In order to proceed with evicting a tenant in New Hampshire, two different notices to quit are available to inform a tenant of their landlord’s intent. Unlike most states where several notices exist to categorize different types of evictions, New Hampshire simply has one form to end at-will month-to-month tenancies and one sweeping notice to quit that covers all lease violations. If or when there is no response from the tenant or they fail to leave, a landlord may choose to pursue a Writ of Possession from their Local District Court.
Laws – Title LII – Actions, Process, and Service of Process and NH Rev Stat § 540:2
How to Evict
- Step 1: Send an Eviction Notice
- Step 2: Wait to Hear from the Tenant
- Step 3: File in Court
- Step 4: Serve the Tenant
- Step 5: Attend a Hearing
- Step 6: Obtain a Writ of Possession
- Step 7: Repossess the Property
Step 1: Send an Eviction Notice
Notices are served either for lease violations or a month-to-month tenancy, each of which requires a certain number of days for notice.
- All Lease Violations (Notice to Quit) Tenants are subject to eviction if they’re responsible for substantial damages to the property, have failed to comply with a term of their lease, or their behavior adversely affects the health and safety of other tenants.1 In such circumstances, they have 30 days to remedy the issue(s) or vacate. For non-payment of rent, a landlord must deliver the Notice to Quit along with a Demand for Rent Form, informing the tenant of their right to avoid eviction by payment in full within 7 days, which may include any damages.2 Notice timeframes for each violation are as follows:
- Non-payment of Rent: Seven (7) Days
- Non-Compliance: Thirty (30) Days
- Substantial Property Damage: Seven (7) Days
- Failure to Accept Temporary Relocation: Seven (7) Days
- Failure to Prepare Rental Unit for Treatment: Thirty (30) Days
- Illegal Activity: Seven (7) Days
- Month to Month (30-Day Notice to Quit) Both the tenant and landlord are required to give the other party 30 days’ notice in the event that they wish to terminate a month to month rental agreement.
Step 2: Wait to Hear from the Tenant
A tenant may not be evicted without an order from the court.3 Therefore, landlords should wait to hear from the tenant within the timeframe of the notice to quit period.
If the eviction is for non-payment of rent, they may seek Town or City Welfare in an effort to pay the amount due, plus $15 in what’s called liquidated damages.4
Step 3: File in Court
- Average Processing Time: 10 Days5
- Filing Fees: $1256
- Where to File: Local District Court
Forms to File:
- Affidavit of Damages and Statement of Claim — nonpayment evictions and claims attempting to recover any damages must include a notarized Affidavit of Damages and Statement of Claim.
- Affidavit of Ownership — The state refers to this document as a sworn claim of ownership of the property in question.
- Affidavit of Military Service — If applicable, a party in the case will state their military service.
- Appearance Form — An Appearance form will be turned in by the tenant to document their presence at their eviction hearing.
Step 4: Serve the Tenant
Once the complaint is filed with the Local District Court, the landlord must serve the tenant the Complaint and Summons by:7
- Giving them a copy in person; or
- Leaving a copy at their residence
If a tenant chooses to contest the eviction, they must have filed an appearance with the court by the return day listed on their writ.8 The return date is not a hearing day, rather it is the tenant’s deadline to file for their appearance.
Step 5: Attend a Hearing
If the tenant didn’t file an appearance, the court may rule in favor of the landlord and order the tenant to move out. If they did file an appearance, the hearing will be held within 10 days of the date an appearance was filed with the court, and either party has the right to request a continuance that will then be scheduled within 30 days.8
Step 6: Obtain a Writ of Possession
A ruling in favor of the landlord or default judgment against the tenant will result in the court issuing a writ of possession.8 In the case of non-payment, the landlord may accept payment of rental arrearage before the writ of possession is issued and the eviction process will end.9
If the tenant appeared at their hearing and judgment fell in favor of the landlord, the writ won’t be issued for 7 days, giving the tenant time to file an appeal if they wish.10
Step 7: Repossess the Property
Tenants have the right to request a stay of execution for up to 3 months and the court may grant the stay if circumstances require it.11 New Hampshire state law doesn’t specify a timeline in which the sheriff may eventually be directed to execute the writ and return possession of the property to the landlord.
Video: Evictions in New Hampshire
- § 540:2
- § 540:3
- § 540:13(b)
- § 510:2
- § 540:13
- § 540:13 VII
- Rules of the Circuit Court of the State of NH, Rule 5.7
- § 540:13-c (2019)