New Hampshire Eviction Laws: 2024 Step by Step Process & Costs

In the picturesque state of New Hampshire, where the spirit of independence and respect for individual rights are deeply ingrained, understanding eviction laws is crucial for maintaining a balance between landlords' property rights and tenants' right to fair housing. Eviction laws in New Hampshire are not just legal procedures; they reflect a commitment to ensuring fairness, safety, and respect in the landlord-tenant relationship.

The eviction process in New Hampshire is governed by a set of laws that are designed to protect both parties involved. For landlords, these laws provide a clear and legal path for regaining possession of their property when tenants violate lease terms or fail to pay rent. For tenants, these laws offer protection against unlawful evictions and ensure that they receive adequate notice and an opportunity to remedy any violations before eviction proceedings can begin.

Navigating the eviction process can be complex and is often fraught with emotional and financial implications for both landlords and tenants. It's a procedure that requires careful attention to legal details and timelines. For landlords, failure to adhere to the legal requirements can result in costly delays or legal repercussions. For tenants, understanding their rights is vital for defending themselves against unjust evictions.

This article aims to demystify the eviction process in New Hampshire by providing a comprehensive guide that outlines each step, from the initial notice to the final eviction enforcement. By understanding these laws, both landlords and tenants can ensure they act within their legal rights and responsibilities, thus contributing to a more harmonious living environment and community.

Understanding New Hampshire Eviction Laws

The legal framework governing evictions in New Hampshire is primarily derived from New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated (RSA) Chapter 540, which provides the foundational structure for landlord-tenant relationships and eviction proceedings. This framework is designed to ensure that evictions are conducted fairly and legally, protecting the rights of both landlords and tenants.

Key Statutes

NH Rev Stat §540 is the primary statute that outlines the eviction process in New Hampshire. It specifies the legal grounds on which a landlord can initiate an eviction, the notice requirements for tenants, and the procedures for filing an eviction lawsuit.

Tenant Protections

New Hampshire law offers several protections to tenants to prevent unjust evictions. For instance, it prohibits eviction as a form of retaliation (NH Rev Stat §540:13-a) and establishes strict guidelines for landlords regarding the handling of security deposits (NH Rev Stat §540-A:6).

Landlord Obligations

Landlords are mandated to adhere to specific responsibilities, including maintaining the rental property in a habitable condition, complying with health and safety standards, and providing necessary amenities as per RSA 48-A:14 and RSA 153:10-a.

Grounds for Eviction in New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, landlords can evict tenants for several specific reasons. Understanding these grounds is crucial for both landlords and tenants to ensure the eviction process is justified and legal.

Nonpayment of Rent

The most common ground for eviction is the nonpayment of rent. In such cases, tenants are typically given a 7-day notice to pay the rent or face eviction. This period allows tenants a chance to rectify the situation before legal actions escalate.

Lease Violations

Lease violations encompass a range of issues, such as:

  • Unauthorized occupants or pets.
  • Causing significant damage to the property.
  • Conducting illegal activities on the premises.
  • Disturbing the peace or creating a nuisance.

Landlords must provide a 30-day notice for lease violations, offering tenants an opportunity to correct the issue.

End of Lease Term

A landlord may choose not to renew a lease at the end of its term. However, proper notice must be given, typically aligning with the rental payment period (e.g., 30 days for month-to-month leases).

Property Damage or Health Hazards

If a tenant causes serious damage to the property or creates a health hazard, this can be grounds for eviction. Examples include significant destruction beyond normal wear and tear or failing to address pest infestations after being notified.

Violation of Laws or Rental Agreement Clauses

Violating specific laws or clauses stipulated in the rental agreement can lead to eviction. This includes repeated late rent payments, failure to maintain the rental unit, or other breaches of the lease terms.

Tenant's Right to Cure

In most cases, New Hampshire law allows tenants the right to cure the violation within the notice period. For example, paying overdue rent during the 7-day notice period for nonpayment can halt the eviction process.

It's important to note that evictions cannot be used as retaliation against tenants who exercise their legal rights, such as reporting health and safety violations. Additionally, evictions based on discriminatory reasons are strictly prohibited under both federal and state laws.

