HB584 (2019) Detail

Relative to the procedures governing possessory actions against tenants.










AN ACT relative to the procedures governing possessory actions against tenants.


SPONSORS: Rep. Plumer, Belk. 6; Rep. Viens, Belk. 1


COMMITTEE: Judiciary






This bill clarifies the procedures for summary possession actions against tenants and for entering the action in superior court if title to the premises is in question.


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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.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


AN ACT relative to the procedures governing possessory actions against tenants.


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


1  Actions Against Tenants; Definition; Tenant.  Amend RSA 540:1-a, IV(d) to read as follows:

(d)  A single-family home in which the occupant has no lease, which is the primary and usual residence of the owner, excepting an owner who has brought an action as owner pursuant to RSA 540:12 and to whom the provisions of this chapter do apply.

2  Possessory Actions.  Amend RSA 540:12 to read as follows:

540:12  Possessory Action.  The owner, lessor, or purchaser at a mortgage foreclosure sale of any tenement or real estate may recover possession thereof from a lessee, occupant, mortgagor, or other person in possession, holding it without right, after notice in writing to quit [the same] and successful adjudication of an appropriate writ entered, as [herein] prescribed in this chapter.

I.  Any owner, lessor, or purchaser at a mortgage foreclosure sale seeking summary possession of such tenement or real estate must seek that relief specifically pursuant to this section.

II.  Writs under this section shall be titled "Writ for Summary Possession" and the appropriate form shall be available as an official district court form.

III.  Any party seeking relief under this section has the burden of proving actual ownership of the premises in question.

IV.  Any final judgment arising out of this section and after a hearing on the merits whereby a plaintiff has failed to meet its required burden of proof and/or provide evidence to support its claim will be considered as a final decision on the merits, having preclusive effect.

3  Plea of Title; Effect of Plea.  RSA 540:17 and RSA 540:18 are repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

540:17  Plea of Title, Promise to Enter and Prosecute.  If the defendant shall plead a plea which may bring into question the title to the demanded premises, he or she shall forthwith promise to the plaintiff, the promise to be accompanied by a bond in such sum certain and consisting of such sureties as the court has the authority to order, within 24 hours of the court's order, by noticing the court of his or her promise to enter an action in the superior court for the county at the next return day and to prosecute the action in said court.  As to recognizance, the court may decide to waive the requirement that the defendant enter a recognizance in sum certain or in the form of surety, which decision has the effect of the defendant being directly ordered to file its title action in the superior court at the next return day.  Otherwise, the defendant further promises to pay all rent then due or which shall become due pending the action to the extent required, and the damages and costs which may be awarded against him or her.

540:18  Effect of Plea.  After the filing of such plea by defendant and defendant's promising to plaintiff forthwith to enter its action in the superior court at the next return day, said promise to include recognizance as applicable and if ordered by the court, and the entry of its action in the superior court in the time allowed, no further proceedings shall be had before the district court, but the action will have been entered and will be prosecuted in the superior court in the same manner as if it were originally begun there.

4  Amend RSA 540:19 to read as follows:

540:19  Neglect to Recognize or Enter Action.  If the defendant neglects or refuses to recognize to the plaintiff or fails to enter the action as promised and in the time allowed, judgment shall be rendered against [him] the defendant in the same manner as if he or she had refused to make answer to the suit.

5  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 90 days after its passage.


HB584 at GenCourtMobile
HB584 Discussion

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Jan. 30, 2019 House Hearing
March 5, 2019 House Exec Session
House Floor Vote
March 14, 2019 House Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

HB584 Revision: 4843 Date: Jan. 15, 2019, 2:43 p.m.


Date Status
Jan. 3, 2019 Introduced 01/03/2019 and referred to Judiciary HJ 3 P. 21
Jan. 30, 2019 Public Hearing: 01/30/2019 10:00 am LOB 208
March 5, 2019 Executive Session: 03/05/2019 11:00 am LOB 208
Committee Report: Inexpedient to Legislate (Vote 19-1; CC)
March 14, 2019 Committee Report: Inexpedient to Legislate for 03/14/2019 (Vote 19-1; CC) HC 15 P. 4
March 14, 2019 Inexpedient to Legislate: MA VV 03/14/2019 HJ 9 P. 8