Too often, people enter the world of income property expecting it to be simple: sign a lease, prepare the unit and collect rental checks. They quickly find it to be far more complex. New Hampshire law imposes extensive requirements on landlords and, while the laws can appear relatively straightforward, there are many things you should know.
Security Deposits- Laws vary by state, but in New Hampshire, most landlords are not permitted to collect the first and last months’ rent plus a hefty security deposit in advance of moving in. It is unlawful for most landlords to demand a security deposit exceeding one month’s rent. The statute defines a security deposit as “all funds in excess of the monthly rent which are transferred from the tenant to the landlord for any purpose,” but does not apply to vacation rentals.
Entering the leased premises- These laws focus on reasonableness. For example, landlords may not enter into the rental unit without the tenant’s consent except in an emergency. This protects the tenant’s privacy rights while balancing the need of a landlord to potentially make urgent, emergency repairs. On the other hand, tenants may not prevent landlords from entering the premises to make routine repairs or for other genuine purposes relating to their ownership of the property, so long as the landlord has given reasonable notice under the circumstances.
Evictions- Evictions are a last resort and the notices and proceedings get tricky quickly. The eviction and demand documents must meet strict requirements. Judges require landlords to meet their burden of proof that they are entitled to an eviction before regaining possession of their property.
If you are a prospective landlord, it is advisable to meet with an experienced attorney to get you started on the right path. Professionally drafted lease/rental agreements are strongly recommended. Landlords and tenants facing potential eviction or other legal proceedings are encouraged to hire representation. Attorneys Allison Ambrose, and Kathrine Lacey, are available to offer assistance.