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August 2020

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The LARC Advocate

“We stand alone, together.”

 

A monthly newsletter from

the Legal Advice & Referral Center

Issue 6 | AUGUST 2020

 

In this issue:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

LARC’s Bilingual Attorney

A Question of Law: How much notice does a landlord have to give in an eviction notice?

News and Information for the Low-Income Community

Good Client Story

 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

A little help left...

Unemployment remains at its highest levels since the Great Depression, yet the $600 federal pandemic unemployment supplement ran out at the end of July. As Congress debates what the next Coronavirus bill will include, those in need are caught in the middle. Without this $600 benefit the most someone in New Hampshire can get is $427 a week, and most will be receiving much closer to $200 a week or less in benefits. This will lead to other issues for those in our community, such as inability to pay rent, buy groceries, or stay current on bills.

One must keep in mind that plenty of people are still not receiving help! Many are still eligible to receive unemployment benefits where in the past they would not, yet have not applied for unemployment. This includes the self-employed, those without a long work history, or who stayed home to care for children out of school.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program was included in the CARES Act to help those who usually fall through the unemployment safety net. If someone thinks they may be eligible, they should apply immediately as NH Employment Security may be able make their benefits retroactive to previous weeks.

Please consider those in our community who will be losing assistance, along with ;those who may not realize they could be getting help during this time. We want to ensure that all New Hampshire citizens are getting as much as help as they can.​

 

LARC’s Bilingual Attorney

There are only a handful of Spanish-speaking attorneys in NH, and LARC has one of them. LARC’s ability to communicate in Spanish has provided some of the 26,000 Spanish speakers in NH significantly greater access to both legal and social services.

Our bilingual attorney has translated many self-help guides into Spanish. They are on LARC’s website, nhlegalaid.org. He regularly monitors LARC’s “Spanish Line,” where Spanish speakers can leave a message for help and get a timely response. (Dial 603-224-3333 and follow instructions.)

The attorney routinely fields questions about car repos, criminal matters, lawsuits, applying for food stamps and Children’s Medicaid—issues not handled at LARC—and makes the appropriate referrals to organizations that provide that assistance.

In 2019, the attorney spoke to many Puerto Rican residents still sheltering in NH two years after Hurricane Maria devastated the Commonwealth. These Spanish-speaking citizens were both relieved and delighted to talk directly with an experienced attorney who was able to help answer their questions and point them in the right direction. One of these callers told him: “This is God’s work that you do.”

 

A QUESTION OF LAW: How much notice does a landlord have to give in an eviction notice?

Q: How much notice does my landlord have to give me in an eviction notice?

A: If you receive an eviction notice from your landlord, you should first look at the reason for the eviction. If the reason is for nonpayment of rent, then look to see for what months the landlord claims you owe rent. While the normal notice period for nonpayment of rent is just seven days, if the landlord is including rent due at any time between March 27 and June 11, 2020 in the notice, the landlord will need to give you 30 days to pay the rent you owe plus a liquidated damages fee of $15.

Unfortunately, if the only rent you owe accrued either before March 27 or after June 11, or the basis of the eviction is “substantial damage to the premises” or “behavior that adversely affects the health and safety of others,” the landlord can still use a seven day eviction notice.

Under the CARES ACT, if you have subsidized rent or your building is subject to a federally insured mortgage and you are being evicted for nonpayment of rent, then your landlord was not allowed to serve you with an eviction notice before July 25th and he also must give you a 30 day notice.

In any case, if you receive an eviction notice for any reason, please call LARC as soon as possible! Call 800-639-5290 between 9 AM and 1 PM weekdays, or apply online at any time.

The above information is not a complete guide to the >law. It is meant to serve as an aid in assessing possible legal options and is not meant to replace the services of a lawyer. Be advised that changes in the law affecting this subject matter could occur at any time.

 

NEWS AND INFORMATION FOR THE LOW-INCOME COMMUNITY

Free Legal Advice and Referrals:

LARC advises low-income people of their legal rights in non-criminal matters. Call 800-639-5290 between 9 AM and 1 PM weekdays, or apply online at any time. LARC gives free legal advice by telephone and makes referrals to partner agencies: NH Legal Aid and the Pro Bono Program.

Help for those struggling with mortgage payments:

Servicers and other financial institutions have options available for homeowners who are behind on mortgage payments.

Housing counselors can help free-of-charge to explore options for each situation. Call 211 to find a HUD-approved Housing Counselor (just dial 2-1-1). Multilingual assistance and TDD access is also available. For those outside of New Hampshire, call 1-866-444-4211. Or go to the 211 website here.

If foreclosure is imminent, homeowners can apply for free legal advice from LARC’s Foreclosure Relief Project (FRP): leave a message at 877-399-9995 or apply online.

Financial Help is available from CAP’s Housing Assistance Fund:

Apply for financial help at www.capnh.org or call their local CAP agency or call 2-1-1 from any NH phone.

Community Guidance for the COVID-19 crisis from NHLA:

New Hampshire Legal Assistance (NHLA) offers its Community Guidance for the CIVOD-19 crisis on its website, nhla.org. This detailed guide provides up-to-date information on the state and federal supports and programs available to our community as well as links to apply or seek additional information.

We hope you will share this resource with your community and clients: //www.nhla.org/blog/NHLA-Community-Guidance-for-COVID-19-crisis-entry-76

 

GOOD CLIENT STORY

Sue was a 29-year-old woman living with her dog in a rented cabin in northern NH. As Sue put it: “I’m way out in the middle of nowhere.”

Sue called the Legal Advice & Referral Center (LARC) because her landlord threatened in a text to have the police remove her during the upcoming weekend. Sue already found a new apartment, but she couldn’t move in for another couple weeks.

LARC advised Sue that the police did not have the authority to evict her. The landlord, LARC advised, first needed permission from a judge before she would have to leave. LARC then suggested Sue call the local police right away so that no “mistakes” were made that weekend.

When LARC called Sue back a few minutes later, she was ecstatic. The police confirmed they would not remove her. The landlord, they said, had to take her to court and go before a judge. LARC assured Sue she’d be in her new apartment well before the landlord could get her in front of a judge.

“I don’t feel quite so alone anymore,” Sue said. “Thank you for helping me.”

If you know someone who had a good outcome with a legal case due to LARC’s help, please share that Good Client Story with us! We would love to share it with our readers. LARC will never use a client’s real name or any facts that could reveal who that client is. Send your Good Client Stories to: webmaster@larcnh.org and put “Good Client Story” in the subject line.

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