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New Hampshire Property Management Laws

New Hampshire statutes cover all aspects of property management law and equip property owners, their agents, landlords, and property managers with the knowledge base required to provide a safe environment for renters throughout the state. While pivotal in fostering a beneficial tenant and landlord relationship, understanding the myriad nuances within these laws can be overwhelming, especially if managing locations in multiple states given the variances from state to state.

This guide intends to supply answers to questions regarding New Hampshire's property management laws through a general overview of the governing statutes at the state level. It contains direct links to where each law can be read, as well as further resources and information that offer additional clarity around the state's laws. Use this guide as a reference for understanding landlord and tenant requirements.

Key Points

  • 1 There is no statute outlining a licensing requirement for property managers in the state of New Hampshire. However, they must follow property management laws at all levels of government, and there may be licensing requirements at the municipal, city or county level.
  • 2 All property owners should consider hiring a property management trustee to ensure all state rules and regulations are met when selecting tenants and drafting a lease agreement.
  • 3 The scope of duties for property management professionals often includes continued management of rental units, which allows owners and investors to obtain benefits without active personal involvement.
  • 4 All parties involved should sign a legally binding contract that clearly outlines the services property managers will provide and the costs. It should also include the procedure for activities and items that are outside the scope of the contract and the associated fees.

Note: This guide is intended to be used as an educational resource. The contents within do not constitute legal advice. To obtain information regarding property management laws in your state, consult a local attorney. This guide is based only on property management laws at the state level. Local county and city laws may exist that are not discussed in this guide. Consult a local attorney to obtain information that pertains to your specific location and situation.

Property Management Laws Overview in New Hampshire

Code Description
205-A:2 Manufactured Housing Park Laws
354-A:8 Fair Housing Law
540-A Security Deposit Laws
540:11-a Service Member Lease Termination Law
540:2, VII Victims of Domestic Violence Lease Termination Law
540:2 Termination of Tenancy Law
130-A:5 Lead Disclosure Law
48-A:14 Housing Standards
540-A:3 Property Maintenance and Repair Laws

Rental Application Laws

Which application fees are allowed? 

While there is no provision for application fees pertaining to rental units under New Hampshire state law, trailer parks may charge up to $125 for an application fee (205-A:2). This fee is typically non-refundable and separate from security deposits. 

Can a landlord request credit and criminal background checks?

New Hampshire does not have laws restricting property managers from asking prospective tenants during the screening process to give consent to a credit and criminal background check. However, all consumer credit reporting is governed by state law (359-B:2), which speaks to fairness, impartiality and a consumer’s right to privacy. There may also be federal, municipal or county laws that apply. 

Do discrimination laws apply to tenant screening?

The New Hampshire State Commission for Human Rights unequivocally states that equal housing opportunities without discrimination because of sex, age, gender identity, creed, race, color, marital status, familial status, physical or mental disability, or national origin are a civil right (354-A:8). 

Is it permissible to screen rental applications due to a disability?

New Hampshire state law (354-A:12) makes it unlawful to refuse or deny a rental property to persons because of a disability. It also prohibits the refusal of reasonable modifications to the rental property that ensures the full enjoyment of the premises. Those modifications would be at the tenant’s expense. 

Security Deposit Laws

Are additional move-in fees allowed?

While there are no provisions for additional move-in fees in New Hampshire, state law deems any funds over one month’s rent to be a security deposit regardless of the reason the tenant transferred these funds to the landlord (540-A:5).

Is there a limit on the security deposit amount that a landlord can charge?

In New Hampshire, a landlord cannot ask for or receive a security deposit from a tenant above $100 or one month’s rent for the rental unit, whichever is greater (540-A:6).

Does a landlord have to hold the security deposit in a specific way during occupancy?

A security deposit is held in trust at any bank, credit union or savings and loan association founded under New Hampshire state law. While this money must be kept separate and apart from personal funds, property managers can put all security deposits held by them in one account. Alternatively, landlords can post a bond written by a local New Hampshire company with the clerk of the city in the same location as the rental unit (540-A:6, II).

Also, New Hampshire state law regulates that in the event of the sale or foreclosure of a property, a landlord has five days to turn over the security deposit to the new owner and must notify the tenant of the turning over by registered or certified mail. The notice to the tenant should include the name and address of the new person who holds the security deposit (540-A:6, III).

How long does a landlord have to return the security deposit after a move out?

