014, 164:1, eff. Sept. 9, 2014.

NH-seal-eviction-court.webp

Chapter 540-A
PROHIBITED PRACTICES AND SECURITY DEPOSITS

Prohibited Practices

Section 540-A:1

    540-A:1 Definitions. –
As used in this subdivision:


I. "Landlord" means an owner, lessor or agent thereof who rents or leases residential premises including manufactured housing or space in a manufactured housing park to another person.

 

II. "Tenant" means a person to whom a landlord rents or leases residential premises, including manufactured housing or a space in a manufactured housing park.

 

III. "Premises" means the part of the landlord's property to which the tenant is entitled exclusive access for living or storage as a result of the rental or lease agreement.

Source. 1979, 305:1. 1985, 100:3, eff. July 9, 1985.

Section 540-A:2

    540-A:2 General Prohibition. – No landlord shall willfully violate a tenant's right to quiet enjoyment of his tenancy or attempt to circumvent lawful procedures for eviction pursuant to RSA 540. No tenant shall willfully damage the property of the landlord or prevent completion of necessary repairs or willfully deny tenants their right to quiet enjoyment of their tenancies.

Source. 1979, 305:1, eff. Aug. 21, 1979.

Section 540-A:3

    540-A:3 Certain Specific Acts Prohibited. –


I. No landlord shall willfully cause, directly or indirectly, the interruption or termination of any utility service being supplied to the tenant including, but not limited to water, heat, light, electricity, gas, telephone, sewerage, elevator or refrigeration, whether or not the utility service is under the control of the landlord, except for such temporary interruption as may be necessary while actual repairs are in process or during temporary emergencies.

 

II. No landlord shall willfully seize, hold, or otherwise directly or indirectly deny a tenant access to and possession of such tenant's rented or leased premises, other than through proper judicial process.

 

II-a. Notwithstanding paragraph II, and subject to the notice requirements of paragraph II-b:

 

(a) A landlord may remove, at the expense of the item's owner, any vehicle, motorcycle, trailer, ATV, or other property that blocks vehicular access to a common driveway, fire lane, parking area, or travel lane, or blocks access to a dumpster.

 

(b) A landlord may remove, at the expense of the item's owner, any property that is leaking fluids that are damaging the parking surface or creating an environmental hazard.

 

(c) A landlord may remove, at the expense of the item's owner, any property that is located in a posted no-parking area, is unregistered or inoperable, or is parked or stored in a manner prohibited under the terms of a lease agreement.

 

II-b. Prior to removing an item pursuant to paragraph II-a, the landlord shall provide notice as follows:

 

(a) In cases under RSA 540-A:3, II-a(a), prior to removal of the item the landlord shall make such efforts to notify the tenant who owns or possesses the item, if the landlord knows such tenant's identity, as are reasonable under the totality of the circumstances. If there is an immediate threat to the health or safety of another tenant or person, no notice shall be required.

 

(b) In cases under RSA 540-A:3, II-a(b), the landlord shall provide written notice no fewer than 48 hours prior to removing the property by:

 

(1) Placing a written notice on the item; and

 

(2) If the landlord knows the identity of the tenant who owns or possesses the item, placing a written notice on the door of such tenant's unit; or

 

(3) If the landlord does not know the identity of the tenant who owns or possesses the item, placing a written notice in a conspicuous location in one common area of each building in the apartment complex.

 

(c) In cases under RSA 540-A:3, II-a(c), the landlord shall provide the following notices to the tenant prior to removing the property:

 

(1) First notice, at least 7 days prior to removal of the item, by:

 

(A) Placing a written notice on the item; and

 

(B) If the landlord knows the identity of the tenant who owns or possesses the item, placing a written notice on the door of such tenant's unit; or

 

(C) If the landlord does not know the identify of the tenant who owns or possesses the item, placing a written notice in a conspicuous location in one common area of each building in the apartment complex; and

 

(2) Final notice, at least 24 hours, but not more than 48 hours, prior to removal of the item, by:

 

(A) Placing a written notice on the item; and

 

(B) If the landlord knows the identity of the tenant who owns or possess the item, placing a written notice on the door of such tenant's unit; or

 

(C) If the landlord does not know the identity of the tenant who owns or possesses the item, placing a notice in a conspicuous location in one common area of each building in the apartment complex.

