Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Legislative Update, 2013 - Summary of newly passed laws affecting Landlords

This Legislative Update is provided by Nick Norman, RPOA Director of Legislative Affairs
Howdee everyone,

Its been a while since I have contacted you because after the spring busy legislative season and new bills work their way through House & Senate then there is practically no activity for the summer.

These are the new changes to law that affect real estate.  Many will be effective 1/1/14 others may be sooner or immediate.

New Laws Affecting Real Estate
The two major bills affecting real estate are HB413 Abandonment bill & HB482 Bedbug bill.  There are several information sessions regarding these bills, particularly the Bedbug bill, that have been or are being offered around the state.  I recommend you go to one.  A link to the final versions of each bill are included here.  

We regard both of these bills as a win for landlords.
If you would like me to speak to your organization to summarize these bills and educate members on the new standards of practice for landlords, give me a call and we can arrange something.

Suggestions for new Legislation?
New legislation for next year are being drafted now.  If there is something you would like us to address please contact Nick at

HB482, The Bedbug Bill
Property Owner Position: For
House Status: PASSED / ADOPTED
Senate Status: PASSED / ADOPTED
Link to Bill Text:

HB413, Abandonment relative to property abandoned by tenants.
Property Owner Position: For
House Status: CONCURRED

Summary: This bill clarifies conditions that can be used to determine the tenant has abandoned the property. Making abandonment of the premise a defense to an RSA 540-A action against the landlord.

Link to Bill Text:
Analysis Stated in Bill: This bill makes relinquishment or abandonment of the premises a defense for landlords in an action under RSA 540-A.

Talking Points:
Under current law, there is no definition of abandonment. As a result, every time a tenant moves out, a landlord is always subject to a 540-A action (fining landlord) unless the tenant gives notice in writing that the tenant is fully moved out and returns possession to the landlord or the landlord goes through the eviction procedure and has the sheriff serve the writ of possession.
The first part of the bill makes it clear that if all tenants of an apartment sign a document that they relinquish possession that such action is a defense for a 540-A action.
The second part lists various factors that show a tenant has abandoned the leased premises. If a landlord can prove two of these factors, that will be a defense to a 540-A action.  These factors are subject to negotiation as we go through the legislative process.
The bill is advantageous to Landlords, Tenant and the Courts.  With a clarified standard for abandonment, Landlords will not have to spend the money or time on filing eviction actions, and the tenant will not have an unnecessary eviction on his or her record. This will also reduce the number of cases filed in the badly overburdened courts.

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