Tenants' Security Deposit Rights in New Hampshire
Rules to Follow and Exceptions
Landlords in New Hampshire have the right to collect a security deposit from their tenants.There are certain rules landlords and tenants must follow when it comes to these deposits. Here are the basics every landlord and tenant should know.
New Hampshire Security Deposit Limit
Landlords in New Hampshire cannot collect more than one month's rent from a tenant as a security deposit. Landlords who own rental property that is considered a “shared facility,” such as a boarding house, are exempt from following this rule and can charge any security deposit amount they want.
Are Any Landlords Exempt From These Laws?
In New Hampshire, landlords who live in their property, known as owner-occupied properties, with five or fewer units, do not have to follow New Hampshire’s statewide security deposit rules. However, the landlord will still have to follow the statewide security deposit rules for any unit that has a tenant who is 60 years or older.
Rules for Storing Tenant's Security Deposit in New Hampshire
- Security deposits must be stored in an account in a bank or financial institution that does business in the state of New Hampshire.
- The security deposits must be kept separate from the personal funds of the landlord.
- All tenants’ security deposits can be kept in the same account.
- Security deposits that are held for one year or longer, must earn interest at a rate equal to the interest rate on savings accounts in New Hampshire.
- At a tenant's request, the landlord must provide the tenant with the following information:
- Security deposit amount.
- Interest rate.
- Name of bank.
- Address of bank.
- Account number.
- The landlord must also allow the tenant to examine his or her security deposit records.
Is a Security Deposit Receipt Required?
Landlords in New Hampshire may be required to provide tenants with a security deposit receipt depending on the form of payment they used.
Security Deposit Receipt Required:
The landlord must provide the tenant with a written receipt after receiving the security deposit, unless the security deposit is paid by check. This receipt must state:
- Amount of security deposit received.
- Where the deposit is being stored.
- That the tenant should alert the landlord of any items in the property that are in need of repair by making a note on the receipt or by sending a separate notice to the landlord.
- The tenant must do this within five days of moving into the unit.
Security Deposit Receipt Not Required:
The landlord is not required to provide the tenant with a written receipt if the tenant has paid the security deposit using any form of a check, including:
- Personal check,
- Bank check,
- Government check
- Nonprofit check.
The landlord must notify the tenant in writing that, within five days of moving in, the tenant must let the landlord know if there are any repairs that need to be made to the rental.
Reasons to Deduct Money From Security Deposit
In New Hampshire, a landlord can deduct money from the tenant’s security deposit for the following reasons:
- Unpaid Rent.
- Unpaid Taxes.
- Damages in Excess of Normal Wear and Tear.
- Other Breaches to the Lease Agreement.
Is a Walk Through Inspection Required in New Hampshire?
No. New Hampshire landlords are not required to perform a walk-through inspection when a tenant moves out of a rental unit.
30 Days to Return Security Deposit in New Hampshire
A landlord must return the portion of the tenant’s security deposit that is owed to the tenant, along with any accrued interest, within 30 days of tenant move-out. This deposit should be mailed via certified mail to the last known address of the tenant.
If the landlord has taken any deductions from the security deposit, the landlord must include a written itemized list of these deductions. The list must include:
- The reason for the deduction.
- The amount of the deduction.
- Any evidence, such as receipts or repair estimates.
The tenant could be awarded up to two times the amount of the security deposit, plus reasonable court costs and attorney’s fees if:
- Landlord does not return the tenant’s security deposit within 30 days.
- Landlord does not provide a written itemized statement if necessary.
- Landlord wrongfully withholds any portion of the tenant’s security deposit,
If a landlord has made reasonable attempt to return the portion of the security deposit that is owed back to the tenant, and the tenant makes no claim on the deposit, after six months, it becomes the property of the landlord.
Transfer Security Deposits When Selling Property
If you sell your property or the property otherwise changes hands, you must transfer all tenants’ security deposits to the new owner of the property. You must send the tenants a certified mailing that alerts them that their security deposit has been transferred, along with the name and contact information for the new owner.