 

II-c. A landlord who removes a tenant's property pursuant to paragraphs II-a and II-b shall not initiate any possessory action based on the tenant's failure to remove the item; provided that if such failure caused substantial damage to the property of the landlord or another tenant, or injury to another person, the landlord may initiate eviction pursuant to

RSA 540:2, II(b) or (d).

 

III. No landlord shall willfully seize, hold, or otherwise directly or indirectly deny a tenant access to and possession of such tenant's property, other than by proper judicial process.

 

IV. No landlord shall willfully enter into the premises of the tenant without prior consent, other than to make emergency repairs.

 

IV-a. Entry to make emergency repairs as authorized by RSA 540-A:3, IV includes, but is not limited to, entry by the landlord to evaluate, formulate a plan for remediation of, or engage in emergency remediation of an infestation of rodents or insects, including bed bugs, provided such infestation-related emergency entry took place within 72 hours of the time that the landlord first received notice of the infestation.

 

V. No tenant shall willfully refuse the landlord access to the premises to make necessary repairs, or to perform other reasonable and lawful functions commonly associated with the ownership of rental property, at a reasonable time after notice which is adequate under the circumstances.

 

V-a. No landlord shall willfully fail to investigate a tenant's report of an infestation of insects, including bed bugs, or rodents in the tenant's rented or leased premises, within 7 days of receiving notice of such alleged infestation from the tenant or a municipal health or housing code authority, or fail to take reasonable measures to remediate an infestation.

 

V-b. No tenant shall willfully refuse the landlord access to the premises to:

 

(a) Make emergency repairs as authorized in paragraphs IV and IV-a of this section; and

 

(b) Evaluate whether bedbugs are present after the landlord has received notice that bed bugs are present in a dwelling unit adjacent to the premises or a dwelling unit that is directly above or below the premises, provided the landlord gives the tenant 48 hours written notice of his or her need to enter the premises to evaluate whether bed bugs are present.

 

V-c. No tenant shall willfully refuse to comply with reasonable written instructions from a landlord or pest control operator to prepare the dwelling unit for remediation of an infestation of insects or rodents, including bed bugs, provided that such instructions are given to an adult member of the tenant household such that the tenant household has a reasonable opportunity to comply, and in all cases at least 72 hours prior to remediation.

 

V-d. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a landlord may only enter a tenant's dwelling unit without the consent of the tenant:

 

(a) To make emergency repairs pursuant to paragraphs IV and IV-a; or

 

(b) If the landlord has obtained an order authorizing the entry from a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to RSA 540-A:4.

 

VI. No tenant shall willfully damage the property of the landlord.

 

VII. Other than residential real estate under RSA 540-B, a landlord shall maintain and exercise reasonable care in the storage of the personal property of a tenant who has vacated the premises, either voluntarily or by eviction, for a period of 7 days after the date upon which such tenant has vacated. During this period, the tenant shall be allowed to recover personal property without payment of rent or storage fees. After the 7-day limit has expired, such personal property may be disposed of by the landlord without notice to the tenant.

Source. 1979, 305:1. 1991, 373:2, eff. Jan. 1, 1992. 1998, 25:8. 2001, 277:2. 2003, 271:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2004. 2011, 247:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2012. 2013, 48:4, 5, eff. Jan. 1, 2014. 2015, 225:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2016.

Section 540-A:3-a

    540-A:3-a Testing for Presence of Lead in Drinking Water. – Any time a child tests positive for lead which exceeds the standards established in RSA 130-A:5, I, the department of health and human services shall test the water in the unit for lead. If the presence of lead in the drinking water exceeds the action level established by the Environmental Protection Agency, the landlord shall notify the tenant or prospective tenant and shall install on the kitchen faucet a filtering device certified to reduce lead by NSF International/American National Standards Institute and follow all standards for the replacement of the filtering device and cartridges. The landlord shall not be required to maintain or install water filters where the source of the lead has been removed and the water tests below the action level established by the Environmental Protection Agency, as verified by the department of health and human services.

Source. 2018, 4:19, eff. Apr. 9, 2018.

Section 540-A:4

    540-A:4 Remedies. –


I. All district courts shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the superior court to enforce the provisions of RSA 540-A:2 and RSA 540-A:3.

 

II. Any tenant or landlord may seek relief from a violation of RSA 540-A:2 or RSA 540-A:3 by filing a petition in the district or county where the rental premises are located.

