Sunday, April 19, 2015

Legislative Update: Lead Laws Changes/Contact Legislators

 This Legislative Update was provided by Nick Norman, Director of Legislative Affairs

You can contact Nick at
Important Updates:
SB135, 2015 Lead Law Changes
We are in conversation with NHLA on 2 changes.  See summary immediately below this email.
HB315, 7 Days Eviction Notice In Certain Circumstances
We are in conversation with NHLA on some changes.  Stay tuned.  We’re guessing this important bill will be scheduled for hearing next week.  Look in next update for more info and action items.
Action items this week:
1. Email, call committee for SB135, 2015 Lead Law Changes.  Ask them to support our 2 changes.
(Email to House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs committee ( )
A. Change appointment to Study Commission of “large” landlord from Granite State Managers Association to being appointed by the Apartment Association of NH (who’s membership is specifically targeted to property owners of higher number units).
B. Either remove section 6 civil suits or adopt our language changes listed immediately below this email which more fairly balances liability between landlord AND tenant.
Latest version (same as last week) is at
Hearings this week:
04/21/2015 at 09:30 AM    SH 100
HB613, Right To Know Law Exemptions
Level of Response: You Decide
Property Owner Position: You Decide
04/21/2015 at 10:00 AM    LOB 301
SB235, Condominium Sale Recording & Financial Disclosure Requirements
Level of Response: LimitedImpact; You Decide
Property Owner Position: LimitedImpact; You Decide
Hearings next week:
None scheduled so far.
Further below is:
Bills Updated Status summary:
Full details on all bills above
(Which includes property owner position, contact info, talking points, and more)
Love & Light,
Nick Norman
Director of Legislative Affairs
SB135, 2015 Lead Law Changes
SB135 Section 6 change.
We are suggesting the following change to the tenant responsibility side of this section.
130-A:18 Civil Suits. Owners and tenants of pre-1978 rental housing and childcare facilities shall take reasonable care to prevent exposure to, and the creation of, lead hazards. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the mere presence of a lead base substance shall not constitute negligence on the part of an owner of any dwelling. To establish negligence on the part of an owner, the plaintiff in a civil suit shall demonstrate actual injury caused by the lead base substance. Evidence of actions taken or not taken by the owner or tenant or tenant's invitees of a pre-1978 rental property or childcare facility in compliance with applicable public health laws and regulations concerning lead may be admissible evidence of reasonable care or negligence. Remedial actions taken by a property owner or tenant after a lead exposure has occurred shall not be admissible evidence for purposes of establishing liability. Evidence of disturbance of lead based substances by the tenant, his guests, invitees, or pets shall be admissible evidence. Failure of the tenant to notify the landlord, as required in written lease or rental agreement, of any peeling, chalking, cracking or disturbance of lead based substances shall also be admitted into evidence. In addition, the mere presence of a lead base substance in a dwelling shall not by itself violate any warranty of habitability.
If these changes survive in the amendment we would upgrade our position from against to neutral.
New changes from conversations with NHLA.
NHLA had a case come in to their office that pointed out a hole in the lead law.  One of the points of the long standing lead law is that if a tenant has a child that is determined to have an elevated blood lead level, BLL then the landlord may still evict the tenant for ANY normal cause of eviction but may not evict the tenant only because of the elevated BLL.  Also they landlord may choose to take the unit off the rental market and not abate it as long as the landlord follows certain rules about relocating the tenant.  This has been in the lead law for many many years.
The short version of the hole is that existing law says when a landlord receives notice from DHHS of the BLL then the landlord may not evict based only on the BLL.  We have been asking to be notified of any BLL including levels below which the state reports.  This info could come from the tenant, the doctor, section 8, health department.
So in present law if a landlord is notified by any source other than DHHS then the landlord is not prevented from making the “retaliatory eviction”.
Change 1.
Here is the change related to relocation.  Remember the change is in bold. The rest is already existing law.
We have agreed to this.
      III.  In circumstances where the presence of a lead exposure hazard is unsuspected, and becomes known only after the  dwelling or dwelling unit has been rented to a family with a child, the owner may withdraw the unit from the residential rental market in lieu of undertaking reduction of the lead exposure hazard. In such case the owner may bring an action to evict the family but only if the owner fulfills all of the conditions set forth in paragraph II. The dwelling unit shall not be subsequently rented for residential purposes without reduction of all lead exposure hazards associated with the unit.
Change 2.
NHLA is proposing a change that would “plug” the retaliatory eviction hole.
We are making sure that the change still allows eviction for ANY normal cause of eviction.  So far everything is looking good & we will probably have final language available for next update.

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