All funds held as a security deposit must be returned within 30 days after the rental unit has been vacated and the tenant returns possession of the property to the landlord or property manager (540-A:7). The landlord must return the security deposit plus interest if the security deposit was held for one year or longer (540-A:6, IV (a)). A tenant may request this interest payment every three years within 30 days of the end of that given year’s lease, and the landlord has 15 days to comply (540-A:6, IV (c)).

What are the reasons a landlord can withhold part or all of the security deposit?

As outlined in the Attorney General’s Consumer Sourcebook, a landlord can keep part of the security deposit to cover the cost of:

  • Any rental monies outstanding
  • A tenant’s share of real estate tax increases owing, if permitted as part of the written lease agreement
  • Damages beyond normal wear and tear caused by the tenant

The landlord or property manager needs to provide the tenant with an itemized list of deductions, as well as satisfactory evidence of completed repairs. This evidence can include quotes or bills paid for work completed (540-A:7).

What is the penalty if a landlord doesn’t return the security deposit?

If the landlord doesn’t return the security deposit to the tenant, they are liable for damages in the amount of two times the amount of the security deposit plus interest in the state of New Hampshire (540-A:8).

Are there any exceptions in which a tenant may forfeit the deposit?

A tenant forfeits the security deposit and interest if they fail to notify the landlord of a new address at the end of the lease agreement. The monies also become the property of the landlord if the deposit and interest due remain unclaimed for six months (540-A:8).

Laws About Leases and Lease Termination

Which types of lease terms are allowed?

New Hampshire does not stipulate a specific time frame for a rental agreement. A lease can be either written or oral and is typically one year in length. New Hampshire Legal Aid tenants’ rights overview advises that a written lease offers security in knowing that a landlord cannot raise the rent or evict occupants during the length of the agreed-upon lease provided they follow parameters set out by the lease. One of the disadvantages is that tenants are often responsible to pay rent to the end of the lease even if they move before the lease end date. For more information, interested parties may contact a local attorney or New Hampshire Legal Aid.

What happens if a tenant violates a lease?

If a tenant violates a lease for any of the reasons outlined in the New Hampshire Statutes under Chapter 540 Section 2, II, the landlord has the legal right to forgo the standard 30-day notice to terminate and give a seven-day notice (540:3, II). The only exception is if the termination is due to non-payment of rent, and the tenant pays the rent plus $15 in damages before the expiration date of the notice. A tenant can only take this action three times within 12 months (540:9).

How much notice is required for a month-to-month lease termination?

The owner, their agent, the property manager, or the landlord must provide a 30-day notice to terminate for all residential tenancies (540:3, II), including a month-to-month lease (540:11).

When can a tenant terminate a term lease without penalty?

A tenant or lessee must adhere to the same law as the landlord or lessor, which is a 30-day notice in writing (540:11) to avoid penalties. If the landlord and tenant agree to early termination, there may not be penalties associated.

How much notice must service members supply before terminating the lease?

New Hampshire state law makes provisions for service members that allow a tenant to break a lease and give a seven-day notice if a member of the armed forces or national guard is being called to report for active duty or reassigned to an out-of-state location (540:11-a). The notice to terminate must be in writing as outlined in the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (Public Law 108-109, Section 305).

Are there special lease termination rules for victims of domestic violence?

New Hampshire does have explicit laws governing domestic violence situations (540:2, VII). These laws stipulate that a person cannot be evicted solely because they are a victim of domestic violence and a landlord must change locks at the victim’s request, but there are no specific lease termination rules.

How and when can a landlord evict a tenant?

Landlords, property managers, owners, and agents have the right to evict a tenant with a written 30-day notice (540:3) or a seven-day notice (540:2, II) depending on the circumstances. The eviction notice or notice to quit must specifically outline the reason for the eviction; if the reason is for non-payment of rent, it must also provide details on how to avoid eviction through the payment of rental arrears and liquidated damages (540:3).

What happens if a tenant leaves behind personal property?

A landlord is responsible for the storage of property left behind by a tenant for seven days (540-A:3, VII). The landlord must allow the tenant to collect the property during this period without incurring storage fees or payment of rent. The landlord can dispose of the items after the time has expired.

Laws About Rent and Late Fees

When can a landlord increase rent?

Landlords can increase rent with a 30-day notice (540:2, IV) provided that they furnish the tenant with written notice of the rental increase. 

Is there a maximum amount of rent that a landlord can charge tenants?

