Monday, May 25, 2015

Legislative Update - Important Eviction Bill HB315 fails due to low Landlord Interest

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

You can contact Nick at

Howdee everyone,
Important Updates:
HB315, 7 Days Eviction Notice In Certain Circumstances
Senate Judiciary voted Inexpedient to Legislate, Vote 4-1.
Important action item below.
At the public Senate hearing the tenant advocates came out fairly strong against this bill especially against the provision relating to unauthorized pets.  The landlord turn out was very poor.
Were you thinking, “oh some one else will handle it?”
That kind of thinking defeats the entire Legislative Initiative.  We need every one showing up and contacting legislators.
This bill is now dead and it appears it died only because of lack of landlord response.  Please get involved. We need every one of you.
HB309, Removal of Tenant's Property
Senate Judiciary voted Inexpedient to Legislate, Vote 3-1.
Again, not much landlord turn out at the hearing on this bill.  We lost again apparently from lack of landlord response.
This bill is now dead.  Please get involved. We need every one of you.
HB309, Removal of Tenant's Property
Maybe we can save this one.  See action items below.
Action items this week:
1. HB309, Removal of Tenant's Property
Contact the committee
, and ask them to support passing HB309.
Email committee at
Hearings this week:
None scheduled so far.
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
We only list the committee reports on the most important bills affecting the real estate business.  If you want to get the committee report on one of the other bills contact me & I will show you how to get them on line.  It’s not terribly hard to get but not straight ahead either.
Title: (New Title) relative to the definition of "price or consideration" under the real estate transfer tax and relative to the exception for transfers by devise under such tax.
Property Owner Position: For
Senate Status: PASSED / ADOPTED
Title: relative to the unauthorized practice of law.
Property Owner Position: For
Senate Status: 
Title: relative to termination of tenancy.
Property Owner Position: For
Senate Status:
Full details on all bills above:
SB235, Condominium Sale Recording & Financial Disclosure 
HB180, Real Estate Transfer Tax, Clarify “Contractual” Transfer
04/07/2015 at 09:30 AM    SH 103
Title: Title: (New Title) relative to the definition of "price or consideration" under the real estate transfer tax and relative to the exception for transfers by devise under such tax.
Summary: This bill attempts to clarify a “contractual” transfer of Real Estate.
Property Owner Position: For
Link to Committee Info: 
Email to Committee: 
Subject: HB180 
Analysis Stated in Bill: 
Talking Points:
This bill, if enacted, would marginally clarify what is price or consideration to base the amount of tax to be paid in real estate transactions.  Currently, non-contractual transfers, which basically are gifts, are not taxed.  The bill would add to the definition of price and consideration, which the amount of the taxes to be paid are based upon, the words “in a contractual transfer.” The bill is merely housekeeping, and does not change anything.
This bill will help the banks when they take a deed in lieu of foreclosure. They won’t have to pay the transfer stamps. This would be a good bill to amend transferring a property in to another entity for estate planning/asset protection. Not having to pay transfer stamps if it is still done for the above reasons.
See if we could amend the bill to help with transfer of property into LLC, LP…
HB203, Representation Landlord/Tenant Court
04/14/2015 at 10:00 AM    SH 100
Title: Title: relative to the unauthorized practice of law.
Summary: This bill expands the number of landlords who can represent themselves in the circuit court in eviction cases and in small claims cases.
Property Owner Position: For
Email to Committee: 
Subject: HB203 
Analysis Stated in Bill: This bill allows certain persons who are not authorized to practice law to represent a trust that owns the premises on matters in the circuit court of New Hampshire on landlord tenant issues.
Talking Points:
Prior to last year’s enactment of RSA 540:30, landlords who owned rental property in their own names, and not in a corporation, LLC, Trust or any other entity, could always represent themselves in evictions.  Any other landlord could only represent the legal entity three times per year.
With the enactment of last years HB590, a landlord who owns a building titled in a corporation, LLC or a partnership, upon filing the appropriate affidavits, can represent the entity in eviction proceedings.  However, if the building is owned by a trust, or the building is operated by a property manager, the three times a year rule applies.  Further, RSA 540:30 does not include small claims actions where the subject of the law suit is a landlord/tenant dispute.
HB 203, if enacted, would allow trustees to represent the trust in eviction actions.  It would also permit property managers to represent the owners of buildings in eviction actions.  The affidavit requirements would apply to trustees and property managers. In addition, if the bill is enacted, landlords who hold buildings in corporations, LLCs, partnerships, all with five or less members and property managers can represent the building owners in small claims cases where the subject of the suit is a landlord tenant dispute.
With many people transferring their properties into trusts, and hiring property managers, this bill would simply put these landlords in the same position as the landlords who have their buildings in 5 or less member LLCs, corporations, or partnerships.  It would save the expensive cost of hiring an attorney for a relatively straight forward matter, especially with non-payment of rent cases.  Cases may even move faster without professional litigators involved.  The same holds true for small claims actions, which in landlord tenant matters are either for unpaid rent or damages.
This bill was proposed by the Rental Property Owners Association, and is sponsored by one of our members who is a legislator. We are very much for this bill and ask all landlords to call and email legislators.  Further we need as many people as possible to attend the committee hearings on the bill.
