New executive orders ease New Hampshire landlords’ concerns

Sununu explicitly allows evictions under certain circumstance

Landlords in New Hampshire are able to evict tenants who violate their lease by causing damage to the premises, impacting the health and safety of their fellow tenants, or if they abandon the property. They and homeowners also may be able to put off paying their property taxes.

Gov. Chris Sununu issued the two executive orders –

Nos. 24 and 25 – in part in response to landlords concerned that their hands were tied by Sununu’s order on March 16 (order No. 4) that simply banned all evictions and foreclosures.

They also complained that some tenants viewed the order as an excuse to avoid paying their rent, although the original order did state that they were still under obligation to do so.

Sununu emphasized that in a press release and the order itself. Nothing in either order “relieves a tenant of an obligation to pay rent or comply with any other provision of their lease agreements. Tenants are strongly encouraged to work with their landlords to pay all rent that they can afford, and to utilize the expanded unemployment benefits provided by the State and Federal Government, where applicable, for this purpose.”

Order No. 24 also allows the holder of a mortgage to record a foreclosure sale and evict a homeowner if that sale took place before March 16. Order No. 25 allows – but does not require – municipalities to waive interest charges during the state of the emergency, another measure that landlords were asking for.

But mortgage holders still can’t foreclose otherwise and landlords still can’t evict based on nonpayment of rent or some other reasons, like emptying a building of tenants in order to sell it.

“We are happy that the governor is changing the order suspending all evictions,” said Nick Norman, a landlord advocate with the Apartment Association of New Hampshire, “and we believe there would be further orders that will address needs of landlords and tenants.”

Norman said that the governor’s office reached out to discuss their concerns and “we were pleased that they called us and listened to our solutions.”

He said the order addressed “some of our top priorities” and while there are still many other concerns, “We pleased he too this first step.”

Landlords were also seeking some financial help for tenants having trouble paying their rent, something akin to a fuel assistance program, through which the money would go directly to the landlords. While no promises were made, Norman said that there was interest and “we now have a communication line with the governor’s office.”

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