In New Hampshire a landlord’s obligation for providing a habitable living space is primarily governed by N.H. Rev. Stats. § 48-A:14. This legal requirement, commonly known as the “implied warranty of habitability”, also outlines the rights of tenants when repairs are not made in a timely manner.
Applicable Dwelling Types in New Hampshire
The implied warranty of habitability in New Hampshire does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are and aren’t included.
|Dwelling Type||Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?|
|Mobile home parks||Not addressed|
|Condos||Only if person in condo is renter, not owner|
Additionally, rental agreements are not allowed to include any provisions that waive the tenant’s right to live in a habitable residence.
Landlord Responsibilities in New Hampshire
The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability. Not all of them are requirements in New Hampshire, as indicated below.
Note: Some of the below items may not be addressed at the state level but may be addressed on a county or city level. Check your local housing codes to see which additional requirements may apply.
|Habitability Issue||Landlord Responsibility?|
|Provide windows and doors that are in good repair.||Not addressed|
|Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks.||Yes|
|Provide hot and cold running water.||Yes|
|Provide working HVAC equipment.||Heat only|
|Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting.||Yes|
|Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cooking||Yes|
|Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet).||Not addressed|
|Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services).||Yes|
|Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe.||Yes|
|Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe.||Yes|
|Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean.||Not addressed|
|Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials.||Not addressed|
|Provide working smoke detectors||Yes|
|Provide a mailbox.||Not addressed|
|Provide working wiring for one telephone jack.||Not addressed|
|Provide working kitchen appliances.||Yes, if required|
|Provide working carbon monoxide detector.||Not addressed|
|Provide a working washer/dryer.||Not addressed|
If a landlord leases a dwelling unit that is in a municipality that has not adopted ordinances or codes the landlord must maintain these minimum housing standards listed above.
The premises must have a heating system that is in good working condition and should supply a minimum temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
If bedbugs are discovered in a rental unit, through no fault of the tenant, the landlord is required to pay to treat the rental unit.
If a landlord does not treat the unit, the tenant may withhold rent until the unit is treated, or pursue legal action.
Tenant’s Right to Repairs in New Hampshire
Tenants must make all requests for repairs in writing indicating the date, and make a copy before sending it to the landlord.
- Sending Notice –The landlord must make corrective action within 14 days of receiving notice or less in case of emergency repairs.
- Landlord Access– Landlords are not allowed to enter rental units without getting permission from the tenant, unless it’s an emergency.
Tenant’s Options if Repairs Aren’t Made in New Hampshire
If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.
- Withhold Rent – New Hampshire landlord tenant law permits a tenant to withhold rent in response to habitability issues given that the landlord received the written notice at least 14 days before the rent is due and the landlord was not refused entry to make the necessary repairs.
- Repair and Deduct– There is currently no statue that allows a tenant to repair and deduct rent.
- Lawsuit – Tenants have the right to take legal action for damages resulting from habitability issues.
- Reporting to Public Officials – Tenants can report any issues which violate any of the housing or building codes which the landlord refuses to repair to the local code enforcement officer and/or to the New Hampshire Division of Public Health in Concord. New Hampshire Health officers may enforce habitability laws in rental units. Health officers also work with New Hampshire Building Code and National Fire Protection Association.
Landlord Retaliation in New Hampshire
In New Hampshire, landlords are not permitted to increase rent in retaliation against a tenant for exercising a legal right, such as filing a complaint to a local housing authority about habitability issues. A landlord may not retaliate within 6 months of a tenant exercising a legal right.