A monthly newsletter from 603 Legal Aid
Issue 4 | September 2021
In this issue:
On August 26, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the CDC moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent. NH tenants who had protection from nonpayment evictions are again vulnerable to being made homeless.
The Supreme Court ruled that the CDC exceeded its authority with its temporary ban. The Supreme Court added: "If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it."
603 Legal Aid urges any tenant behind on rent to apply immediately for housing relief funds @ their Community Action Program (CAP). Here is the link to CAP’s website to begin the online application process: https://www.capnh.org/covid-lookup-app.
603 Legal Aid invites any tenant who has been served with an eviction notice or already has an eviction pending @ court to call us or apply online for help. Our toll-free phone# is: 1-800-639-5290. Our website address is: www.NHlegalaid.org.
A sheriff is the only person with the legal authority to carry out a judge’s eviction order (called the Writ of Possession). A tenant who is no longer protected by the CDC moratorium is only required to vacate their rental unit when a sheriff orders them to leave.
Anyone who has been made homeless has the right to apply @ their town or city welfare office for emergency shelter. State law – RSA 165 – obligates every town and city to provide such emergency relief to any person in need who applies. Anyone who has already applied for such help with their town and city and has been denied is invited to call 603 Legal Aid for help.
No one can predict whether the eviction moratorium will be reinstated. Stay tuned to the news for any future developments on the eviction moratorium.
Stay up to date on all the changes at NH Legal Aid’s website’s special COVID page.
Question: I want to bring an action into court, but I cannot afford the court costs and fees. Is there any way for me to still have my case heard by a judge?
Answer: Yes. If you cannot afford the costs and fees required to bring a matter into court, you have right under RSA 499:18-b to ask the court to waive payment of these costs and fees.
499:18-b Waiver of Court Costs and Fees. – Except as otherwise specifically provided by the rules of the court, any person, by reason of poverty, may seek relief from the payment of any fees provided by law which are payable to any court, clerk of court, or sheriff. The court, upon the application of such person, which application may be filed without fee, may, in its discretion, order the payment of such fees waived. In any case in which a person is represented by a legal aid society, a federally funded legal services project, or counsel assigned in accordance with the rules of the court, all filing costs shall be waived by the clerk without the necessity of a court order. Fees for the service of process by sheriffs shall be a charge against the state
603 Legal Aid added to its library of forms and letters. Answer a set of questions and get the form or letter you need with instructions that tell you what to do next and a link to more information about your legal issue. Download, email, or do both to get your final document.
You can create:
- a letter to ask a debt collector to stop contacting you,
- a letter to tell a creditor or debt collector you are judgment proof,
- a letter to ask a former landlord to return your security deposit,
- an Appearance form to file in court for a tenant who is being evicted,
- an Answer and Request for Continuance to file in court for a tenant who is being evicted because they withheld rent,
- a letter to ask your landlord to make repairs or fix a problem in your home.
“Mary” was a 30-year-old woman living with her husband and their 2 small children in an apartment in the Lakes Region. Mary’s husband couldn’t work due to a traumatic brain injury. Mary lost her job in 2020 because of the pandemic. A rental voucher from Community Action Program (CAP) kept Mary current with rent throughout the first half of 2021. But by July, Mary was again behind on rent. Her landlady served an eviction notice for nonpayment.
In August, Mary secured a full-time job which meant she’d eventually get caught up on bills. The landlady, however, had already brought the eviction to court. CAP came to Mary’s aid with another voucher sent to the landlady to cover rent for July, August, & September. But this time the landlady refused CAP’s voucher, telling Mary, “it’s too late” since the eviction notice had long since expired. The landlady said only “cash on the barrel head” would save Mary from eviction.
Mary was just several days away from her eviction hearing when she called 603 Legal Aid. She told 603 her story and said she didn’t know how to defend herself before the judge. 603 advised Mary that the written voucher from CAP was , in the eyes of the law, the same as cash. 603 also advised Mary about a recent change in the law which now allowed tenants to stop a nonpayment eviction – even if the matter was already in court - by paying the landlord all back rent and related fees. 603 explained that while the landlady had the right to refuse CAP’s voucher and make herself poorer, she shouldn’t win the eviction. 603 helped Mary write a motion for the judge which told her story and asked for the eviction to be dismissed.
Mary called 603 a few days later. “My landlady withdrew her eviction after reading my motion. She took the voucher, so my family is safe. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your help!”
If you know someone who had a good outcome in a legal case due to 603 Legal Aid’s help, please share that Good Client Story with us! We would love to share it with our readers. 603 Legal Aid will never use a client’s real name or any facts that could reveal who that client is. Send your Good Client Stories to: firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Good Client Story” in the subject line.
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