COVID-19 RESOURCES

Questions and Answers on Evictions and Foreclosures in
New Hampshire during the Covid-19 State of Emergency (SOE)

This fact sheet was created in partnership with New Hampshire Legal Assistance (NHLA). It is not a replacement for legal advice: If you have more detailed questions about a specific situation, contact NHLA through their Legal Advice and Referral Center (LARC) (800-639-5290 or https://nhlegalaid.org/about/legal-advice-and-referral-center (9 AM – 1 PM, M-F)).

The NH Housing Relief Fund from the 2020 CARES Act has been closed. Applications received by the Community Action Programs by Dec 18, 2020 are still being processed. Call your case manger or contact adibacco@granitestateorganizing.org if you have applied and are unsure of the status of your application.

The December 2020 COVID relief bill includes $200 million to New Hampshire for the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA)  program. This money should be to the State by the end of January, but the guidance on how to run the program has not yet come to the state, so all details about how the program will be administered and through what agencies are not yet known. As the federal bill is written, the ERA will NOT cover mortgages and is designed to primarily help low income renters with their housing expenses.

The Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) national moratorium on evictions for non-payment went into effect September 4. The end date has been extended from December 31, 2020 to January 31, 2021.

Non-CDC federal moratoriums are confusing and are based, generally, on what forbearance landlords are receiving. See #1 below (“Can I be evicted for non-payment of rent?”).

Eviction protections in NH state of emergency expired June 30, 2020.

This fact sheet will be updated as more details become available. 

 

 

Last updated 01/14/20 

 

Can I be evicted if I can’t pay my rent?

The federal level was and is confusing, to do in part with different agencies having their own policies. The current situation is:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) national moratorium on evictions for non-payment went into effect September 4 and is scheduled to run through 1/31/21 (recently extended from 12/31/20). This covers all tenants who complete, sign, and deliver to their landlord a declaration saying, in part, that they cannot afford their rent now, that they’ve tried to get rental assistance and could not get what they needed, and that they fear that if they have to move they will have to live in close quarters with others or become homeless. You can submit this declaration after being served an eviction notice, but it is better to do so as soon as you know you are in this situation. You don’t need to have it notarized but do keep a copy and notes about when and how your landlord received it.

Landlords

  • may begin eviction proceedings before the end of the moratorium
  • may challenge the truthfulness of tenant’s declarations
  • are not required to tell their tenants their rights under this moratorium

This moratorium does NOT protect tenants from eviction for criminal activity while on the premise, threatening the health or safety of other residents, damaging, or threatening a risk of damage to the property, violation of building, health, or related codes/ordinances, or lease violations other than non-payment.

This moratorium is forbearance, not forgiveness. You will still owe all your rent as of February 1, 2021. The landlord may also include late fees and interest.

In addition to the CDC moratorium, there are some other relevant federal programs:

  • If a landlord has a federally backed mortgage on multifamily housing (five units or more) they must give 30-days’ notice of any eviction related to non-payment of rent that became due between March 26 and July 24.
  • If a landlord has a federally-backed mortgage on a single-family property (1 – 4 units), they may not evict tenants from these properties for non-payment through January 31, 2021.
  • If a landlord has a federally-backed mortgage on certain housing for which they have forbearance, as long as they have that forbearance they cannot evict tenants for non-payment from this housing. Click here or here  to see if your building is included or check with your landlord. See further details in “Can NH homeowners lose their homes ….” ..

You can call Legal Advice and Referral Center (LARC, see resources below) to see if they can help you find out your landlord’s situation and what options this gives you.

  • At the state level in New Hampshire, there was an eviction moratorium for the first few months of the state of emergency, but the landlord could demand payment as soon as the moratorium ended on July 1, 2020. The only protection left from that time is that–if you are evicted for non-payment of rent due between March 17 and June 11—your landlord must give you a 30-day Eviction Notice rather than the standard 7 days. If you pay all the past due rent before the eviction notice expires, plus $15.00 you should be able to defeat the eviction.
When will I have to pay my back rent?

For the CDC moratorium your rent (and perhaps late fees and interest) will be due in full no later than February 1, 2021.

If a landlord has a federally-backed mortgage on certain housing for which they have forbearance, all your rent will become due when their forbearance ends.

You may be able to work out a payment plan if you need it.  Communicate with your landlord about your situation to work out a mutually acceptable plan. Keep records of these communications.

Can my landlord charge late fees and interest for rent I missed during the emergency?

If you delayed payment through the CDC declaration, the landlord is permitted to add fees and interests to your rent when it is due.

If you live in a building financed by Fannie Mae, your landlord may not charge you late fees or penalties for rent due between March 27, 2020 and July 25, 2020.

Is there financial help available if I can’t pay my rent or utilities for COVID-19 related reasons?