 

III. No filing fee shall be charged for a petition under paragraph II, and the plaintiff may proceed without legal counsel. Either a peace officer or the sheriff's department shall serve process under this section and the cost of such service shall be billed as directed by the court pursuant to paragraph X. Any proceeding under this subdivision shall not preclude any other available civil or criminal remedy.

 

IV. The clerks of the district courts shall supply forms for petitions for relief under this subdivision designed to facilitate proceedings.

 

V. The findings of facts shall be final but questions of law may be transferred to the supreme court in the same manner as from the superior court.

 

VI. The court shall hold a hearing within 30 days of the filing of a petition under paragraph II or within 10 days of service of process upon the defendant, whichever occurs later.

 

VII. Upon a showing of a violation of RSA 540-A:2 or RSA 540-A:3, I, II, or III, the court shall grant such relief as is necessary to protect the rights of the parties. Such relief may include:

 

(a) An order prohibiting the defendant from continuing the activity or activities which violate RSA 540-A:2 or RSA 540-

A:3; and

 

(b) An award of damages to the plaintiff for the violations of RSA 540-A, breach of warranty of habitability, breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment or any other claim arising out of the facts alleged in the plaintiff's petition.

 

VIII. Upon the showing of an immediate threat of irreparable harm, the court may issue such temporary orders as it deems necessary to protect the parties with or without actual notice to the defendant. If temporary orders are made ex parte, the party against whom such relief is issued may file a written request with the clerk of the court and request a hearing on such request. Such hearing shall be held no later than 5 days after the request is received by the clerk. Such hearings may constitute the final hearing described in paragraph VI.

 

IX.

(a) Any landlord or tenant who violates RSA 540-A:2 or any provision of RSA 540-A:3 shall be subject to the civil remedies set forth in RSA 358-A:10 for the initial violation, including costs and reasonable attorney's fees incurred in the proceedings. Each day that a violation continues after issuance of a temporary order shall constitute a separate violation.

 

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subparagraph (a), a landlord who violates RSA 540-A:3, VII shall be subject only to an award of actual damages, plus costs and reasonable attorneys fees.

 

(c) The provisions of subparagraph (a) shall not apply to petitions brought in good faith by a landlord or a tenant to determine whether a request for entry under RSA 540-A:3, V is reasonable and lawful.

 

(d) The provisions of subparagraph (a) shall not apply to any violation of 540-A:3, V-a, V-b, or V-c.

 

(e) Landlord damages for any unlawful dispossession or lock-out of a tenant from the premises where the landlord has re-let the premises or has a new tenant in the premises shall not be less than $3,000. In the event the damages exceed the $3,000 minimum, the award shall not exceed the amount that would have been awarded pursuant to subparagraph (a).

 

X. If an action initiated under RSA 540-A:3 is found to be frivolous or brought solely for harassment, the plaintiff shall pay to the defendant the costs of said action including reasonable attorney's fees. If such frivolous action was brought by the tenant, he shall not be entitled to the protection of paragraph XI of this section.

 

XI. No action for possession may be maintained by the landlord against a tenant who proves a violation of RSA 540-A:3 except for nonpayment of rent, violation of a substantial obligation of the rental agreement or lease, or violation of this subdivision within 6 months of an action instituted under this subdivision by a tenant; nor shall the landlord take any other action in reprisal.

 

XII. Relinquishment of possession or abandonment of possession shall be an affirmative defense to an action brought pursuant to this chapter.

 

(a) Relinquishment of possession occurs when the landlord receives a statement signed by each adult tenant of a rented or leased premises stating that the tenant has relinquished possession of the rented or leased premises and has no intent to return.

 

(b) Abandonment of possession means all tenants have physically vacated the premises without the intent to return. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the tenants have abandoned the premises if:

 

(1) The landlord provided all tenants with a written property abandonment notice, by leaving the notice at the rented or leased premises and by sending the notice by certified mail to the last known address of at least one adult tenant. The property abandonment notice shall also comply with subparagraph (d); and

 

(2) At least 2 of the following conditions were present:

 

(A) All adult tenants of the rented or leased premises have notified the landlord in writing of their intent to vacate the

premises by a certain date and that date has passed, provided that the written notice of one adult tenant who has lawful possession to the premises pursuant to an order under RSA 173-B shall suffice.