Understanding these grounds for eviction helps ensure that any eviction proceedings are conducted in compliance with New Hampshire's legal framework, thus protecting the rights and interests of both parties.

Notice Requirements for Eviction in New Hampshire

Nonpayment of Rent

In cases of nonpayment of rent, landlords must give a 7-day notice before proceeding with eviction. This notice is a legal requirement that allows tenants a short window to pay the overdue amount and avoid further legal action. It's crucial for this notice to clearly state the total rent due and specify the final date by which this payment must be made to prevent the eviction process from moving forward.

Lease Violations

For evictions due to lease violations, a 30-day notice is mandated. This extended period provides tenants with adequate time to correct the issue, whether it's unauthorized occupants, pets, or other lease non-compliances. The notice should clearly articulate the nature of the violation and the corrective actions expected. This approach aims to resolve issues amicably without resorting to eviction if possible.

End of Lease Term / No Cause

When a lease term concludes or in case of a no-cause eviction (such as in month-to-month tenancies), landlords are generally required to provide a 30-day notice. This duration allows tenants to make necessary arrangements for relocation. The notice should indicate the termination of the lease or tenancy, emphasizing the final date the tenant is expected to vacate the premises, thereby ensuring clarity and avoiding potential disputes.When a lease term concludes or in case of a no-cause eviction (such as in month-to-month tenancies), landlords are generally required to provide a 30-day notice. This duration allows tenants to make necessary arrangements for relocation. The notice should indicate the termination of the lease or tenancy, emphasizing the final date the tenant is expected to vacate the premises, thereby ensuring clarity and avoiding potential disputes.

Health and Safety Violations

Notices for health and safety violations depend on the severity and nature of the issue. The landlord must describe the specific violation, such as pest infestation or safety hazards, and clearly outline the steps the tenant needs to take to rectify the problem. This notice is not only a legal requirement but also a step towards ensuring the rental property remains a safe and habitable environment.

Delivery and Documentation

The delivery of these notices is as crucial as their content. Landlords must choose a method that guarantees the tenant receives the notice, like personal delivery or certified mail. Proper documentation of how and when the notice was delivered is essential, as it may be required later if the eviction process escalates to a court case. This documentation is a crucial part of the eviction process, serving as evidence that the landlord has fulfilled their legal obligations.

By closely following these notice requirements, landlords in New Hampshire can proceed with eviction processes in compliance with the law, and tenants are given appropriate opportunities to address the issues at hand. This approach seeks to balance the rights and responsibilities of both parties involved in the rental agreement.

Step-by-Step Guide to the Eviction Process

The eviction process in New Hampshire follows a structured legal pathway. This section provides a detailed overview of each step in this process.

1. Issuance of Proper Notice

The landlord must first issue a proper notice to the tenant, which varies based on the reason for eviction (e.g., nonpayment of rent, lease violations). 7 days for nonpayment of rent, 30 days for lease violations, and typically 30 days for no-cause evictions or end of lease.

2. Filing of the Eviction Lawsuit

If the tenant fails to comply with the notice, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit, known as a Landlord and Tenant Writ, in the Circuit Court. The landlord needs to provide documentation, including the issued notice and evidence of the lease violation or rent due.

3. Service of Summons and Complaint

The court issues a summons and complaint to the tenant, detailing the lawsuit and court date. The summons and complaint must be served to the tenant, typically by a sheriff.

4. Tenant's Response

Tenants have the opportunity to file an appearance and respond to the lawsuit, either accepting, denying, or offering a different account of the situation. The response must be filed by the date indicated on the summons, generally within 7 days.

5. Court Hearing

A court hearing is scheduled, where both parties present their case. The judge makes a decision based on the evidence and arguments presented.

6. Issuance of Judgment and Writ of Possession

If the court rules in favor of the landlord, a writ of possession is issued, authorizing the eviction. The writ of possession typically gives the tenant a short period (usually 7 days) to vacate the property.

7. Enforcement of Eviction

If the tenant fails to vacate, the sheriff will enforce the writ of possession. The sheriff is responsible for removing the tenant and ensuring the landlord regains possession of the property.

