Friday, February 18, 2011

Landlord Action Alert - Important Hearing Feb 24th

Dear Property Owner

The public hearing for SB 70-FN has been announced:

COMMERCE, Room 102, LOB at 9:30 a.m.

NHPOA is asking for your support in Concord to push the passage of SB 70. The time is now. Join us to make a change - don't leave it to others.


AN ACT relative to remedies in landlord-tenant actions.
SPONSORS: Sen. De Blois, Dist 18
COMMITTEE: Commerce - Sen. Prescott (C), Sen. White (VC), Sen. De Blois, Sen. Houde, Sen. Sanborn


This bill shortens the time period during which a landlord is required to store a tenant's abandoned property. The bill also repeals the right to a private action under the consumer protection act for violation of certain landlord-tenant laws.

Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.




In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eleven

AN ACT relative to remedies in landlord-tenant actions.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 Prohibited Practices and Security Deposits; Storage of Tenant's Personal Property. Amend RSA 540-A:3, VII to read as follows:

VII. Other than residential real estate under RSA 540-B, a landlord shall maintain and exercise reasonable care in the storage of the personal property of a tenant who has vacated the premises, either voluntarily or by eviction, for a period of [28] 7 days after the date upon which such tenant has vacated. During this period, the tenant shall be allowed to recover personal property without payment of rent or storage fees. After the [28-day] 7-day limit has expired, such personal property may be disposed of by the landlord without notice to the tenant.

2 Repeal. RSA 540-A:4, IX, relative to the landlord and tenant's right to a private action under RSA 358-A:10, is repealed.

3 Effective Date. This act shall take effect January 1, 2012.

Repeal RSA 540-A:4 IX - Landlords are being made to pay tenants a $1000.00/day in fines!!!!

Any landlord or tenant who violates RSA 540-A:2 or RSA 540-A:3 shall be subject to the civil remedies in RSA 358-A:10. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation. If the court finds for the plaintiff, recovery shall be in the amount of actual damages or $1,000, whichever is greater. If the court finds that the act was a willful or knowing violation of this chapter, it shall award as much as 3 times, but not less than 2 times, such amount. In addition, a prevailing plaintiff shall be awarded the costs of the suit and reasonable attorney's fees, as determined by the court.

Please don't think this won't happen to you!

In December 2009, a NH tenant who had failed to pay rent, broken his lease and voluntarily vacated the apartment (after handing back his keys) was awarded over $40,000.00 in civil damages - Apparently he had been denied access to his apartment, as it had been subsequently rented to another person. In addition to the $40,000.00 award, the Landlord is now receiving threats from other tenants in the building that they will not be paying their rent. The tenants argue that if they were to sue, they could get $50,000.00, so the Landlord should consider non-payment of rent, a small price to pay.

In the past year NHPOA members have heard of four other similar cases.

Building departments, code enforcement officers, Legal Assistance and tenant attorneys are aware of this law. They are providing free advice to your tenants! How long do you think it is going to take for you to run into a savvy /sophisticated tenant who figures out how this abuse of the system works.

Change storage period to 7 days - Too often landlords have to wait for the full 28 days to pass before taking possession of their property once a tenant has vacated. Most landlords have been in this situation after months of non-payment of rental. On a best case scenario it can take three months to evict someone if they decide to "store" their belongings with the landlord for 28 days rent free.

We have to take a strong stand against these abuses. Please support us to ensure the passage of Senate Bill 70-FN.

It is obvious that this bill is critical in restoring the balance in landlord-tenant matters. We need your support. If you cannot attend the hearings - call or write to your Senator.

Now is the time to make the changes we desperately need. Come to Concord and make the Senate understand your problems as a landlord. Your presence makes a greater impact than a letter or a phone call.

Remember, all the tenant activists and pro-tenant assistance groups will be there to oppose this bill. If you are not there, they will succeed in killing this bill. Make your voice count - be there!

Click here for the current Senate Members: NH Senate Member List

The New Hampshire Property Owners Association (NHPOA) is the largest rental property owner association in the state. The NHPOA is a non-profit group made up of rental property owners, managers and others with similar business affiliations. Our members are predominantly "mom and pop" landlords, who live in two or three-family homes, or run part-time or full-time rental businesses.

As rental property owners, we currently face the toughest economic climate we are likely to see in a generation. In addition, we are on the wrong side of some of the toughest pro-tenant legislation in the nation. The only way to ensure growth and stability in this climate is to create favorable legislation and educate our members.

Your financial, physical and vocal support helps us to:

* Press for reform of landlord-tenant laws in New Hampshire;
* Educate the public, the media and legislators about property owner issues;
* Educate property owners;
* Organize grassroots lobbying and campaigning;

Join or renew now at

Debbie Valente
New Hampshire Property Owners Association
(603) 881-3682

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