 

(B) All keys to the rented or leased premises have been returned to the landlord, which shall include leaving all keys in the rented or leased premises.

 

(C) The tenant or tenants have removed from the rented or leased premises all or the majority of their personal property, and the only items remaining in the premises are inconsistent with the continued use of the premises.

 

(D) The tenant or tenants have failed or neglected to pay rent for the rented or leased premises for a period of more than 91 days, provided that during those 91 days the landlord, if requested to do so, provided ordinary and reasonable verification of rental information to any agency assisting the tenant or tenants, and that the landlord did not refuse to accept payment on behalf of the tenant or tenants by any agency offering assistance.

 

(c) The defense of abandonment does not abrogate the landlord's duty under RSA 540-A:3, VII to maintain and exercise reasonable care in the storage of the personal property of tenants who have vacated the premises for a period of 7 days after the date upon which such tenants have vacated the rented or leased premises. The 7 days shall begin the day after the landlord serves the written property abandonment notice.

 

(d) In providing the property abandonment notice required under subparagraph (b), the landlord shall use conspicuous language identifying, with specificity, the reasons the landlord deems the property abandoned. The notice shall also advise the tenant or tenants of their right to retrieve any personal property as well as their right to file an action under RSA 540-A. The notice must be signed by the landlord, or the landlord's agent. The use of the following notice language, in at least 12-point type, shall be deemed sufficient notice language:
NOTICE OF PROPERTY ABANDONMENT
This residence, known as __________________________, has been abandoned. I certify that, on this date, the property is believed to have been abandoned for the following circled reasons:

 

(1) You notified me in writing that you intended to vacate the premises.

 

(2) You have returned your keys to the premises.

 

(3) You have removed from the premises all or the majority of your personal property, and the only items remaining in the premises are inconsistent with the continued use of the premises.

 

(4) You have failed or neglected to pay rent for the premises for a period of more than 91 days.
Because you have abandoned the premises, we will retake possession of this property and the locks may be changed. We will store your personal property for 7 days from the date of the notice, and you have a right to get your personal property during that time.
If you disagree with any action we take, you should notify us immediately. You are also entitled to file what is called a "540-A petition" at your nearest court. You may have other additional legal rights as well.

Signed: ________________________________________ Date: Landlord's or Landlord's Agent's Mailing Address: Landlord's or Landlord's Agent's Telephone Number:

Source. 1979, 305:1. 1985, 100:4, 5. 1990, 218:1. 2003, 271:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2004. 2010, 116:1, eff. June 1, 2010. 2011, 247:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2012. 2013, 48:8, 237:1, 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2014.

Security Deposits

Section 540-A:5

    540-A:5 Definitions. –
As used in this subdivision:


I. "Landlord" means a person and his or its employees, officers or agents who rents or leases to another person a rental unit, including space in a manufactured housing park as regulated by RSA 205-A and in manufactured housing, for other than vacation or recreational purposes. A person who rents or leases a single-family residence and owns no other rental property or who rents or leases rental units in an owner-occupied building of 5 units or less shall not be considered a "landlord" for the purposes of this subdivision, except for any individual unit in such building which is occupied by a person or persons 60 years of age or older.

 

II. "Security deposit" means all funds in excess of the monthly rent which are transferred from the tenant to the landlord for any purpose.

 

III. "Tenant" means any person who rents or leases residential premises owned by another, including space in a manufactured housing park regulated by RSA 205-A and in manufactured housing, for other than vacation or recreational purposes.

 

IV. "Rental unit" means each separate part of any residential premises which has full facilities for habitation, including contiguous living, sleeping, kitchen and bathroom facilities, which is held out for rental by the landlord.

 

Source. 1985, 100:6, eff. July 9, 1985.

Section 540-A:6

    540-A:6 Procedure. –


I. (a) A landlord shall not demand or receive any security deposit in an amount or value in excess of one month's rent or $100, whichever is greater. Nothing in this section shall prohibit a landlord from entering into a written lease that requires the quarterly or less frequent payment of rent; provided, however, that the security deposit received in addition to the initial rent payment may not exceed the equivalent of one month's rent.
(b) Except as provided in subparagraph (c), upon receiving a deposit from a tenant, a landlord shall forthwith deliver to the tenant a signed receipt stating the amount of the deposit and specifying the place where the deposit or bond for the deposit pursuant to RSA 540-A:6, II(c) will be held, and shall notify the tenant that any conditions in the rental unit in need of repair or correction should be noted on the receipt or given to the landlord in writing within 5 days of occupancy.
(c) No receipt shall be required when the tenant furnishes a security deposit in the form of a personal check, a bank check, or a check issued by a government or nonprofit agency on behalf of the tenant. Regardless of whether or not a receipt is required, the landlord shall provide written notice to the tenant that a written list of conditions in the rental unit in need of repair or correction, if any, should be given to the landlord within 5 days of occupancy.

