Steps of the eviction process in New Hampshire:
- Landlord serves tenant written notice.
- Landlord files complaint with court (if unresolved).
- Appearance is filed.
- Court holds hearing & issues judgment.
- Writ of possession is posted.
- Possession of property is returned to landlord.
Evicting a tenant in New Hampshire can take around one to two months, depending on the reason for the eviction. If tenants request a continuance or file an appeal, the process can take longer.
Grounds for an Eviction in New Hampshire
In New Hampshire, a landlord cannot legally evict a tenant without cause. Legal grounds to evict include not paying rent on time, staying after the lease ends, violating lease terms or illegal activity. Even so, proper notice must first be given before ending the tenancy.
|Nonpayment of Rent||7 Days||Maybe|
|End of / No Lease||30 Days||No|
|Lease Violation||30 Days||No|
|Good Cause||30 Days||No|
|Illegal Activity||7 Days||No|
Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent
In New Hampshire, a landlord can evict a tenant for not paying rent on time. To do so, they must first give 7 days’ notice to pay rent or vacate the premises. If the tenant does neither after that time, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.
Unless the lease states otherwise, rent is due at the beginning of each pay period and is considered late in New Hampshire the day immediately after its due date. So for example, if rent is due on the first of the month, it is considered late starting on the second of the month (if not paid in full). There is no right to a legal grace period (i.e., five days) or exceptions for weekends or court-observed holidays.
Eviction for No Lease or End of Lease
In New Hampshire, a landlord can evict a tenant without a lease or with a lease that has ended (known as a “holdover tenant” or “tenant at will”). To do so, they must first terminate the tenancy by giving proper notice to move out (30 days for tenants that pay month-to-month).
Once the tenancy ends, if the tenant remains on the property, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.
Eviction for Violation of Lease or Responsibilities
In New Hampshire, a landlord can evict a tenant for violating the terms of their lease or not upholding their responsibilities under New Hampshire landlord-tenant law. To do so, the landlord must first give 30 days’ notice to move out. A tenant does not have the opportunity to correct the issue to avoid eviction.
Tenant responsibilities include:
- Keeping the unit in a safe and habitable condition.
- Keeping fixtures clean and sanitary.
- Making small repairs and maintenance.
- Not disturbing other tenants or neighbors.
Examples of lease violations:
- Failing to prepare the rental unit for necessary rodent or insect treatments.
- Having an unauthorized pet or guest.
- Parking in an unauthorized area.
- Not maintaining a certain level of cleanliness.
If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Eviction for Good Cause
In New Hampshire, a landlord can evict a tenant for a “good cause.” To do so, the landlord must first give 30 days’ notice to move out. A tenant does not have the opportunity to correct the issue to avoid eviction.
Examples of “good cause” include:
- A tenant’s refusal to agree to a change in the lease agreement (i.e., a rent increase).
- A legitimate business reason of the landlord.
- An economic reason of the landlord.
Eviction for Illegal Activity
In New Hampshire, a landlord can evict a tenant for committing an illegal activity or a substantial violation. To do so, the landlord must first give 7 days’ notice to move out. A tenant does not have the opportunity to correct the issue to avoid eviction.
Examples of illegal activity include:
- Threatening the health and safety of other tenants, landlord, or landlord’s agent.
- Causing substantial property damage (i.e., tampering with the electrical wiring, damaging the plumbing in the rental unit).
- Refusing to move out of the rental unit temporarily so the landlord can address a lead-paint hazard on the property.
If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Illegal Evictions in New Hampshire
In New Hampshire, any of the self-help evictions and retaliatory evictions are illegal. A tenant can only be legally removed with a court order obtained through the formal eviction process.
No matter the situation, a landlord is not allowed to forcibly remove a tenant by:
- Changing the locks.
- Shutting off utilities.
- Removing tenant belongings.
If a landlord is found liable for a self-help eviction, they could pay the tenant $3,000 or more, plus actual damages, court costs and attorneys’ fees.
It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant in response to exercising a legally protected right. These rights include:
- Complaining about habitability issue to the landlord, board, agency or any authority tasked to enforce the law.
- Meeting or fathering with other tenants for lawful purposes.
If a landlord is found liable for a retaliatory eviction, the landlord could be required to pay the tenant an amount equal to three month’s rent.
Step 1: Landlord Serves Notice to Tenant
A landlord can begin the eviction process in New Hampshire by serving the tenant with written notice. The notice must be delivered by one of the following methods:
- Giving a copy to the tenant in person.
- Leaving a copy at the tenant’s last known address.
It is important for a landlord to always maintain a copy of the signed and served notice as proof of proper service of notice.
7-Day Notice to Pay or Quit
If a tenant is late on paying rent (full or partial) in New Hampshire, the landlord can serve them a 7-Day Notice to Pay or Quit. This notice gives the tenant 7 calendar days to pay the entire remaining balance or vacate the premises.
For nonpayment of rent, if the tenant pays the full rent owed before the eviction hearing including any late payments, filing fees, service charges, plus $15 as liquated damages the eviction process will stop.
30-Day Notice to Quit (No Lease/End of Lease)
In New Hampshire, for a tenant with no lease or a month-to-month lease, the landlord must serve them a 30-Day Notice to Quit to end the tenancy. This eviction notice allows the tenant 30 calendar days to move out without the chance to fix the issue.
For tenants that don’t pay monthly, the amount of notice does not change.
30-Day Notice to Quit (Non-Compliance/Good Cause)
If a tenant commits a violation of the terms of their lease or wants to evict a tenant for “good cause”, the landlord can serve them a 30-Day Notice to Quit. This notice gives the tenant 30 calendar days to vacate the premises without the chance to fix the issue.
