PROCEEDINGS IN SPECIAL CASES
ACTIONS AGAINST TENANTS
See Emergency Order #4 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-12-Emerg. (2020, 2004:1.)) as modified by Emergency Order #24 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-12-Emerg. (2020, 2024:1.)) and terminated by Emergency Order #51 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-51-Emerg. (2020, 2051:1.)) effective July 1, 2020, issued pursuant to Executive Order 2020-04 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-04 (2020, 1004:1.)) as extended by Executive Orders 2020-05 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-05 (2020, 1005:1.)); 2020-08 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-08 (2020, 1008:1.)); 2020-09 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-09 (2020, 1009:1.)); 2020-010 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-010 (2020, 1010:1.)); 2020-014 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-014 (2020, 1014:1.)); 2020-015 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-015 (2020, 1015:1.)); 2020-016 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-016 (2020, 1016:1.)); 2020-017 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-017 (2020, 1017:1.)); 2020-018 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-018 (2020, 1018:1.)); 2020-020 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-020 (2020, 1020:1.)); 2020-021 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-021 (2020, 1021:1.)); 2020-022 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-022 (2020, 1022:1.)); 2020-023 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-023 (2020, 1023:1.)); 2020-024 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-024 (2020, 1024:1.)); 2020-025 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-025 (2020, 1025:1.)); 2021-01 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2021-01 (2021, 1001:1.)); 2021-02 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2021-02 (2021, 1002:1.)); 2021-04 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2021-04 (2021, 1004:1.)); 2021-05 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2021-05 (2021, 1005:1.)); 2021-06 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2021-06 (2021, 1006:1.)); 2021-08 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2021-08 (2021, 1008:1.)); and 2021-010 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2021-010 (2021, 1010:1.)), related to the COVID-19 State of Emergency, for potential impact on the terms of this section. The state of emergency was allowed to expire on June 11, 2021. See also 2021, 91:301, eff. July 1, 2021, regarding application of Emergency Orders.
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.