The LARC Advocate
“We stand alone, together.”
A monthly newsletter from
Issue 15 | MAY 2021
Bart sniffing the fresh spring breeze.
In this issue:
If you are a NH resident who cannot pay your rent and utility bills due to the COVID -19 pandemic, a new rental assistance program may be able to help. Apply to see if you are eligible. Apply through your Community Action Partnership (CAP) at the link below.
- Funds can cover current and past due rent, as well as utility and home energy costs for eligible households.
- This assistance is available retroactive to April 1, 2020 through the date of application, and the applicant may also receive assistance for these same expenses going forward.
- Households may receive assistance for a total of 12 months.
- Payments will be provided directly to the landlord or utility provider on behalf of the household. Landlords, with the tenant’s permission, may apply for assistance on behalf of their tenant.
- This program is only for eligible renters and landlords, not homeowners, per federal rules.
To be eligible, at least one person in the household:
- must qualify for unemployment benefits, had their income reduced,
- have had significant costs, or
- had other financial hardship due to COVID-19.
- The household must also be at risk for homelessness and
- meet certain income requirements.
Go directly to the CAP website to apply.
In early April, FEMA began providing financial assistance for funeral expenses for COVID-related deaths. This nationwide assistance is for families who incurred eligible funeral expenses after January 20, 2020. For more information and eligibility criteria, view the COVID-19 funeral assistance program webpage.
Question: Can a creditor who wins a lawsuit against me force me to pay if my only source of income is social security disability?
Answer: No! That subsidy is judgment proof, according to 42 USC 407.
In our December 2020 issue, LARC announced a new tool for the NH Legal Aid website that creates documents. The program creates a letter or court document based on your answers to a set of questions. You simply download or email the final document, instructions, and some information about what comes next.
The first two programs created:
- a letter to a debt collector asking them to stop contacting you and
- a letter to a prior landlord asking them to return your security deposit.
Our new one creates:
- a letter that tells a creditor or debt collector that your income and belongings are protected and cannot be taken to pay a debt.
This makes you judgment proof. If you send this letter, a creditor may still sue you for the money you owe. But if the creditor wins in court, it may be difficult for them to enforce the judgment. A court cannot order you to pay if your income and belongings are protected by New Hampshire law.
Click the links to check out all three programs.
Coming next: create court forms for tenants facing eviction.
The CDC moratorium on nonpayment evictions has been extended to June 30, 2021.
The eviction moratorium puts a hold on the eviction process until after June 30th for evictions based on nonpayment of rent. To qualify for the protections of the moratorium, every adult in the household must give their landlord a signed CDC declaration and meet these five conditions:
- You have used best efforts to obtain all government assistance for rent (For example: you applied to your local welfare office and the NH Emergency Rental Assistance Program)
- You expect you will not earn more than $99,000 in 2021
- You are unable to pay rent due to a substantial loss of household income, loss of hours at work, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses
- You have used best efforts to make partial payments to your landlord if you are able to
- If you are evicted, you would likely be homeless or forced to move into a situation where you would be living in close quarters with others
If you are a tenant who has already given your landlord a CDC declaration then you should not need to give your landlord a new one, but there is no harm in doing so. The new declaration is much clearer and easier to use. Get the updated declaration.
If you have been unable to pay your rent due to a loss of employment or hours at work, you should apply for the NH Emergency Rental Assistance Program as soon as possible.
Last month I spoke to Melissa, a 30-year-old woman from Hampton who faced eviction after she babysat a friend’s dog. Unfortunately, Melissa’s lease prohibited dogs in the unit if they were not service or emotional support dogs. Melissa lost her hearing @ Derry District Court last Friday. She asked the judge for a discretionary stay but was not granted one, even though the landlord’s attorney did not object. Melissa was facing eviction as early as the week of April 12th.
I spoke to Melissa again this morning. I explained that while I did not spot any appealable issues, she still had the right to file a notice of intent to appeal @ Derry District Court. I pointed out that her deadline for filing this notice was 4PM today. I advised that if she continued to pay her rent as it came due, the appeal process would stop the sheriff’s lockout until at least May 2nd. Melissa said she planned to file the notice of intent right away so she could focus all her time and energy on finding a new place. She has been in touch with Community Action program, and they promised her funds to secure a new apartment once she found one.
"This is really, really helpful," Melissa said. "It's still a hard time for me, but your information has made it a lot less stressful. Thank you!"
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: firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Good Client Story” in the subject line.
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