8 Basics of New Hampshire's Security Deposit Law

Limits, Exemptions and Required Notice

Picture of Security Deposit Rights in New Hampshire
••• Philip Case Cohen / Getty Images

New Hampshire landlords and tenants have certain rights when it comes to the security deposit. It is important to understand these basic rules if you are renting in the state. Here are eight common questions about security deposits in New Hampshire.

8 Basic Questions About Security Deposits in New Hampshire:

  1. Limit- One Month's Rent
  2. Exemptions- Owner-Occupied With Five or Fewer Units
  3. Storing Deposit- Separate Account. Interest If Holding for More Than a Year
  4. Notice After Receipt- Yes
  5. Reasons to Keep Deposit- Unpaid Rent, Unpaid Taxes, Damage, Breaches to Lease
  6. Walk-Through Inspection- Not Required
  7. Returning Deposit- 30 Days of Move-Out
  8. Selling Property- Transfer Deposits to New Owner

Is There a Security Deposit Limit in New Hampshire?

Yes. In New Hampshire, a landlord cannot collect more than one month's rent from a tenant as a security deposit. For landlords who own rental property that is considered a “shared facility,” such as a boarding house, there is no limit on the security deposit amount.

Is Anyone Exempt From Following These Security Deposit Rules?

Yes. 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, if any individual unit has a tenant who is 60 years or older, the statewide security rules apply to that tenant and that unit.

Storing the Security Deposit in New Hampshire

Landlords must store tenants’ security deposits:

  • 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.
  • The landlord can keep all tenants’ security deposits 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.
  • Tenant Request:
    • If a tenant requests, a New Hampshire landlord must provide the tenant with the details of how their security deposit is being stored including:
      • The amount of deposit.
      • Interest rate.
      • Name of the banking institution.
      • Address of banking institution and account number.
      • The landlord must also allow the tenant to examine his or her security deposit records at his or her request.

    Written Notice After Receipt of Security Deposit in New Hampshire

    The form of payment the tenant uses as the security deposit will determine if the landlord must provide the tenant with a written receipt.

    • Yes:

    Unless the security deposit is paid by check, the landlord must provide the tenant with a written receipt after receiving the security deposit. This receipt must state:

    • The 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.
    • No:

    The landlord is not required to provide the tenant with a written receipt after receiving the tenant’s security deposit 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 still notify the tenant in writing that he or she must let the landlord know in writing if any repairs need to be made to the rental unit within 5 days of his or her move in.

    Reasons for Keeping a Security Deposit in New Hampshire

    In New Hampshire, a landlord can retain all or a portion of a tenant’s security deposit for the following reasons:

    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.

    Returning a Tenant’s Security Deposit in New Hampshire

    • 30 Days:

    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.

    • Written Notice:

    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.
    • Wrongful Withholding:

    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,
    • Six Months:

    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.

    What Happens to the Security Deposit If You Sell Your 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.

    What Is New Hampshire's Security Deposit Law?

    For the original text of the security deposit law in the state of New Hampshire, please see New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated §§ 540-A:5 to A:8 and 540-B:10.