HB574 (2009) Detail

Authorizing liens for unpaid building code violations and requiring landlord agents for restricted rental property.


HB 574-FN-LOCAL – AS INTRODUCED

2009 SESSION

09-0465

05/10

HOUSE BILL 574-FN-LOCAL

AN ACT authorizing liens for unpaid building code violations and requiring landlord agents for restricted rental property.

SPONSORS: Rep. Long, Hills 10; Rep. Komi, Hills 12; Rep. Infantine, Hills 13

COMMITTEE: Judiciary

ANALYSIS

This bill provides that unpaid building code violations may result in a lien being filed against the property. The bill also requires landlords of restricted rental property to designate an agent for the tenant to contact and, if necessary, for service of process.

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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

09-0465

05/10

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Nine

AN ACT authorizing liens for unpaid building code violations and requiring landlord agents for restricted rental property.

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

1 New Section; Housing Standards. Amend RSA 48-A by inserting after section 6 the following new section:

48-A:6-a Lien for Unpaid Fines.

I. Whenever a court of competent jurisdiction enters a fine against a property owner for violation of a housing code enacted pursuant to this chapter or for violation of the minimum standards set forth in RSA 48-A:14, the amount of said fine shall be a lien against the real property, and such lien, including as part thereof costs and necessary attorneys fees may be foreclosed upon order of the superior court pursuant to a petition for that purpose filed in said court. Such lien may be filed after 45 days of the entry of the fine.

II. Notice of said lien shall be filed with the register of deeds for the county in which the real estate is situated, and shall be recorded by the registrar.

III. Such lien shall be subordinate to any mortgage, lien, or encumberance of record filed prior to the municipality’s lien.

IV. The court order assessing the fine on the owner of the real estate shall notify the owner that a lien may be recorded to enforce said fine if the fine is not paid within 45 days of the imposition of the fine by the court, provided however that no notice of lien shall be filed while a timely filed appeal of the fine is pending.

2 New Section; Actions Against Tenants; Landlord Agent. Amend RSA 540 by inserting after section 1-a the following new section:

540:1-b Landlord’s Agent Required.

I. An owner of restricted property, as defined in RSA 540:1-a, II, shall, at the inception of each tenancy, provide at least one adult member of the tenant household with a written notice that provides the name, address, and telephone number of a person residing within the state, or a management company which maintains a full time office in this state, who is authorized by the owner to make repairs, or contract to have repairs made, to the premises. Such person may be the owner of the premises. The owner shall provide new written notice to the tenant within 30 business days of any change in the information that has been provided pursuant to this paragraph.

II. An owner of restricted property who resides outside the state of New Hampshire shall, within 30 days of becoming the owner or within 30 days of the effective date of this section, whichever occurs later, file a statement with the town or city clerk of the municipality in which the property is located that provides the name, address, and telephone number of a person within the state who is authorized to accept service of process for any legal proceeding brought against the owner relating to the restricted property. As used in this section the term “legal proceeding” includes, but is not limited to, any action at law or in equity or for the enforcement of any provision of RSA 48-A:14, or any housing code adopted by a municipality pursuant to RSA 48-A, or for the enforcement of any municipal health code, building code, fire or life safety code. A municipality may establish a reasonable filing fee to cover the cost to the town or city clerk of maintaining a record of the filings required by this section.

III. If an owner fails to comply with paragraph I, a tenant who is authorized to withhold rent under RSA 540:13-d need not comply with the notice requirements of RSA 540:13-d, I(a) but instead may prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she made a reasonable effort to notify the landlord of the defects in the premises while he or she was not in arrears in rent.

IV. In any legal proceeding against an owner of restricted property who resides outside the state of New Hampshire, if the owner fails to comply with paragraph II, and the owner fails to appear to defend such proceeding after having been served pursuant to RSA 510:4, a final judgment or order of the court shall, upon filing in the registry of deeds for the county in which the property is located, become a lien against the property.

V. If the lien authorized by paragraph IV is not satisfied within 60 days of the recording of the judgment in the registry of deeds in which the property is located, the holder of the lien may file a petition for an order authorizing sale of the premises in the superior court for the county in which the property is situated. Copies of such petition shall be served upon all persons who have recorded interests in the property in accordance with the requirements of RSA 510. If any party in interest files an objection to the proposed sale, the court shall hold a hearing on the objection and shall issue an order, which shall include, if requested by any of the parties, a determination of the amount due each party and the order of priority of the claims to the proceeds of the sale. The sale shall be conducted under such terms and conditions as are set by the court.

VI. Any owner of restricted property who violates paragraph I or II shall be deemed to have committed an unfair trade practice in violation of RSA 358-A:2.

3 Effective Date. This act shall take effect January 1, 2010.

LBAO

09-0465

01/21/09

HB 574-FN-LOCAL - FISCAL NOTE

AN ACT authorizing liens for unpaid building code violations and requiring landlord agents for restricted rental property.

FISCAL IMPACT:

      The Judicial Branch states this bill may increase state general fund expenditures by an indeterminable amount in FY 2010 and each fiscal year thereafter. The NH Municipal Association states this bill may increase local revenue and expenditures by an indeterminable amount in FY 2010 and each fiscal year thereafter. There will be no fiscal impact on state and county revenue or county expenditures.

METHODOLOGY:

    The Judicial Branch states this bill allows for a lien for unpaid fines for violations of a housing code. The Branch states petitions brought in the Superior Court would likely be considered a routine equity case in accordance with the NH Judicial Needs Assessment of 2005. The cost to the Branch of an average routine equity case in the Superior Court has been estimated to be $184 in FY 2010 and each fiscal year thereafter. The Branch has no information on which to estimate how many such petitions may arise as a result of this bill. The Branch further states the notice required by the proposed RSA 48-A:6-a, IV should not add significant costs to the Branch, since an order is already being sent out assessing the fine.

    The NH Municipal Association states this bill grants a lien to a municipality on property that is the subject of a housing standard violation when a court enters a fine against the property owner for the violation. The lien is the amount of the fine, plus the municipality’s costs and attorney fees. The Association states granting municipalities a lien may increase their ability to collect fines for violations of housing standards and thus lead to increased municipal revenues. Notice of lien must be recorded in the county registry of deeds; this would require the payment of a recording fee, which may or may not be recovered through the lien on the property. Thus, there is a potential for some additional municipal expenditures. The Association states it is not possible to predict how often municipalities would choose to enforce the lien granted by this bill, how often they would succeed in collecting on the lien, or what amounts would be collected. Any fiscal impact on a municipality would occur only if the municipality chooses to enforce the lien.

    The Association states this bill requires owner’s of restricted property to file a statement with the city or town clerk identifying a person within the state who is authorized to accept service of process for legal proceedings brought against the owner related to the restricted property. City and town clerks may incur some administrative costs to maintain such filings and may establish reasonable filing fees to cover the cost of maintaining and filing records. The Association states it is impossible to predict how many such filings would be made, however, increases in municipal expenditures should equal increases in municipal revenues.

Links

HB574 at GenCourtMobile

Action Dates

Date Body Type

Bill Text Revisions

HB574 Revision: 13617 Date: Jan. 23, 2009, midnight

Docket