In New Hampshire, a rental agreement can be either written or oral. New Hampshire law (RSA Tit. III Ch. 48-A) states that the rental agreement grants certain rights to the landlords, such as the right to collect rent in a timely manner and to be reimbursed for damages that exceed normal wear and tear caused by the tenant.
Tenants also have rights, including the right to a habitable dwelling unit and the right to seek out housing without discrimination.
Note: These rights exist regardless of a rental agreement stating otherwise.
Landlord Responsibilities in New Hampshire
Landlords in New Hampshire are required to provide habitable premises and must respond to repair requests in a timely manner (14 days). If they do not, then New Hampshire tenants have the right to take at least one form of alternative action. They can unilaterally withhold rent if a landlord fails to address the issue.
Here is a list of essential amenities that landlords are or are not responsible for.
|Pest inspection and abatement||Yes|
|Electrical wiring and outlets||Yes|
|Mold||Depends on jurisdiction|
Landlords are not permitted to evict tenants in retaliation for exercising their housing rights (i.e. filing a health and safety violation).
Tenant Responsibilities in New Hampshire
Apart from paying rent in a timely manner, New Hampshire tenants are required to:
- Keep the unit in a safe and habitable condition
- Keep fixtures clean and sanitary
- Make small repairs and maintenance
- Not disturb other tenants or neighbors
Evictions in New Hampshire
New Hampshire landlords are empowered to evict tenants for the following reasons:
- Nonpayment of rent – If a New Hampshire tenant fails to pay rent then the landlord may issue a 7-Day Notice to Pay or Quit. If the tenants still fail to pay, then the landlord may file a Summons and Complaint with a local court.
- Lease violation – If a lease violation occurs, then a tenant is entitled to receive a 30-Day Notice to Cure or Quit. If these terms are not met within the notice period, then the landlord may pursue formal eviction.
- Illegal acts – New Hampshire law does not establish illegal acts as justification for eviction. Nevertheless, language in almost all lease agreements have provisions for evictable illegal offenses. It’s customary for landlords to issue a 7-Day Notice to Quit.
At-will tenants are entitled to at least 30 days’ notice before being evicted. It is illegal to evict tenants as a form of retaliation or for discriminatory reasons.
Security Deposits in New Hampshire
- Standard Limit/Maximum Amount – 1 month’s rent (excluding pet deposits).
- Time Limit for Returns – 30 days.
- Penalty if Not Returned on Time – If a New Hampshire landlord wrongfully withholds rent, then they could be liable to pay up to twice the value of the original deposit.
- Allowable Deductions – Unpaid rent, damages that exceed normal wear and tear, estate tax.
Lease Termination in New Hampshire
Notice requirements. If a New Hampshire tenant wishes to break a periodic lease then they must give the following amounts of notice:
|Rent Payment Frequency||Notice Needed|
Early termination. If a tenant wishes to break a lease early then they may do so for the following reasons:
- Early termination clause
- Active military duty
- Landlord harassment
- Uninhabitable unit
Tenants who break a lease early may still be required to pay rent until they find a new tenant to take over. New Hampshire law does not obligate landlords to assist with the re-rental process.
Rent Increases & Related Fees in New Hampshire
- Rent control. New Hampshire law prohibits local jurisdiction from passing rent contour policies. As such, landlords are free to charge what they want in rental prices.
- Rental increases. Landlords are not limited in how much they raise rental prices but they must give at least 30 days’ notice before doing so.
- Rent-related fees. State laws do not put a cap on late fees but returned check fees are limited to the face value of the check plus processing fees as a penalty.
Housing Discrimination in New Hampshire
Protected groups. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, familial status, sex, and disability. These rules do not apply to owner-occupied homes or to homes operated by religious organizations. New Hampshire state law adds extra protections for tenants on the basis of age, marital status, or sexual orientation.
Discriminatory acts & penalties. The New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights handles housing discrimination complaints in the state. The following behaviors may be interpreted as discriminatory when directed at a member of a protected class:
- Refusing to rent, sell, or negotiate housing
- Offering different terms, conditions, or privileges
- Falsely denying unit availability
- Advertisements that indicate a discriminatory preference
- Failing to make reasonable accommodations
- “Steering” tenants or other kinds of exclusionary zoning
Tenants who believe that they have been the victim of housing discrimination may file a complaint online. If the complaint is found justified, then the hearings will determine penalties on a case-by-case basis.
Additional Landlord Tenant Regulations in New Hampshire
Landlord Right to Entry in New Hampshire
New Hampshire landlords are required to provide “adequate” notice before entering a property but “adequate” is not defined by the law. As such, landlords and tenants may establish their own entry notifications policies in the lease agreement. Landlords are assumed to not need permission to enter in case of emergencies.
Small Claims Court in New Hampshire
New Hampshire small claims court will handle rent-related cases valued up to $7,500, though small claims court will not handle eviction cases. Written and oral contracts in New Hampshire have a 3-year statute of limitations.
Mandatory Disclosures in New Hampshire
New Hampshire landlords must give only one mandatory disclosure:
- Lead-based paint. Landlords that own properties built before 1978 must provide information about concentrations of lead paint.
Changing the Locks in New Hampshire
Landlords are prohibited from changing locks without the tenants permission and tenants can request a lock change if they are the victim of domestic abuse and the landlord must cover the cost of changing the locks.
Additional Resources for New Hampshire Renters
In addition, please check your local county and municipality for additional landlord tenant regulations. To learn more, please refer to the below digital resources.