New Hampshire Legal Aid

Legal Information, Referrals, and Pro Se Assistance

May 2020

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The LARC Advocate

“We stand alone, together.”

A monthly newsletter from

The Legal Advice & Referral Center

Issue 3 | MAY 2020

Bart (above) enjoys hopeful signs of spring.

In this issue:

A QUESTION OF LAW:Child visitation during the pandemic.

A QUESTION OF LAW:How to receive the Economic Stimulus Check if did not file a tax return.

News and Information for the Low-Income Community

Good Client Story

 

A QUESTION OF LAW: Child visitation during the pandemic.

Q. My child’s father has weekend visitation coming up and I don’t think he is following the Covid-19 safety protocols. Can I refuse to let him have the child?

A. While there is no ruling statutory or case law as yet on this issue, generally, both parties to a parenting plan are expected to follow the terms of the parenting plan unless or until the plan is modified by the court. If you believe the other parent is placing your child in imminent danger of irreparable harm, you can file for emergency orders asking the court to modify the parenting plan so as to protect the child. As always, if you have concerns related to this issue, you should contact LARC to speak to a family law advocate.

 

A QUESTION OF LAW: How to receive the Economic Stimulus Check if you did not file a tax return.

Q. I didn’t make enough money to file a tax return in either 2018 or 2019. How will the IRS know where to send my Economic Stimulus check?

A. If you were not required to file a tax return in 2018 and 2019 and you do not receive Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or survivor benefits, Veteran’s benefits or Railroad Retirement benefits, then you can use the "Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here" application found on the IRS.gov website at: //www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here

Also, SSI recipients who have not filed returns for the 2018 or 2019 tax years and who do have a child dependent under age 17 must go to the IRS’s non-filer online tool by Tuesday, May 5th and provide information about their child dependents. If they miss the deadline, they will need to wait until 2021 and claim the dependent payment when filing their 2020 tax return. Note that only the dependent payment is affected, as these individuals will still receive the $1,200 payment automatically even if they do not provide information on their dependents by May 5th.

The above information is not a complete guide to the law. It is meant to serve as an aid in assessing possible options in the event of an eviction, but is not meant to replace the services of a lawyer. Be advised that changes in the law affecting the rights of landlords and tenants could occur anytime.

 

NEWS AND INFORMATION FOR THE LOW-INCOME COMMUNITY

Free Legal Advice and Referrals:

LARC is an essential service and remains open during the State of Emergency. We can advise low-income people of their legal rights during this confusing time. Have them call 800-639-5290 between 9 AM and 3 PM weekdays, or apply online at anytime. LARC gives free legal advice by telephone.

LARC’s Walk-In Policy during Pandemic

The Concord office at 15 Green Street has a reduced staff while most of the staff works remotely.

If you MUST physically come to the office, wear a face mask or similar protective covering at all times. Staff members will stay at least 6 feet from you while you are here.

If you need immediate legal advice, you may have to stay in the reception area and use your telephone to speak to an attorney or advocate.

These measures are necessary to lessen the chance that you or LARC staff will spread the COVID 19 virus.

Foreclosure Moratorium:

NH Governor Sununu issued Emergency Order #4 placing a moratorium on all foreclosures until the emergency is over. Read the Order.

LARC’s Foreclosure Relief Project: 877-399-9995

Social Services:

To connect your clients or patients with social services for help with food, housing, transportation and more, enter their zip code on Aunt Bertha’s  website .

Community Action Programs receive extra funds: Short-Term Rental Assistance at The Local Community Action Agency

New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority has made an extra $200,000 available to its Emergency Housing Program. Local Community Action Agencies will be in charge of distributing that money to folks in need of short-term rental assistance around the state. If you have a client or patient behind on rent and under threat of eviction, encourage that person to:

  • Apply for rental assistance at Town or City welfare office.
  • If denied assistance at Town or City welfare, contact nearest Community Action Agency. Call NH Helpline at 2-1-1 for phone number to nearest Community Action Agency.
  • To challenge Town or City welfare office’s denial of rental assistance, contact New Hampshire Legal Assistance at 1-800-921-1115, ext 4.

 

GOOD CLIENT STORY

“Hope,” a 22-year-old woman, was renting a room in a rooming house in Nashua with her boyfriend. Community Action helped them financially when they moved in this past January. The rented room was Hope’s first real home base since leaving home at 17.

The couple fell behind in rent when COVID-19 hit and her boyfriend’s hours at work were cut. The rooming house manager threatened them with immediate ejection.

The Attorney General and New Hampshire Legal Assistance referred Hope to LARC.

LARC told Hope some basic facts about renter’s rights in a rooming house: 1. People residing in rooming houses for less than 90 days have no tenant rights, are not protected by the Governor’s statewide moratorium on evictions, and could be ejected on the spot for any reason. 2. Residents gain tenant status if they remain in the same room for at least 90 consecutive days.

Hope was just 5 days short of 90 days. On her 90th day, she would be protected as a tenant under the Governor’s moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent during NH’s State of Emergency. When LARC reviewed Hope’s papers from Community Action, it saw that the manager’s signature was on rental vouchers issued in January. These vouchers identified Hope as a tenant. LARC advised Hope to tell the manager that his signature had designated her as a tenant who was now protected by the Governor’s moratorium on non-payment evictions during the pandemic. LARC gave advice about paperwork she could file at court to immediately reverse a lockout if the manager followed through on his earlier threat.

Hope presented her “case” to the manager and the couple was not ejected. In fact, she and the manager worked out a reasonable payment plan. LARC stayed in touch with Hope until she reached the 90th day of renting the room, which clearly established a tenancy that no one could dispute.

If you know someone who had a good outcome in 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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