 

II.

(a) Security deposits held by a landlord continue to be the money of the tenant and shall be held in trust by the person with whom such deposit is made and shall not be mingled with the personal moneys or become an asset of the landlord until the provisions of RSA 540-A:7 are complied with, but may be disposed of as provided in RSA 540-A:6, III.

 

(b) A landlord may mingle all security deposits held by him in a single account held in trust for the tenant at any bank, savings and loan association or credit union organized under the laws of this state in satisfaction of the requirements of RSA 540-A:6, II(a).

 

(c) A bond written by a company located in New Hampshire and posted with the clerk of the city or town in which the residential premises are located in an amount equivalent to the total value of a security deposit held by the landlord on property in that city or town shall exempt the landlord from the provisions of RSA 540-A:6, II(a) and (b).

 

III.

(a) Any landlord who holds a security deposit shall turn the security deposit over at the time of delivery of the deed or instrument of assignment, or within 5 days thereafter, or within 5 days after a receiver has been qualified, to one of the following:

 

(1) his grantee upon conveying the premises in which the rental unit is located;

 

(2) his assignee upon assigning his lease to the rental unit;

 

(3) the receiver in a foreclosure action or other lien of record affecting the property in which the rental unit is located, upon the judicial appointment and qualification of the receiver; or

 

(4) the purchaser at a foreclosure sale or other lien of record, if a receiver has not been qualified, upon the conveyance to another person by the referee of the property in which the rental unit is located.

 

(b) The landlord shall notify the tenant by registered or certified mail of such turning over, including the name and address of the grantee, assignee, purchaser, or receiver who then holds the security deposit.

 

(c) Any landlord who turns over to his grantee, his assignee, a purchaser at a foreclosure sale, or the receiver in a foreclosure action the amount of such security deposit with interest due, if any, is thereby relieved of liability to the tenant for repayment of the deposit. The transferee of the security deposit is then responsible for the return of the security deposit to the tenant or licensee, unless, before the expiration of the term of the tenant's lease or licensee's agreement, he transfers the security deposit to another, pursuant to RSA 540-A:6, III(a) and gives the requisite notice pursuant to RSA 540-A:6, III(b). A receiver shall hold the security subject to its disposition as provided in an order of the court to be made and entered in the foreclosure action.
(d) RSA 540-A:6, III(c) shall not apply if there is an inconsistent agreement between the landlord and tenant or licensee.

 

IV.

(a) A landlord who holds a security deposit for a period of one year or longer shall pay to the tenant interest on the deposit at a rate equal to the interest rate paid on regular savings accounts in the New Hampshire bank, savings and loan association, or credit union in which it is deposited, commencing from the date the landlord receives the deposit or from September 13, 1977, whichever is later. If a landlord mingles security deposits in a single account under RSA 540-A:6, II(b), the landlord shall pay the actual interest earned on such account proportionately to each tenant.

 

(b) Upon request, a landlord shall provide to the tenant the name of any bank, savings and loan association, or credit union where his security deposit is on deposit, the account number, the amount on deposit, and the interest rate on the deposit and shall allow the tenant to examine his security deposit records.

 

(c) Notwithstanding RSA 540-A:7, I, a tenant may request the interest accrued on a security deposit every 3 years, 30 days before the expiration of that year's tenancy. The landlord shall comply with the request within 15 days of the expiration of that year's tenancy.

Source. 1985, 100:6. 1988, 167:1. 1992, 184:4. 2006, 296:1, eff. July 1, 2006. 2014, 56:1, eff. July 26, 2014.