In December 2020 Congress allocated $200 million in Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) to NH to help renters stay in their homes. The details of this program are still to be worked out, but we do know that

  • the funds will be used for rent and other housing costs (due and future)
  • the assistance will NOT cover mortgages
  • the intention of the program is to assist low-income renters and/or people who have been on unemployment for at least three months
  • the state has until at least December 31, 2021 to distribute the funds
  • the funds are likely to get to NH by the end of January, but the programs to administer them may not yet be in place

The federal CARES Act  funds distributed as the New Hampshire Housing Relief Fund (NHHRF) through the five NH Community Action Programs (CAPs) ended in December 2020 – though applications received by December 18 are being processed through mid-January.

Because the details of the ERA are still being worked out and the NHHRF is expiring, there is a short term gap in COVID related rental assistance. If you need help NOW, contact your local CAP at www.capnh.org or call 211. Other funds are also available through local programs. Some of these are listed at the end of these questions.

Besides rent, what about other essential services such as water, heat, and electricity?

Providers of electric, gas, water, telephone, cable, VOIP, internet, and deliverable fuels were prohibited from disconnecting or discontinuing service for non-payment until July 15. If you owe money for any of these housing-related expenses, you may be eligible for help from your Community Assistance Program (see question 4) or other resources listed at the end of this page. 

Am I protected from eviction after the moratorium ends if my landlord was trying to evict me before they began?

Evictions for non-payment were suspended for the emergency but may restart at the same point when the emergency is over.

My landlord is pressuring me to pay my rent using my credit card. Isn’t this more responsible than taking the assistance money available?

The money is available to help people who find themselves unable to pay their rent for reasons related to the COVID-19 emergency. If you use it for this purpose, you could avoid a financial crisis which will threaten your long-term housing stability. We collectively need as many of us as possible to remain in financially stable as we come out of this emergency. You can contribute to our shared long-term recovery by using this financial help now instead of credit, which you will still need to pay (with interest) later.

Can NH homeowners lose their homes after the state of emergency?

Homeowners with Enterprise-backed multifamily mortgages are protected from foreclosure through March 31, 2021. Interested homeowners should contact their mortgage servicer and ask about forbearance.

Property owners who enter into this agreement must:

  1. Inform tenants in writing about tenant protections available during the forbearance and repayment period
  2. Agree not to evict tenants solely for non-payment while the property is in forbearance.

During the repayment period tenant protections include:

  1. Thirty-day eviction notices to vacate
  2. No late fees or penalties for nonpayment of rent
  3. Allowing flexible repayment plans over a period of time without lump sum
What is the difference between “forbearance” and “forgiveness”?

Forgiveness is that you don’t ever have to pay the rent you miss. Forbearance is that you didn’t have to pay yet but will later. The programs described here are forbearance, and you have to pay the back rent after the moratorium ends. If you owe back rent because of COVID-19 factors, tell your landlord about your situation to work out a mutually acceptable plan.

Where can I get more detail about some of these issues?

There are several useful resources in our state:

  1. Legal Advice and Resource Center (LARC) – 800-639-5290 (9 AM – 3 PM, M-F)
    org/about/legal-advice-and-referral-center
  2. NH Legal Assistance on this and other COVID-19 concerns: nhla.org/blog/NHLA-Community-Guidance-for-COVID-19-crisis-entry-76
  3. Housing Action NH for short- and long-term policy as well as resources: housingactionnh.org/resources-in-response-to-covid-19/
Where can I ask for financial help if I need it?

Local aid programs that may be able to help:

  • Community Action Agencies – click here or call 866-444-4211 to find yours
  • The Front Door Agency , Nashua – click here or call 603-886-2866
  • The Way Home, Manchester – click here or call 603-627-3491
  • Local welfare offices – call 866-444-4211 to find yours
  • New Hampshire Catholic Charities – call 603-624-4717
  • Granite State Organizing Project has some funds to distribute. Contact us at 603-668-8250 for more information.
  • For information on rental support for immigrants regardless of status – 603-682-1921
  • To find information on avoiding mortgage foreclosure – call 866-444-4211
  • For non-housing assistance, the following are coordinating emergency cash assistance and accepting external referrals from local agencies.
    • Granite United Way – click here to find your local office
    • Neighborworks Southern New Hampshire – click here or call 603-626-4663

 

Additional information:

  • Detail on the NH Housing Relief Program
  • For National Housing Law Project’s list of national resources protecting renter and homeowner rights during the pandemic click here
I’d like to know more about my rights as a tenant. Where can I learn?
  • Legal Aid and Resource Center (LARC) – 800-639-5290 (9 AM – 3 PM, M-F)
    org/about/legal-advice-and-referral-center
  • Consumer Finance Protection Bureau – Mortgage and Housing assistance during the coronavirus national emergency: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/mortgage-and-housing-assistance/
  • Recorded GSOP, Manchester Housing Alliance, and NHLA webinars on general tenants’ at this page.
  • For tenant organizing and advocacy, contact Granite State Organizing Project at 603-668-8250, gsopstaff@granitestateorganizing.org, or www.org.

ADDRESS

 

27 Lowell St., 3rd floor
Manchester, NH 03104
(603) 668-8250

GSOP MAILING ADDRESS

 

383 Beech Street
Manchester, NH 03103