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Circuit Court District Division - Landlord and Tenant Procedure

Landlords or tenants in doubt as to the legal requirements of a landlord and tenant action should consult with an attorney or the applicable law, RSA 540 and District Court Rules 5.1 – 5.12.

Information for Landlords

Effective January 1, 2007, the district court is required to provide forms for a Demand for Rent and Eviction Notice (formerly known as the Notice to Quit) in court locations and on the New Hampshire judicial branch website.  Although landlords are not required to use these forms, they are still required to use forms with language that complies with both RSA 540:3 and RSA 540:3-1.

Forms:

Eviction Notice 
Demand for Rent
Affidavit of Damages and Statement of Claim

Checklists:

Landlord Tenant 540-A Checklist

Landlord Tenant Checklist

Civil, Small Claim and Landlord Tenant Judgment Checklist

Cost of writ:

$1.00

Filing fee:

$125.00.

The writ must be purchased from the court, completed (except for the return date), filed with the court, and filing fee paid prior to service of process.

The Demand for Rent (if applicable) and Eviction Notice must have been delivered to the tenant and must have expired prior to the landlord’s filing of the writ.

The court may require an affidavit of ownership/tenancy.

If the writ includes a claim for unpaid rent, a completed statement of the claim and affidavit of damages must accompany the writ to be served upon the tenant. This form will be provided at the time of the purchase of the writ at no extra charge.

It is the responsibility of the landlord to deliver the completed writ and accompanying affidavit of damages and statement of claim (if applicable) to the sheriff for service upon the tenant. With the sheriff's assistance the return date on the writ will be completed. Once service upon the tenant has been made, the landlord must file the return of service with the court.

Upon completion of the court action, should the court grant a Writ of Possession to the landlord, the writ will only be issued upon the filing of a completed military affidavit. This form may be obtained from the clerk’s office.

Information for Tenants

Tenants who wish to answer to the writ and to be heard at a court hearing should complete an Appearance Form (available at the court) and file it with the court prior to the return date indicated on the writ.

The return date is not the date on which the case will be heard. If the tenant files an appearance with the court, the matter will be set for trial within ten (10) days following the date of the filing of the Appearance Form with the court.

The landlord and tenant are notified by mail of the trial date.

If the tenant fails to respond to the writ by not filing the Appearance Form, a Notice of Default will be issued against the tenant. If the writ contains a claim for unpaid rent, a judgment for that amount may be entered against the tenant.

If the tenant fails to appear at the scheduled trial, judgment may be rendered for the landlord. If the writ contains a claim for unpaid rent, a judgment for that amount may be entered against the tenant.

For further information regarding tenant rights see the New Hampshire Legal Aid website:  http://www.nhlegalaid.org/self-help-guides/housing/evictions

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