 

Section 540-A:7

    540-A:7 Return of Security Deposit. –


I. Except as provided in RSA 540-A:6, IV(c), a landlord shall return a security deposit to a tenant and pay the interest due, if any, within 30 days from the termination of the tenancy. If there are any damages to the premises, excluding reasonable wear and tear, the landlord may deduct the costs of repair from the security deposit. The landlord shall provide the tenant with a written, itemized list of any damages for which the landlord claims the tenant is liable, which shall indicate with particularity the nature of any repair necessary to correct any damage and satisfactory evidence that repair necessary to correct these damages has been or will be completed. Satisfactory evidence may include, but not be limited to, receipts for purchased repair materials and labor estimates, bills or invoices indicating the actual or estimated cost thereof.

 

II. If the tenant is required under the lease agreement to pay all or part of any increase in real estate taxes levied against the property and becoming due and payable during the term of the lease, or if there is unpaid rent due, or if there are other lawful charges due under the lease which remain unpaid, the landlord may deduct such share of real estate taxes or unpaid rent or unpaid charges from the amount of the security deposit. The landlord shall provide the tenant with a written, itemized list of any claim for unpaid rent or share of real estate taxes or unpaid charges for which the landlord claims the tenant is liable, which shall indicate with particularity the period for which the claim is being made.

Source. 1985, 100:6. 1988, 167:2. 2006, 296:2, eff. July 1, 2006.

Section 540-A:8

    540-A:8 Remedies. –


I.

(a) Any landlord who does not comply with RSA 540-A:6, I, II or III shall be deemed to have violated RSA 358-A:2.

 

(b) Any landlord who does not comply with RSA 540-A:6, IV or RSA 540-A:7 shall be liable to the tenant in damages in an amount equal to twice the sum of the amount of the security deposit plus any interest due under this subdivision, less any payments made and any charges owing for damages, unpaid rent, or share of real estate taxes as specified in RSA 540-A:7.

 

II. Notwithstanding RSA 540-A:6, 540-A:7, and 540-A:8, I, a landlord shall not be liable nor forfeit any rights if his failure to comply with said sections and paragraph is due to the failure of the tenant to notify the landlord of his new address upon termination of the tenancy. Any deposits plus interest due on the deposit that remain unclaimed after 6 months from the termination of the tenancy shall become the property of the landlord, free and clear of any claim of the tenant, absent fraud.


III. Any provision in any lease or rental agreement by which the tenant is purported to waive any of his rights under this subdivision, except as provided in RSA 540-A:6, III(d), shall be void.

Source. 1985, 100:6, eff. July 9, 1985.

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Chapter 540-B
RENTAL OF SHARED FACILITIES

Section 540-B:1

    540-B:1 Definition; Shared Facility. –


I. A "shared facility" means real property rented for residential purposes which has separate sleeping areas for each occupant and in which each occupant has access to and shares with the owner of the facility one or more significant portions of the facility in common, such as kitchen, dining area, bathroom, or bathing area, for which the occupant has no rented right of sole personal use.

 

II. A shared facility shall not include:

 

(a) Facilities rented to transient guests intended for use of less than 90 days.

 

(b) Rooms in hotels, motels, inns, tourist homes, and other dwellings rented for recreational or vacationing use.

 

(c) Rooms provided ancillary to other primary purposes such as jails, student dormitories, nursing homes, hospitals, group homes, and emergency shelters.

Source. 2001, 277:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2002.

Section 540-B:2

    540-B:2 Nature of Tenancy. – Every tenancy shall be deemed to be at will, and the rent payable as agreed, unless a written contract defines the terms of the tenancy differently. Except as otherwise provided, a verbal rental agreement shall be permitted.

Source. 2001, 277:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2002.

Section 540-B:3

    540-B:3 Termination of Tenancy; Notice of Termination. –


I. The owner or agent of the owner of a shared facility may terminate any tenancy without stating any reason. A written 30-day notice of termination shall be required.

 

II. The owner or agent of the owner of a shared facility may terminate any tenancy for nonpayment of rent. A written 7-day notice of termination shall be required.

 

III. The owner or agent of the owner of a shared facility may terminate any tenancy for damage to the premises, or behavior of the occupant or guest of any family member of the occupant which adversely affects the health or safety of the other occupants or the owner or the agent of the owner, or material breech of any rental agreement. A written 72-hour notice of termination shall be required.

[Paragraph IV effective January 1, 2022.]


IV. The process for termination of tenancy of a shared facility described by paragraphs I-III shall apply in place of the eviction process detailed in RSA 540. Shared facilities governed by this chapter shall not be subject to the eviction process of RSA 540.

Source. 2001, 277:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2002. 2021, 63:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2022.