7-Day Notice to Quit
If a tenant commits an illegal activity in New Hampshire, the landlord can serve them a 7-Day Notice to Quit. This notice gives the tenant 7 calendar days to vacate the premises without the chance to fix the issue.
Step 2: Landlord Files Lawsuit with Court
As the next step in the eviction process, New Hampshire landlords must file a complaint in the appropriate court. In the state of New Hampshire, this costs $125 in filing fees, plus $1.00 for the cost of writ regardless of where the case is heard.
The summons and complaint must be served on the tenant by the sheriff prior to the hearing through one of the following methods:
- Giving a copy to the tenant in person; or
- Leaving a copy at the tenant’s residence.
Other methods may be allowed but would need to be approved by a judicial officer first, and only if these two methods fail.
A few days to a few weeks, depending on the service method chosen.
Step 3: Appearance is Filed
If New Hampshire tenants want to object to (or “contest”) the eviction hearing, they must file an appearance with the court by the return date listed on the summons. This date may vary depending on where the rental property is located, but could be around seven days.
An appearance is a written document the tenant must file with the court to attend the eviction hearing. The return date is not the date the eviction hearing will be held but the deadline by which the tenant’s appearance must be filed with the court.
If the tenant fails to file an appearance with the court by the deadline, the court may issue a default judgment in favor of the landlord, meaning the tenant will have to move out of the rental unit without being allowed to attend a hearing.
If the tenant pays rent in full before the eviction hearing plus any late payments, filing fees, service charges, and $15 as liquated damages, the eviction process will stop.
A few days, depending on the court location.
Step 4: Court Holds Hearing & Judgment
The eviction hearing will be held within 10 days of the date the tenant’s appearance was filed with the court.
If the tenant fails to appear for the hearing, the judicial officer may issue a default judgment in favor of the landlord, meaning the tenant will have to move out.
Either the landlord or tenant may request a continuance, not to exceed 30 days.
If the judicial officer rules in favor of the landlord, either through a default judgment or at an eviction hearing, a writ of possession will be issued and the eviction process will continue.
Tenants may file an appeal, but they must do so within seven days of the date the judgment is issued in the landlord’s favor.
Approximately 10 days. The eviction hearing must be held within 10 days of the date the tenant’s appearance is filed with the court.
Step 5: Writ of Possession Is Issued
The writ of possession is the tenant’s final notice to leave the rental unit, and gives them the opportunity to remove their belongings before the sheriff returns to the property to forcibly remove the tenant.
When the writ is issued depends on how the court determines the tenant has to move out.
If a default judgment is issued because the tenant failed to file an appearance or failed to attend the hearing, the writ of possession will be issued at least five business days after the notice of default judgment is issued by the court.
If the tenant appeared at the eviction hearing and the court ruled in the landlord’s favor, the writ will be issued at least seven days after the ruling is issued. This gives the tenant time to file an appeal.
If the reason for the eviction is nonpayment of rent, and the tenant and landlord reach an agreement about payments before the writ of possession is issued by the court, the eviction process will be stopped.
5-7 days, depending on whether the court issued a default judgment in favor of the landlord or held a trial and ruled in favor of the landlord.
Step 6: Possession of Property is Returned
New Hampshire state law doesn’t specify how quickly law enforcement officials must forcibly remove tenants from the rental unit once they have received the writ of possession.
However, tenants may request a stay of execution for up to three months. It is up to court to grant the stay or not.
Up to 3 months, if a stay of execution is granted.
New Hampshire Eviction Process Timeline
In New Hampshire, an eviction can be completed in 1 to 2 months but can take longer depending on the reason for eviction, whether the eviction is contested, which days courts are (or aren’t) in session and other various possible delays.
Below are the parts of the New Hampshire eviction process outside the control of landlords for cases that go uncontested.
|Initial Notice Period||7-30 Calendar Days|
|Court Issuing/Serving Summons||3-21 Business Days|
|Tenant Response Period||~3 Business Days|
|Court Ruling||10 Business Days|
|Court Serving Writ of Possession||5-7 Business Days|
|Final Notice Period||24 Hours – 3 Months|
Flowchart of New Hampshire Eviction Process
For additional questions about the eviction process in New Hampshire, please refer to the official legislation, New Hampshire Revised Statutes §510, §540, and the Rules of the Circuit Court for the State of New Hampshire, Rules 5.6 and 5.7, for more information.
- 1 NH Rev Stat §540:3 (2019)
- 2 NH Rev Stat §540:3 (2019)
- 3 NH Rev Stat §540:3 (2019)
- 4 NH Rev Stat §540:3 (2019)
- 5 NH Rev Stat §540:3 (2019)
- 6 NH Rev Stat §540:3 (2019)
- 7 NH Rev Stat §540-A:4 (2019)
- 8 NH Rev Stat §540-13a (2019)
- 9 NH Rev Stat §540-14 (2021)
- 10 NH Rev Stat §540:13 (2019)
- 11 NH Rev Stat §510:2 (2019)
- 12 NH Rev Stat §540:13 (2019)
- 13 NH Rev Stat §540:13 (2019)
- 14 NH Rev Stat §540:9 (2019)
- 15 Rules of the Circuit Court of the State of NH, Rule 5.6 (2019)
- 16 NH Rev Stat §540:13 (2019)
- 17 Rules of the Circuit Court of the State of NH, Rule 5.7 (2019)
- 18 Rules of the Circuit Court of the State of NH, Rule 5.7 (2019)
- 19 NH Rev Stat §540:13-c (2019)
- 20 NH Rev Stat §540:13-c (2019)