New Hampshire
Eviction Process

The CDC issued a halt on evictions until Dec. 31 for qualifying renters. Click here

Timeline. Evicting a tenant in New Hampshire can take around 1-2 months, depending on the reason for the eviction. If tenants request a continuance or file an appeal, the process can take longer (read more).

Questions? To chat with a New Hampshire eviction lawyer online now, Click here

Below are the individual steps of the eviction process in New Hampshire.

Step 1: Notice is Posted

Landlords in New Hampshire can begin the eviction process for several reasons, including:

  1. Nonpayment of Rent – Once rent is past due, notice must be given to the tenant before the landlord can proceed with an eviction action.
  2. Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement – If a tenant violates a provision of a written lease/rental agreement, the landlord is not required to give the tenant the opportunity to correct the issue before moving forward with the eviction process.
  3. No Lease / End of Lease Term (Tenant at Will) – If there is no lease or the term of the lease has ended, the landlord does not need any additional reason to end the tenancy as long as proper notice is given.
  4. Substantial Property Damage – If tenants cause substantial property damage, they must receive written notice prior to being evicted.
  5. Failure to Accept Temporary Relocation – If the tenant won’t move out temporarily so lead paint can be remediated, they can be evicted with proper notice.
  6. Failure to Prepare Rental Unit for Remediation – If tenants are notified that they must perform certain actions to prepare the unit for the treatment of rodents/insects, and they fail to comply, they can be evicted.
  7. Illegal Activity – If a tenant is engaged in activity that endangers the health/safety of other residents, they must be given a written notice to quit.
NOTES
  • Retaliatory Evictions. It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant for complaining to the landlord or to the appropriate local or government agency regarding the property. It is also illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant for joining, supporting, or organizing a tenant organization or union.
  • Evicting a Squatter. If the individual occupying the property did not have the permission of the landlord when initially moving in, does not have a lease (or verbal agreement) and has no history of paying rent, then a landlord/tenant relationship may not be established. As a result, the normal eviction process may not be applicable (read more).

Each possible ground for eviction has its own rules for how the process starts.

Eviction Process for Nonpayment of Rent

A landlord is allowed to evict a tenant for failing to pay rent on time.

According to New Hampshire law, rent is considered late the day after it’s due; grace periods, if any, are addressed in the lease/rental agreement.

Once rent is past due, the landlord must provide tenants with a 7-Day Notice to Quit if the landlord wants to file an eviction action with the court. This notice gives the tenant the option to move out within 7 days in order to avoid eviction.

New Hampshire landlords are not required to allow tenants to pay the past-due rent amount in order to avoid eviction, but they can choose to do so; however, if the tenant does pay all past-due rent plus any other required fees, the eviction process will be stopped .

If the tenant does not move out of the rental unit/pay the rent due by the end of the notice period, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction Process for Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement

A tenant can be evicted in New Hampshire if they do not uphold their responsibilities under the terms of a written lease/rental agreement.

New Hampshire landlords are not required to allow tenants to correct a lease violation in these instances, but they must provide tenants with a 30-Day Notice to Quit, giving the tenant 30 days to move out of the rental unit in order to avoid eviction.

Typical lease violations under this category could include things like minor damage to the rental property, having too many people residing in the rental unit, and having a pet when there’s a no-pet policy.

Note that illegal activity is not included in this category.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction Process for No Lease / End of Lease

In the state of New Hampshire, if tenants “hold over,” or stay in the rental unit after the rental term has expired, then the landlord must give tenants notice before evicting them. This can include tenants without a written lease and week-to-week and month-to-month tenants.

Often this type of eviction applies to tenants who are at the end of their lease and the landlord doesn’t want to renew.

All tenants must be given 30 days’ notice regardless of the length or type of tenancy.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction Process for Substantial Property Damage

A tenant can be evicted in New Hampshire if they cause substantial property damage to the rental unit.

In these instances, the landlord is required to provide the tenant with a 7-Day Notice to Quit, giving the tenant 7 days to move out of the rental unit in order to avoid eviction.

Examples of substantial property damage could include things like tampering with the electrical wiring or damaging the plumbing in the rental unit.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction Process for Failure to Accept Temporary Relocation

A tenant can be evicted in New Hampshire if they refuse to move out of the rental unit temporarily so the landlord can address lead-paint hazards on the property.

In these cases, the landlord is required to provide the tenant with a 7-Day Notice to Quit, giving the tenant 7 days to move out of the rental unit permanently.

While the relocation during the lead-paint abatement would have been temporary, if the tenant refuses to move into alternate housing during the abatement process, the landlord can permanently evict the tenant.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction Process for Failure to Prepare Rental Unit for Treatment

A tenant can be evicted in New Hampshire for failing to prepare their rental unit for necessary rodent or insect treatments.

This is a valid reason for eviction if all of the following are true:

  • The tenant received written notice from the landlord explaining what actions the tenant needs to take to prepare for remediation
  • The tenant has been given enough time to perform the requested actions, and
  • The tenant has intentionally failed to comply

Landlords who find themselves in these situations are required to provide tenants with a 30-Day Notice to Quit, giving tenants 30 days to move out of the rental unit in order to avoid eviction.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction Process for Illegal Activity

Tenants who threaten the health/safety of other tenants, the landlord, or the landlord’s agent, must be given 7 days’ written notice before the landlord can proceed with an eviction action.

New Hampshire state law doesn’t specify which criminal acts are included under endangering others’ “health” or “safety.”

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Questions? To chat with a New Hampshire eviction lawyer online now, Click here

Step 2: Complaint is Filed and Served

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, regardless of where the case is heard.

The summons and complaint must be served on the tenant by :

  1. Giving a copy to the tenant in person
  2. 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 7 days .

An appearance is a written document the tenant must file with the court in order 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.

A few days, depending on the court location.

Step 4: Court Hearing and 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 7 days of the date the judgment is issued in the landlord’s favor.

~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 5 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 7 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 3 months . It is up to court whether or not to grant the stay.

Up to 3 months, if a stay of execution is granted.

Questions? To chat with a New Hampshire eviction lawyer online now, Click here

New Hampshire Eviction Process Timeline

Below is a summary of the aspects outside of the landlord’s control that dictate the amount of time it takes to evict a tenant in New Hampshire. With that being said, these estimates can vary greatly, and some time periods may not include weekends or legal holidays.

  1. Initial Notice Period – between 7 and 30 days, depending on the notice type and reason for eviction.
  2. Issuance/Service of Summons and Complaint – a few days to a few weeks.
  3. Appearance is Filed– a few days, depending on the court location.
  4. Court Hearing and Ruling on the Eviction – 10 days; more if a continuance is requested or an appeal is filed.
  5. Issuance of Writ of Possession – 5-7 days, depending on whether the court issued a default judgment or held an eviction hearing.
  6. Return of Possession – up to 3 months if the court grants a stay of execution.

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.