New Hampshire
Habitability Laws

QUICK FACTS
  • Landlord Responsibilities. Provide adequate light, air, heat, ventilation, sanitation, plumbing, gas lines, including smoke detectors (read more).
  • Making Repairs. Landlords are required to make and pay for repairs for items under their responsibility. They must do so within 14 days after receiving a written request from tenants (read more).
  • Tenant Options. If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, tenants can withhold rent, report the issue to a public official or file a lawsuit (read more).
  • Retaliation. If a landlord is reported to a local city or county inspector for housing code violations, it is illegal for a landlord to retaliate, such as by threatening eviction (read more).

The implied warranty of habitability in New Hampshire does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are & aren’t included.

Dwelling Type Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single family Yes
Multi-family Yes
Fraternities/Sororities/Clubs No
RV parks No
Mobile home parks Not addressed
Condos Only if person in condo is renter, not owner
Hotels/Motels No

Additionally, rental agreements are not allowed to include any provisions that waive the tenant’s right to live in a habitable residence.

Landlord Responsibilities

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). No
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

Bedbugs

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.

Making Repairs

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 – or less in case of emergency repairs –  of receiving the written notice.
  • 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

If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.

  1. 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.
  2. Lawsuit – Tenants have the right to take legal action for damages resulting from habitability issues.
  3. 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.

Landlord Retaliation

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.

Sources