The Full Guide on New Hampshire Landlord Tenant Law [2023]

Brush up on New Hamshire’s landlord-tenant laws, rights, and regulations in this full guide addressing key topics like rent, security deposits, evictions, and more.

By
Rachel Robinson
|
Last Updated
October 18, 2023
The Full Guide on New Hampshire Landlord Tenant Law [2023]

In the Granite State of New Hampshire, landlords and tenants must traverse the intricacies of state and local rental laws. These statutes, commonly known as landlord-tenant laws, influence the rights, responsibilities, and interactions of both parties. Even seasoned rental property owners and tenants can find it daunting to comprehend and adhere to these regulations.

To conquer this challenge, we've crafted this comprehensive guide that addresses key topics, including tenant screening, security deposit rules, lease agreements, and more. Whether you're a landlord or a tenant, you'll gain a solid understanding of New Hampshire's rental laws as delineated in the state's RSA Chapter 48-A and 540.

Landlords will discover strategies to safeguard their rental properties and foster positive tenant relationships. At the same time, tenants will build confidence in asserting their rights while residing in rental properties.

Let's get to it!

Is New Hampshire a landlord-friendly state?

New Hampshire is a relatively landlord-friendly state. It doesn’t impose rent control laws and prevent its cities and towns from creating their own rent control laws, which allows landlords to charge what they deem appropriate for rent. However, it does have fairly strict security deposit regulations compared to other states. 

New Hampshire landlord tenant law fast facts

New Hampshire landlord responsibilities & rights

Rights

New Hampshire state law grants landlords certain rights that allow them to run efficient rental properties protected from legal issues. Some of the main rights include:

  • Collecting on-time rent payments
  • Collecting a security deposit to cover unforeseen costs like property damage beyond normal wear and tear
  • Pursuing a formal eviction if the tenant violates the lease agreement

Responsibilities

New Hampshire landlords also bear a set of responsibilities that help ensure a smooth and safe tenancy for renters. Their main duties are as follows:

  • Providing renters with a safe, habitable rental unit
  • Making repairs within 14 days of receiving written notice from tenants
  • Returning tenants' security deposits within 30 days of the end of the lease period
  • Providing the tenant with reasonable notice before entering the property

New Hampshire tenant responsibilities & rights

Rights

New Hampshire law also grants tenants fundamental rights that safeguard their well-being throughout their time in a rental unit. Some of their main rights include:

  • Living in a safe, habitable dwelling unit that meets local health and safety codes
  • Having repairs made in 14 days after providing the landlord written notice
  • Living in a property without interference of privacy or right to quiet enjoyment
  • Taking legal action if the landlord fails to return the tenant’s security deposit or other breaches of the lease agreement

Responsibilities

New Hampshire renters have their own set of duties to uphold while renting. They must:

  • Pay rent on time
  • Keep fixtures clean
  • Make small repairs and do maintenance when necessary
  • Not disturb other renters or neighbors

New Hampshire landlord tenant law through the rental cycle

New Hampshire rental application and tenant screening laws

There are not many laws in New Hampshire that govern the tenant screening and rental application process. For example, the state doesn’t limit rental application fees or require them to be refundable. While landlords are free to ask most any questions on the rental application, they cannot ask questions that violate the federal or state Fair Housing Act laws.

Additionally, to run background checks, like credit reports and rental history, landlords must first obtain the prospective tenant’s signed consent.

New Hampshire rental agreement laws

In New Hampshire, lease agreements can be either written or oral. However, it is always recommended to have a written agreement, as it outlines the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and tenant.

Beyond the disclosures landlords have to include in lease agreements, landlords should include information such as their contact information, rent price and due date, the security deposit amount, and more. Learn what other information you should include in your rental agreement.

To terminate month-to-month lease agreements early, landlords must provide tenants with a 30-day written notice. Tenants, if they wish to end the lease early, must do the same. Year-to-year tenants must provide a 30-day written notice.

New Hampshire renters can terminate the lease agreement early for the following reasons:

  • Active military duty
  • Early termination clause
  • Uninhabitable unit
  • Landlord harassment 

New Hampshire security deposit laws

New Hampshire landlords are allowed to collect a security deposit at the start of a lease to cover possible costs like rental damage exceeding normal wear and tear. However, the state limits how much a landlord can charge for the deposit. The maximum is $100 or the equivalent of one month’s rent.

Other important New Hampshire security deposit regulations to know:

  • Landlords are required to provide a receipt for the security deposit.
  • Landlords must pay interest on all security deposits held longer than one year.
  • Security deposits must be kept separate from personal accounts in a bank, savings and loan association, and credit union.

At the end of the lease term, landlords have 30 days to return the tenant’s security deposit. Allowable deductions include rental damage beyond normal wear and tear and real estate taxes and other charges outlined in the lease agreement. Landlords can also make deductions for unpaid rent, utilities, and late fees. If deductions are made, the landlord must provide a written, itemized list or written account of the damages made by the tenant.