No provision for rent control or allowable increases in rent outside of a signed lease agreement between both parties is in effect in New Hampshire. However, the New Hampshire Housing Authority has established fair market rents for FY 2020

Is there a state-mandated grace period that a landlord must give a tenant before charging a late fee?

The state imposes a $15 fee for rent arrears that result in an eviction. If a landlord chooses to evict on the grounds of non-payment of rent, the tenant can pay the rent owing an additional $15 fee to avoid eviction (540:9). 

Is there a limit on the amount of a late fee a landlord can charge a tenant?

No state laws govern the limits of late fees; however, if a landlord wishes to charge late fees for missed rent, it should be outlined in a lease agreement between landlord and tenant. Federal, municipal or county laws may apply. 

Legally Required Disclosures

Which types of disclosures is a landlord required to supply regarding ownership of the property?

There are no general laws regarding ownership disclosure, except with regards to security deposits (540-A:6). A tenant also has the right to request the banking information of where a security deposit is being held.

Can an owner or landlord designate an agent to serve and receive disclosures on their behalf?

The owner of a rental unit can use a property manager or designate an agent. New Hampshire state law identifies a landlord as the owner, agent thereof, or lessor (540-A:1). 

The owner must also file a statement with the town or city clerk in the same location as the property that lists the name, address and telephone number of any agent within 30 days of taking ownership of a property. This includes the name of the owner if he or she is personally assuming landlord responsibilities (540:1-b).

Which disclosures related to mold is a landlord required to supply?

While mold is not a code violation in the state of New Hampshire, some cities, municipalities and towns govern the disclosure and remediation of mold. The New Hampshire Helpline, 211, offers a list of local code enforcement departments. 

Which disclosures related to lead paint is a landlord required to supply?

In addition to the Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home pamphlet from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which landlords are federally required to provide tenants, the state also outlines procedures concerning lead paint poisoning prevention and control (130-A:5). The landlord must also install a filtering system on a faucet if a child occupant tests positive for lead above standards set out in Chapter 130-A, Section 5 of the New Hampshire Statutes (540-a:3-a). 

Laws About Landlord Responsibilities

How much notice does a landlord have to supply before entry to the property?

Landlords must supply reasonable and adequate notice to tenants of entry to a rental unit (540-A:3, V). In cases of an emergency or cases of infestation of insects or rodents, the landlord can enter the premises with no notice within 72 hours to make repairs or plans to repair or remediate (540-A:3, IV-a) and can enter within seven days of receiving a tenant’s notice of a possible infestation (540-A:3, V-a). 

When can a tenant refuse to allow a landlord entry?

A tenant cannot refuse entry to the landlord or authorized agent (540-A:3). Federal, municipal or county law may apply.

What steps must a landlord take to keep the property habitable?

There are minimum standards for housing at the state level which mandate that a landlord must meet codes and bylaws of the housing standards act and carry out periodic inspections and maintenance (48-A:14). 

In particular, a landlord must:

  • Perform inspections for insects and rodents and eradicate infestations (540-A:3, V-a)
  • Repair defective internal plumbing or sewage backup correctly
  • Maintain electrical systems that may pose a shock or fire hazard
  • Repair roof or wall leaks
  • Maintain plasterwork
  • Repair floors, walls, or ceilings against substantive holes
  • Maintain structurally sound porches, stairs and railings
  • Provide garbage receptacles and keep common areas clean
  • Ensure proper water supply
  • Maintain against gas leaks
  • Provide and maintain adequate heat to habitable rooms
  • Provide a place for quiet enjoyment (540-A:2)

Which amenities must a landlord supply and maintain?

Landlords don’t need to include amenities for renters; however, if they do provide amenities, the standard for safety and maintenance as outlined under the state housing standards law applies. In the case of multi-unit residences, landlords must supply proper garbage receptacles and keep common areas clean. 

Which utilities must a landlord supply and maintain?

Landlords must continue to supply and maintain adequate water to the residence in the case of water heating and maintaining the water heater (48-A:14, IX). Landlords are not permitted to terminate or interrupt tenant utilities, whether provided by the landlord or a third party (540-A:3). 

Does a landlord have to supply a certificate of inspection?

There are no state laws that require a landlord to supply tenants with a certificate of inspection. 

Is a landlord required to supply locks and keys?

While no legislation exists that states the unit must have a locking door, a tenant may request a change of locks under a protective order (540:2, VII, (b)). 

Are retaliatory actions prohibited in New Hampshire?