HB315, 7 Days Eviction Notice In Certain Circumstances
05/12/2015 at 10:05 AM    SH 100
Title: Title: relative to termination of tenancy.
Summary: This bill reduces the eviction notice from 30 days to 7 days in the following instances:
Someone staying in the unit who is not on the lease for more than 14 days consecutive or 30 days in a calendar year.
Pets or animals that are not in the lease.
Failure of tenant to put utilities in their name when required to do so.
Property Owner Position: For
Email to Committee: 
Subject: HB315 
Analysis Stated in Bill: 
Talking Points:
We need everyone to show up at the hearing in favor of this bill & call and write to legislators to support this important bill.  Stay tuned for changes.  We have met with NHLA who has proposed changes.  Some we agree with, some need further work.
New Hampshire law allows a landlord in most residential tenancies to evict tenants by serving the tenants either a 7 days Eviction Notice or a 30 days eviction notice. Presently the 7 days eviction notice can only be used in certain limited circumstances.  Those circumstances are: (a) non-payment of rent  (b) substantial damages caused by the tenant, members of his family or guests (c) behavior by the tenant, members of  his family or guest that adversely affects the health, safety of the landlord or other tenants or failure to accept temporary alternative housing during lead paint abatement.  All other evictions require a 30 days Eviction Notice.
HB 315, if enacted, would add three additional circumstances where a landlord could use a 7 days Eviction Notice.  These three are:
(1) a person staying in the leased premises who is not a party to the lease, and does not have the consent of the landlord, for more than 14 consecutive days or more than 30 days in a calendar year 
(2) having a pet or animal in the premises in violation of a lease or rental agreement
(3) failure to establish utilities in the tenant’s or terminating utility service when the tenant is required to pay such under the terms of the lease. Please note, that each of the above categories has to be a breach of the lease. For those landlords who do not use leases, or do not prohibit these categories in their leases, they would not be able to use the provisions of this bill, if it became law.
This bill has major advantages for landlords in dealing with the tenants who are purposely breaking the terms of a lease in the three circumstances outlined above, or do not have the financial means to abide by the terms of the lease.
Extra people who move into our apartments, especially if the landlord pays for heat and hot water, use these utilities solely at the expense of the landlord.  The additional people not only increase utility usage but also wear and tear of the apartment, again at the landlord’s expense. These people also are not parties to lease, many times do not know or care about the terms of the lease or the rules and regulations of the landlord, and have nothing to lose if they violate the terms of the lease. Since they are invited into the apartment by the tenant, the police are reluctant to issue a no trespass order. Basically, these extra people are living for free at the landlord’s expense. Some may even consider these people stealing our services.  And what about those cases where an invitee of a tenant takes over the apartment saying they are the tenant but have never signed or agreed to any terms of the lease.  People who are “crashing” at someone's apartment, can be a danger to the landlord and other tenants unless properly screened and approved.
Many of us charge more rent for people with pets in order to offset the damage some pets do to our buildings, and since the rent is higher, charge a higher security deposit equal to one month’s rent.  The tenant who sneaks a pet in without our consent is depriving us of the ability to charge the higher rent and obtain more security deposit from that tenant to offset the extra wear and tear and damage from the pet. It also makes it much more difficult to collect the additional rent from other tenants who have pets once they hear about what the “sneak” did at no additional cost.
Unauthorized dogs could bite someone, triggering a lawsuit. The landlord could have his insurance policy cancelled just by the dog being there, especially in the case of “aggressive” breeds.  This has forced the property to go on surplus insurance at a much greater cost with less coverage.
Pets can be destructive.  The longer the pet is in an apartment, the more destruction it can do.  For instance, a cat clawing on the wood work or using the carpets as a litter box, will cause more damage the longer it is in the apartment. Also if the animal has flees, and sooner that animal is out of the building, the less likely the fleas will spread to other units. (There seems to be a direct correlation between the people who sneak a pet in, and the people who do not take proper care of their pet).  Reducing the time it takes to evict the tenant, by 23 days, substantially reduces the time the pets can damage the rented unit.
If a tenant does not put utilities into his or her name, or terminates utilities or has utilities shut off on them, one of two things could happen.  The first is creating a risk of the building freezing during the winter. The longer the utilities are off, the greater the risk of damage to the building. The second is that the utilities are often transferred into the landlord’s name, and the landlord has to pay for services that the tenant agreed to pay for when the tenant signed the lease. Since a landlord may not terminate utilities on a tenant the landlord then remains stuck paying for a tenant’s utilities which the tenant should be paying per the lease agreement. Reducing the time that tenant had to use someone else’s services, would reduce the loss to the landlord. This is no different than a non-payment of rent, especially since rents are reduced when utilities, principally heat, is not included.
Landlords often get complaints from other tenants at the property about these issues.  This bill would help landlords to more quickly address the concerns of other tenants in the building & enforce the terms of the lease more efficiently.

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