If the landlord fails to comply with the notice period or wrongfully withholds funds, the tenant can sue for twice the amount wrongfully withheld.

New Hampshire rent laws

New Hampshire does not have rent control laws or prohibit its cities and towns from creating their own rent control statutes. Because of this, landlords can charge any amount of rent and increase rent as long as it’s not during a lease term, unless the lease agreement allows for it.

Before increasing rent, landlords must provide a 30-day notice. However, a 60-day notice must be provided if the rental unit is a mobile home.

If New Hampshire tenants fail to pay rent on time, landlords are not required to provide a grace period before charging a late fee. While there is no limit on late fees, they must be reasonable.

It’s important to note that in New Hampshire renters have the right to withhold rent in the case of severe health and safety violations.

New Hampshire repair and maintenance laws

New Hampshire landlords are required to make repairs within 14 days after receiving written notice from tenants.

If the landlord fails to make repairs within 14 days, tenants can take a few legal actions: sue for costs, file a court order to force the landlord to make repairs, and cancel the rental agreement. They can also withhold rent in cases of severa health and safety violations.

New Hampshire notice of entry laws

New Hampshire law allows landlords to enter the rental property for reasonable purposes related to the tenancy like maintenance and showings. Unless for an emergency, landlords are required by law to provide “reasonable” advanced notice before entering the property. Reasonable notice is generally considered 24 to 48 hours.

New Hampshire eviction and lease termination laws

New Hampshire state law permits landlords to evict tenants for specific legal reasons. Each of the reasons requires a notice period before the landlord can move forward with the eviction process. The reasons and associated notice periods are as follows:

  • Unpaid rent: If a tenant fails to pay rent on time, the landlord may issue a 7-day notice to quit. If the tenant stays after the notice period then the landlord may file a Summons and Complaint with a local court.
  • Lease violation: If the tenant violates the lease, the landlord can issue a 30-day notice to quit. In the tenant doesn’t leave after the notice period, the landlord can move forward with the eviction process.
  • Illegal acts: New Hampshire law doesn’t specify what is considered an “illegal act”, however, it does state that if a tenant threatens the well-being of another tenant, the landlord, or landlord’s agent, or causes substantial property damage, the landlord may issue a 7-day notice to quit.
  • No lease/end of lease: If a tenant stays in the property after the end of the lease, the landlord must provide them with a 30-day notice to quit, no matter the length of the original tenancy.

Additional legal reasons landlords may evict a tenant includes failure to accept temporary relocation and failure to prepare a rental unit for treatment.

Additional New Hampshire landlord tenant laws

In addition to dealing with rental matters such as security deposits and repairs, New Hampshire state law also includes rules about landlord retaliation and housing discrimination. Let's take a closer look at some of these regulations.

Housing discrimination

Under the federal Fair Housing Act, landlords are prohibited from discriminating against prospective tenants based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), familial status, and disability. New Hampshire further protects tenants based on factors including age and marital status.

If a landlord violates housing discrimination laws, tenants can seek legal help and file a complaint with the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights.

Landlord retaliation

Like in most states, it’s illegal for New Hampshire rental owners to retaliate against tenants for taking legal actions like reporting landlords to authorities for health and safety violations. In New Hampshire, raised rent, eviction, and any changed lease terms are all considered forms of retaliation.

Mandatory disclosures

New Hampshire residential landlords must provide tenants with certain disclosures at the beginning of the lease term. The disclosures include:

  • Lead-based paint: Landlords with rental units built before 1978 must provide information about lead paint concentrations in the building.
  • Security deposit: If a landlord collects a security deposit, they must notify the tenant of their right to report conditions of the rental in need of repair within 5 days of occupancy.

Bottom line: Understanding New Hampshire landlord tenant laws

New Hampshire's rental laws were designed to allocate rights and responsibilities to both landlords and tenants. While their primary objective is to establish a fair rental process, these laws also foster harmonious landlord-tenant relationships.

It's essential for both parties to comprehend and adhere to New Hampshire's laws relevant to their roles. Landlords can gain insights into safeguarding their real estate investments, and simultaneously, renters can learn how to assert their legal rights.

Moreover, New Hampshire rental owners and tenants should do their due diligence to stay informed about the state's ever-evolving laws. These laws change over time, shaping the rental landscape and process.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials are for general informational purposes only. This content may not constitute the most up-to-date legal information. No reader, user, or browser of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information herein without first seeking the advice of a legal professional.

Rachel Robinson

Rachel Robinson has 6 years of experience in writing, editing, and SEO, specializing in rental property and real estate. She excels in market trends and landlord-tenant dynamics, producing content that drives traffic and informs. Outside of work, she enjoys climbing Colorado's granite boulders.

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