Landlords are not permitted to retaliate against tenants for reporting violations or meeting with other tenants as long as the actions were done in good faith (540:13-a). Tenants must provide written notice of complaint to the landlord and cannot receive any more than three months’ rent in a successful defense of retaliation judgment (540:14, II). 

Property Maintenance and Repair Laws

For which types of maintenance is a landlord responsible?

Landlords must ensure that the property, common areas, and rental units are in good repair and meet New Hampshire housing standards (48-A:14). Local ordinances, bylaws, or codes may also apply.

How long does a landlord have to make repairs once a maintenance request is submitted by a tenant?

In the event of an emergency repair requirement, a landlord can gain entry within 72 hours of notification of the emergency. A landlord must investigate a report or notice of a possible infestation of insects or rodents within seven days (540-A:3).

For which type of maintenance is a tenant responsible?

A tenant should supply the landlord with a list of previously damaged areas within the rental unit within five days of occupancy. A tenant is responsible for keeping the unit in good condition as a general rule, and allowances are made for normal wear and tear. 

Is a landlord responsible for fixing damage caused by a tenant?

Rental insurance acquired by the tenant would cover costs for unforeseen damages to the rental unit, as it is not the responsibility of the landlord to fix those damages unless accommodation has been made in the lease agreement. 

When does a landlord have to return and/or lower rent due to diminished rental value?

If a landlord fails to correct violations of the health and safety standards for housing within 14 days of the violation, the landlord may have to return part or all of the rent paid or due (540:13-d). 

When can a tenant request an official inspection to determine substandard or dangerous living conditions?

There are no specific state laws that address this situation, but local rules may apply.

Under which circumstances can a tenant make a repair and deduct the cost from the rent paid to a landlord?

According to the New Hampshire Legal Aid tenants’ rights, there are specific criteria that must be met to lawfully withhold part or all of the rent. These include:

  • Providing the landlord with written notice of the issue
  • Failure of the landlord to take action within 14 days of receiving the notice
  • The issue was not caused by willful negligence on the part of the tenant
  • Inclement weather has not stopped the landlord’s attempt at repairs
  • The tenant has not refused entry to the landlord

When is a landlord required to pay for relocation assistance?

New Hampshire state law stipulates that the owner of the dwelling is responsible for relocating the family while remediation is taking place if rented by a family with a child (130-A:8-a). 

Who Is Exempt?

Which allowances are made for subsidized housing programs?

Allowances are made for payments made by vouchers or rents paid by municipalities (540:9-a). Further laws governing the payment of rent for assisted persons (165:4-a) help prevent the need for eviction. Tenants and landlords may wish to contact a local attorney for further information related to exemptions for unique situations.

Additional Rental Law Resources for the State of New Hampshire

These additional New Hampshire resources at the state and federal level offer further information for tenants, landlords, and property managers with regards to rental and property management questions and concerns.

Name Phone Number Description
New Hampshire Consumer Sourcebook (603) 271-3641 or (800) 548-1886 Outlines New Hampshire’s law on renting, security deposits, and evictions.
Fair Market Rents FY 2020 N/A New Hampshire Housing Authority report outlining fair market rents for FY 2020.
Housing Discrimination Hotline (800) 669-9777 Provides information regarding fair housing rights and accepts complaints against landlords and property management companies.
Tenants’ Rights – Overview (800) 639-5290 New Hampshire Legal Aid overview of tenants’ rights and access to legal services.
Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV) (800) 439-7247 New Hampshire Housing administration of the federally funded Housing Choice Voucher Program, also referred to as Section 8, designed to provide rental assistance to low-income families and individuals.
Lead Exposure Hotline (800) 424-LEAD (5323) Provides access to a copy of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved pamphlet entitled Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home and answers questions regarding lead exposure.
New Hampshire Notice of Occupancy Rights under the Violence Against Women Act Statewide Hotlines: Domestic Violence: (866) 644-3574 Sexual Assault: (800) 277-5570 Outlines the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) protections for all individuals regardless of sexual orientation, sex, or gender identity.
New Hampshire Help Hotline 211 Offers assistance with local resources, including a list of mold remediation enforcement departments.

Note: This guide is intended to be used as an educational resource. The contents within do not constitute legal advice. To obtain information regarding property management laws in your state, consult a local attorney. This guide is based only on property management laws at the state level. Local county and city laws may exist that are not discussed in this guide. Consult a local attorney to obtain information that pertains to your specific location and situation.