Section 540-B:4

    540-B:4 Termination by Occupant. – An occupant may terminate any at will tenancy by a written 30-day notice or in accordance with any notice requirement of a written rental agreement.

Source. 2001, 277:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2002.

Section 540-B:5

    540-B:5 Service of Notice. –


I. The owner or agent of the owner of a shared facility shall give the notice of termination personally to the occupant or attach the notice to the primary entrance to the occupant's separated area.

 

II. The occupant shall give the notice of termination by the same method used to pay rent or in accordance with any written rental agreement.

Source. 2001, 277:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2002.

Section 540-B:6

    540-B:6 Possessory Rights. – The occupant shall have no possessory rights to any portion of a shared facility. The owner or agent of the owner may request law enforcement intervention for any behavior if such action is deemed necessary. The law enforcement officer shall not be precluded from any normal response based on the fact of the rental agreement.

 

Source. 2001, 277:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2002.

Section 540-B:7

    540-B:7 Remedies. –


I. Violations of this chapter shall be subject to the remedies set forth in RSA 540-A:4, however, a tenant of a shared facility must identify in the petition, which may be by a checkbox on the circuit court's form petition, that their rental is governed by RSA 540-B.

 

II. A tenant shall not enjoy the remedies set forth in RSA 540-A:4 in regard to tenant lockout if the owner or agent of the owner of the shared facility has complied with the requirements of RSA 540-B:3.

Source. 2001, 277:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2002. 2021, 63:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2022.

Section 540-B:8

    540-B:8 Possession. – The owner or agent of the owner of a shared facility may take possession of the separated areas used by the occupant at the end of the notice period. The owner or agent of the owner may request law enforcement intervention as necessary.

Source. 2001, 277:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2002.

Section 540-B:9

    540-B:9 Personal Property. – The owner or agent of the owner of a shared facility shall retain and exercise reasonable care in the storage of the personal property of the occupant who has vacated the premises for a period of 3 days after the date on which such occupant has vacated. After the 3-day period, the owner or agent of the owner of a shared facility may dispose of such property without notice to the occupant.

Source. 2001, 277:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2002.

Section 540-B:10

    540-B:10 Security Deposit. – The owner or agent of the owner of a shared facility may require a security deposit in an amount to be determined by the owner or agent of the owner. If the deposit amount is more than the equivalent of 30 days rent, there shall be a written instrument acknowledging receipt and explaining where the deposit shall be maintained and when it shall be returned. If there is no written agreement, the deposit shall be returned within 20 days after the occupant has vacated.

Source. 2001, 277:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2002.

Chapter 540-C
VACATION OR RECREATIONAL RENTAL UNITS

Section 540-C:1

    540-C:1 Covered Units. –
This chapter shall apply to all dwelling units which are:


I. Rented for recreational or vacation use at least one month out of the year; and

 

II. Rented for residential purposes by persons who have no other residence, during part or all of the non-recreational or vacation period.

Source. 2006, 312:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2007.

 

Section 540-C:2

    540-C:2 Lease Required. –
In order to evict an occupant from a dwelling unit covered by this chapter without fulfilling the requirements of RSA 540, the owner or the owner's authorized agent and the tenant shall sign a lease which:

 

I. States the date by which the tenant shall vacate the premises; and


II. Informs the tenant that if he or she remains on the premises after the expiration of the lease without the written permission of the owner or the owner's authorized agent, the tenant may be removed from the premises by a law enforcement officer without any judicial process.

Source. 2006, 312:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2007.

 

Section 540-C:3

    540-C:3 Removal Upon Expiration of Lease. – Any law enforcement officer of this state, upon presentation of the expired lease by the owner or the owner's authorized agent, shall remove the occupants from the dwelling unit. Upon removal the occupants shall be deemed to have abandoned his or her rights of occupancy and the owner may then make such unit available to other occupants.

Source. 2006, 312:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2007.

 

Section 540-C:4

    540-C:4 Civil Penalty. – Any person who directs a law enforcement officer to remove a tenant from a dwelling unit covered by this chapter without complying with RSA 540-C:3, or misrepresents to a law enforcement officer that the unit is a covered unit under this chapter shall be liable to any tenant who is involuntarily removed from the unit by the law enforcement officer in an amount equivalent to 3 months rent, plus costs and attorneys fees.

Source. 2006, 312:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2007.

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