A summary of New Hampshire Landlord Tenant Laws based on state law statutes as they apply to residential lease agreements executed between landlords and tenants.
Required Disclosures (by Landlords)
Move-in Checklist: Landlord must inform tenant that if tenant finds any conditions in the rental in need of repair, tenant may note them on the security deposit receipt or other writing (not a true checklist).
Security Deposit: Unless tenant has paid the deposit by personal or bank check, or by a check issued by a government agency, landlord must provide a receipt stating the amount of the deposit and the institution where it will be held. Regardless of whether a receipt is required, landlord must inform tenant that if tenant finds any conditions in the rental in need of repair, tenant may note them on the receipt or other written instrument, and return either within five days. (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 540-A:5 to 540-A:8; 540-B:10)
Security Deposit Limit
The equivalent of one month’s rent may be charged for the security deposit unless the landlord and tenant share the rental property, then New Hampshire does not legislate a limit. Note: New Hampshire’s security deposit laws does not apply to landlords who own just one single-family rental property. The law also does not apply to an owner-occupied building of up to five units (exception is granted to those units occupied tenants 60 years old and older). Landlords must pay interest on security deposits held for a year or longer.
Security deposits paid in cash only require the landlord to issue a receipt containing the amount and the name of the institution where it will be deposited.
Deadline for Returning Security Deposit
Usually a security deposit must be returned with 30 days upon the tenant moving out. However, if the tenant and landlord share the property and the deposit is more than one month’s rent, the landlord must provide a written agreement specifying when the deposit will be returned; if nothing has been written down, the deposit must be returned within 20 days.
Small Claims Lawsuits
Rental property disputes between landlords and tenants may be filed in small claims court to seek damages that don’t exceed $7,500.
There is no state statute for late fees, so the lease agreement must mention how much and when or the rent may be paid late without penalty until a termination notice is served.
Month-to-month tenancies must be given a 30 day notice to change its terms including rent. Longer term rental agreements must put an increase in writing for it to be valid.
Tenant’s Right to Withhold Rent
Rent withholding may occur according to N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 540:13-d if the landlord neglects to fix a reported problem in a timely manner that affects the health or safety of occupants or the habitability of the unit. However, the tenant must give a 14 day notice to the landlord allowing time for the issue to be fixed.
Termination and Eviction
N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 540:1-a, 540:2, 540:3 states different rules apply depending on whether the property is “restricted” (most residential property) or “nonrestricted” (single-family houses, if the owner of such a house does not own more than 3 single-family houses at any one time; rental units in an owner-occupied building containing a total of 4 dwelling units or fewer; and single-family houses acquired by banks or other mortgagees through foreclosure). (See N.H. Rev. Stat. § 540:1-a.)
A 7 day unconditional notice to quit may be used for…
Restricted property: Neglect or refusal to pay rent due and in arrears, upon demand; substantial damage to the premises; failure to comply with a material term of the lease; behavior of the tenant or members of his family that adversely affects the health or safety of the other tenants or the landlord or his representatives; failure of the tenant to accept suitable temporary relocation required by lead-based paint hazard abatement; other good cause.
Nonrestricted: Neglect or refusal to pay rent due and in arrears, upon demand; substantial damage to the premises; behavior of the tenant or members of his family that adversely affects the health or safety of the other tenants or the landlord or his representatives; failure of the tenant to accept suitable temporary relocation required by lead-based paint hazard abatement.
A 30 day conditional notice to cure or quit may be used for nonrestricted only and for any legal reason other than those specified just above (for which a 7 day notice is required)
Access to Property
According to the law, “adequate notice” must be given prior to entering the rental property.
Court may award the petitioner the exclusive use or possession of an automobile, home, and furniture if the defendant has a legal duty or has previously supported the petitioner or the petitioner’s minor children.
New Hampshire Lease Agreement
New Hampshire Landlord-Tenant Law Statutes
New Hampshire Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 540:1 to 540:29; 540-A:1 to 540-A:8; 540-B:1 to 540-B:10.