8. Handling Tenant's Personal Property

The landlord must handle any property left behind by the tenant according to state laws, typically storing it for a short period before disposing of it.

9. Post-Eviction Procedures

Tenants have the right to appeal the court’s decision within a specific timeframe. In certain cases, court-supervised "pay and stay" agreements may be made, allowing the tenant to remain in the property under a new payment plan.

Costs Associated with Eviction in New Hampshire

The eviction process in New Hampshire involves various costs, some of which are often overlooked. Understanding these costs can help landlords and tenants better prepare for the financial implications of an eviction.

For Landlords

Court Filing Fees

The initial cost for a landlord to file an eviction lawsuit in New Hampshire is about $125, but this can vary depending on the court and case specifics.

If a landlord opts for legal representation, attorney fees can add a significant expense. The cost varies based on the complexity of the case and the attorney’s rates.

Service Fees

The cost of serving the tenant with the eviction notice and court documents, typically around $30 for each service.

Lost Rent

During the eviction process, landlords may not receive rent payments, resulting in a loss of income.

Property Damage

In some cases, evicted tenants may leave behind property damage, adding repair costs to the landlord’s expenses.

Turnover Costs

After eviction, costs associated with preparing the property for a new tenant, such as cleaning, repairs, and marketing, must be considered.

For Tenants

If a tenant hires an attorney, they will incur legal fees. These fees depend on the nature of the case and the lawyer’s rates.

Moving Expenses

If the eviction is upheld, tenants will need to bear the cost of moving to a new residence.

Damage to Credit and Rental History

An eviction can negatively impact a tenant’s credit score and rental history, potentially making it more difficult and expensive to rent in the future.

Storage Costs

Tenants may also face costs for storing their belongings if they cannot immediately move them to a new location.

Additional Considerations

Court-Imposed Costs

The court may impose additional costs, such as late fees or damages, on the losing party.

Time and Emotional Toll

Beyond financial costs, the eviction process can be time-consuming and emotionally taxing for both parties.

It is important for both landlords and tenants to consider these costs when navigating the eviction process. For landlords, it’s a balance between the cost of eviction and the potential losses from continuing a problematic tenancy. For tenants, understanding these potential costs can underscore the importance of addressing eviction-related issues promptly.

Cost Type Average Cost ($) Description
Court Filing Fees 100-200 Varies by county and complexity of the eviction case.
Attorney Fees 600-3000 Depending on case complexity and attorney rates.
Lost Rental Income Varies Depends on rental value and duration of the process.
Property Maintenance and Repairs 200-2000 Costs for repairs and preparation for new tenants.
Service of Process Fees 40-100 Costs for serving eviction notices and legal documents.
Sheriff or Marshal Fees 50-150 Fees for enforcement of eviction by law enforcement.
Storage and Removal of Tenant's Property 100-500 Costs for storing or removing tenant’s belongings.
Administrative Expenses 50-200 Miscellaneous expenses related to the eviction process.
Potential Legal Damages (if applicable) Varies Costs in case of legal challenges or wrongful eviction.

This table provides a comprehensive overview of the average costs that landlords in New Hampshire might incur during the eviction process. It includes court filing fees, attorney fees, lost rental income, property maintenance, and other related costs. The costs are approximate and can vary based on specific circumstances and cases. ​​

Strategies to Mitigate Evictions

Mitigating evictions is beneficial for both landlords and tenants, as it can save time, money, and stress. In New Hampshire, there are several strategies that can be employed to reduce the likelihood of evictions or to resolve eviction-related issues before they escalate to the court.

For Landlords

Open Communication

Establishing a line of open and honest communication with tenants can help address issues before they escalate to the point of eviction.

Flexible Payment Plans

If a tenant is struggling with rent payments, consider setting up a flexible payment plan. This approach can help tenants stay current and avoid the need for eviction.

Regular Property Inspections

Conducting regular inspections can help identify and address maintenance issues early, preventing lease violations related to property condition.

Clear Lease Agreements

Ensure that lease agreements are clear and detailed, outlining tenant responsibilities and consequences for violations, to avoid misunderstandings.

