Landlord Tenant Basics

You cannot be lawfully evicted unless the landlord brings the matter to court after the eviction notice expires.

Good Cause for Eviction
  • Nonpayment of Rent requires a 7-day notice or if you have been late with the rent on more than one occasion.
  • Substantial damage to premises requires a 7-day notice
  • Behavior which adversely effects health or safety.  Example could be the tenant has engaged in serious illegal activity, such as drug dealing on the premises.  This requires a 7-day notice
  • Repeatedly violating a significant lease or rental agreement clause. requires a 30 day notice.  This can include violations of a no-pets clause or the promise to refrain from making excessive noise.
  • Failure to accept a change in rental amount requires a 30-day notice
  • Failure to accept a temporary relocation due to lead paint hazard abatement requires a 30-day notice
  • Other good causes requires a 30-day notice such as the landlord wanting to renovate the apartment or the landlord is selling the property.
The Eviction Process - If you have questions in regards to any of the steps, contact NH Legal Aid at or 1-800-639-5290.

  • Step 1 - Your landlord must serve you with a written notice telling you that you must leave.
  • Step 2 -You cannot be lawfully evicted unless the landlord brings the matter to court after the eviction notice expires and obtains a "Landlord Tenant Writ".  The Writ can only be brought to you by a sheriff.  The sheriff can hand you the Writ or they may leave it on or near your door. Within this paperwork is an Appearance Form.
  • Step 3 - The Appearance Form.  You must complete and file with the court system your Appearance Form prior to the return date that can be located about halfway down on the first page of the Landlord Tenant Writ.    If you do not file the Appearance Form, you'll be in default and you could be removed from your home within just a few days.
  • Step 4 - Notice of Hearing.  The notice of hearing typically arrives in 2 to 3 days after you file your Appearance.  If you do not receive the notice within 2 to 3 days, contact the courts.  Hearings are scheduled within 6 to 10 days from the day you file the Appearance Form.
  • Step 5 - The Hearing.  Just because your landlord takes you to court for an eviction, it doesn't mean they will automatically win.  You will need to speak up at the hearing.  
  • Step 6 - Writ of Possession.  You may or may not have a verdict after the hearing.  If you do have a verdict, not in your favor, you will not be required to leave your home that day.  You will have at least 8 more days.  A writ of possession is a court order that allows a landlord to have you lawfully removed from the home.  
  • Step 7 - Ask for a Discretionary Stay.  Even if the judge has not decided on his verdict, ask for a discretionary stay.  A judge may grant you up to a maximum of 90 more days in the home, even if you lost the eviction hearing.  You must give the judge important reasons why you should have extra time in the home.  The judge is allowed to use his/her judgment after listening to your reasons for requesting additional time to live in the home.  
  • Step 8 - Filing an Intent to Appeal.  IF you feel the judge didn't apply the law correctly you have the right to appeal the judge's decision.  It must be file no later than 7 days from the day you lost the eviction.  If you file an appeal, you may remain in your home for 30 days from the day of the hearing as long as you continue to pay the rent.  The 30th day is your deadline for presenting your appeal to NH State Supreme Court.  This is the 2nd step in the 2-step appeal process.  Not all appeals are accepted.  If your appeal is not accepted by the court, your landlord will have access to the Writ of Possession immediately.