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In January 1776 New Hampshire became the first of the British North American colonies to establish a government independent of Great Britain's authority, although it did not declare its independence at the time. Six months later, it became one of the original 13 states that founded the United States of America, and in June 1788 it was the ninth state to ratify the United States Constitution, bringing that document into effect. New Hampshire was the first U.S. state to have its own state constitution.
How to Screen a Tenant in New Hampshire
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Step 1: Know Your Rights & Responsibilities
Landlords and property managers are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF] (FCRA) during the tenant screening process. Additionally, New Hampshire has laws that affect the tenant screening process. You can find the current New Hampshire Housing Codes on the New Hampshire State Legislature website. If you are finding the formalities of the state code daunting, you might want to check out these friendlier sites:
In 2014 A New Law Regarding Bed Bugs: The new New Hampshire law requires landlords to investigate a report of a bed bug infestation within seven days. "The landlord is responsible for the expense of the remediation but can recover some of that expense if indeed it's shown that the tenant was responsible for bringing the bud bugs into the building." The law also outlines the rights of tenants and landlords.
Step 2: Required Forms & Disclosures
Tip: before you rent for the first time, consider hiring a lawyer to review all of the documents you will use during the application and rental process to ensure that you are protected to the fullest extent of the law.
Rental Application [PDF] (this must be completed in full by the applicant prior to screening)
Lease Agreement (written), containing or attaching the following information:
Owner/Agent Identity - this should include name and address, and if the owner/agent is out-of-state it must include contact information for a resident of the COUNTY in which the rental is located that can act as an agent for the purposes of serving notices and process.
Security Deposit - this must include the amount of the deposit and the conditions under which some or all of the deposit may be withheld. It must also include the name and banking institution holding the deposit.
Non-refundable Fees - explicitly describe any non-refundable fees, and state clearly that they are non-refundable.
Fire Protection & Safety Information: You must disclose the available fire protection and safety information specific to the unit you are renting, including smoking policy, evacuation plans, and who to notify in case of emergency.
Move-In Checklist: New Hampshire landlords must provide tenants with a move-in checklist. Landlords must inform tenants that if tenant finds any conditions in the rental in need of repair, tenant may note them on the security deposit receipt or other writing. Not a true checklist. (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. 540-A:6)
Security Deposit: In New Hampshire, unless a tenant has paid the deposit by personal or bank check, or by a check issued by a government agency, landlord must provide a receipt stating the amount of the deposit and the institution where it will be held. Regardless of whether a receipt is required, landlord must inform tenant that if tenant finds any conditions in the rental in need of repair, tenant may note them on the receipt or other written instrument, and return either within five days. (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. 540-A:5 to 540-A:8 and 540-B:10)
Criminal, OFAC/Patriot Act & Sex Offender Records - A nationwide search is always performed. These jurisdictions specifically are available in New Hampshire: NH Department Of Corrections, NH Sex Offender Registry.
Eviction Records - records are available from the following counties: Belknap, Carroll, Cheshire, Coos, Grafton, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, Strafford, Sullivan.
Bankruptcies, Liens & Judgments - records are available from the following counties: Belknap, Carroll, Cheshire, Coos, Grafton, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, Strafford, Sullivan.
Social Security Number validation, Death Index, credit checks, previous addresses, alias names, and the Rent Check Advisor include all information available regardless of location.