HB434 (2017) Detail

Relative to damages in landlord-tenant actions.










AN ACT relative to damages in landlord-tenant actions.


SPONSORS: Rep. L. Turcotte, Straf. 4; Rep. Beaudoin, Straf. 9; Rep. Gould, Hills. 7; Rep. Chirichiello, Rock. 6; Sen. Sanborn, Dist 9


COMMITTEE: Judiciary






This bill increases the maximum money judgment the court may award in a landlord-tenant action from $1,500 to $3,000.


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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.






In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Seventeen


AN ACT relative to damages in landlord-tenant actions.


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


1  Landlord-Tenant Actions; Damages.  Amend RSA 540:13, III to read as follows:

III.  The writ of summons and the notice provided in paragraph II shall be returnable 7 days from the date of service of the writ by the sheriff.  The writ of summons shall provide an opportunity for the landlord, at the landlord's option, to make a claim for an award of unpaid rent.  If the landlord elects to make a claim for unpaid rent, the court shall consider any defense, claim, or counterclaim by the tenant which offsets or reduces the amount owed to the plaintiff.  If the court finds that the landlord is entitled to possession on the ground of nonpayment of rent, it shall also award the landlord a money judgment.  If the court determines that the amount owed by the landlord to the tenant, as a result of set-off or counterclaim exceeds or equals the amount of rent and other lawful charges owed by the tenant to the landlord, judgment in the possessory action shall be granted in favor of the tenant.  If the court finds that the tenant's counterclaim exceeds the amount of the nonpayment, a money judgment shall issue in favor of the tenant.  Any decision rendered by the court related to a money judgment, shall be limited to [a maximum of $1,500 and] an amount equal to 3 times the monthly rental rate, but in no case shall that amount exceed $3,000.  The awarding of a money judgment shall not preclude either party from making a subsequent claim in a court of competent jurisdiction to recover any additional amounts [not covered by the $1,500] in excess of the money judgment.

2  District Court; Civil Causes; Exclusive Jurisdiction.  Amend RSA 502-A:14, I to read as follows:

I.  Exclusive Jurisdiction.  All district courts shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction of civil cases in which the damages claimed do not exceed $1,500, the title to real estate is not involved and the plaintiff or defendant resides within the district.  District courts also shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over landlord-tenant cases under RSA 540 in which the damages claimed do not exceed $3,000, provided that nothing shall preclude a party from requesting a jury trial as provided in RSA 502-A:15 in those cases in which the damages claimed exceed $1,500.  In all such actions as herein provided the parties shall be heard by the justice or special justice and the findings of fact shall be final, but questions of law may be transferred to the supreme court in the same manner as from the superior court or as provided in RSA 502-A:17-a.

3  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect January 1, 2018.


HB434 at GenCourtMobile

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Jan. 24, 2017 House Hearing
Feb. 8, 2017 House Exec Session
March 8, 2017 House Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

HB434 Revision: 373 Date: Jan. 27, 2017, 11:53 a.m.


March 8, 2017: Inexpedient to Legislate: MA VV 03/08/2017 HJ 9 P. 36

March 8, 2017: Committee Report: Inexpedient to Legislate for 03/08/2017 (Vote 12-1; CC) HC 14 P. 16

Feb. 8, 2017: Executive Session: 02/08/2017 10:00 AM LOB 208

Jan. 24, 2017: Public Hearing: 01/24/2017 10:00 AM LOB 208

Jan. 5, 2017: Introduced 01/05/2017 and referred to Judiciary HJ 3 P. 13