Mediation Services

Utilize mediation services to resolve disputes with tenants. This can be a more cost-effective and less adversarial solution than eviction.

For Tenants

Timely Communication

If facing financial difficulties or other issues that might lead to lease violations, communicate with your landlord as soon as possible.

Understanding Lease Terms

Be fully aware of the lease terms and comply with them. If unsure about any clause, seek clarification.

Maintaining the Property

Take good care of the rental property to avoid damages that could lead to eviction.

Seeking Assistance

If struggling with rent, look for government assistance programs or community resources that can help with temporary financial setbacks.

If faced with a potential eviction, seek legal advice to understand your rights and options under New Hampshire law.

By adopting these strategies, landlords and tenants can work together to prevent evictions, maintaining a positive rental relationship and ensuring stability for both parties.

Landlord Responsibilities and Tenant Rights

In New Hampshire, the relationship between landlords and tenants is governed by laws that outline specific responsibilities and rights. These legal provisions ensure that rental agreements are fair and that both parties understand their obligations.

Landlord Responsibilities

Maintain Habitability

Landlords must provide a safe and sanitary living environment. This includes compliance with building and housing codes, ensuring proper plumbing, heating, and electrical systems, and maintaining structural integrity.


Landlords are responsible for making necessary repairs to keep the property habitable. Tenants should report any issues, and landlords are expected to address them in a timely manner.

Security Deposits

Landlords can collect security deposits, but these are subject to regulations, such as not exceeding one month's rent and the requirement to return them within 30 days after the lease ends, minus any lawful deductions.

Notice for Entry

Landlords must provide reasonable notice, typically 48 hours, before entering a tenant’s unit, except in emergencies.

Fire Safety

Ensuring the rental unit is equipped with working smoke detectors as per state law.

Tenant Rights

Right to Habitable Housing

Tenants have the right to a safe and habitable living environment. This includes proper heating, water, and sanitation facilities.

Right to Privacy

Tenants are entitled to privacy, with landlords required to provide notice before entering the rental unit.

Withholding Rent

In certain situations, such as the landlord failing to make essential repairs, tenants may have the right to withhold rent. However, this should be approached with legal advice as it can lead to eviction proceedings.

Security Deposit Return

Tenants have the right to receive their security deposit back within 30 days of the lease termination, with an itemized list of deductions, if any.

Protection Against Retaliation

Tenants are protected from retaliation by landlords for exercising their legal rights, such as complaining about unsafe living conditions.

Both landlords and tenants should be aware of these responsibilities and rights to ensure a fair and legal rental experience. Understanding these aspects can help prevent conflicts and misunderstandings, contributing to a more harmonious landlord-tenant relationship.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the eviction process take in New Hampshire?

The timeline for eviction can vary, but it generally takes between 1 to 2 months. Factors such as the reason for eviction, court schedules, and whether the eviction is contested can influence the duration.

Can a landlord evict a tenant without going to court in New Hampshire?

No, a landlord cannot legally evict a tenant without a court order. The process must go through the court, and only a sheriff can enforce an eviction after a court order is issued.

Are landlords required to provide a reason for not renewing a lease in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire law does not require landlords to provide a reason for not renewing a lease at the end of its term, provided proper notice is given.

Can a tenant be evicted in winter in New Hampshire?

Yes, tenants can be evicted in winter. There are no state laws in New Hampshire that prevent evictions during winter months.

What can a tenant do if they disagree with an eviction notice in New Hampshire?

Tenants can file an appearance in court by the return date specified in the summons to dispute the eviction. It is advisable to seek legal advice in such situations.

What are a tenant’s rights regarding their personal property after an eviction in New Hampshire?

After eviction, landlords in New Hampshire must store a tenant’s belongings for at least 7 days. The tenant has the right to reclaim their property during this period.

Need Help With The New Hampshire Eviction Process? Eviction Services Are Available

Between the day-to-day demands of property management and time associated with eviction suits, Hemlane can help. We offload things like rent collection, legal notices, and retaining counsel.

Receive the rent you’re owed while minimizing costly court fees. Explore our eviction services and on-demand delinquency management today.

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