HB1511 (2020) Detail

Relative to actions against tenants.










AN ACT relative to actions against tenants.


SPONSORS: Rep. Kanzler, Carr. 2


COMMITTEE: Judiciary






This bill makes procedural changes to actions against tenants concerning evictions and judgments.


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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.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


AN ACT relative to actions against tenants.


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


1  Actions Against Tenants; Payment of Arrearages After Notice.  Amend RSA 540:9 to read as follows:

540:9  Payment After Notice.  No tenancy shall be terminated for nonpayment of rent, utility charges, or any other lawful charge contained in a lease or an oral or written rental agreement if the tenant, before the expiration of the notice, pays or tenders all arrearages plus [$15.00] an amount equal to one week's portion of rent or any lesser amount accepted by the landlord as liquidated damages; provided, however, that a tenant may not defeat an eviction for nonpayment by use of this section more than 3 times within a 12-month period.

2  Actions Against Tenants; Eviction; Default.  Amend RSA 540:13, II(b) to read as follows:

(b)  The tenant shall not be evicted unless the court so orders; however, such an order [may] shall be granted if the tenant does not file an appearance.

3  Action Against Tenants; Money Judgments; Maximum Amount.  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] $2,000 and 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] $2,000 judgment.

4  Actions Against Tenants; Writ of Possession.  Amend RSA 540:13-c, I to read as follows:

I.  If the defendant defaults, or confesses judgment, or if on trial the court rules that the landlord has sustained his or her complaint, judgment shall be rendered that the landlord recover possession of the premises and costs.  A writ of possession shall be issued, provided that, the court may order the tenant shall not be dispossessed until a date not later than [3 months] 45 days from such default, confession of judgment, or ruling of the court, provided the court decides that under all the circumstances justice requires such stay, based on the reasonableness and good faith of the parties in their respective reports, complaints, demands, and evidence.  In the event of any such stay of dispossession, the tenant shall pay the landlord weekly in advance the weekly former rent, or the proportional weekly part of the former rent if rent was payable less often than weekly, and on default of any such advance weekly payment a writ of possession shall be issued and the sheriff shall evict the tenant as soon as possible.

5  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.


HB1511 at GenCourtMobile
HB1511 Discussion

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Jan. 15, 2020 House Hearing
Feb. 18, 2020 House Exec Session
House Floor Vote
March 11, 2020 House Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

HB1511 Revision: 7129 Date: Dec. 3, 2019, 10:41 a.m.


Date Status
Jan. 8, 2020 Introduced 01/08/2020 and referred to Judiciary HJ 1 P. 25
Jan. 15, 2020 Public Hearing: 01/15/2020 10:30 am LOB 208
Feb. 18, 2020 Executive Session: 02/18/2020 01:00 pm LOB 208
Committee Report: Inexpedient to Legislate (Vote 18-1; RC)
March 11, 2020 Committee Report: Inexpedient to Legislate for 03/11/2020 (Vote 18-1; RC) HC 10 P. 63
March 12, 2020 Inexpedient to Legislate: MA VV 03/12/2020 HJ 8 P. 141