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December 2021

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603 Legal Aid The Advocate

A monthly newsletter from 603 Legal Aid

Issue 7 |  December 2021 

See the photo of Bart the dog.

In this issue:

Help for homeowners facing foreclosure

Non-payment evictions: get free legal help at Manchester District Court

Get help with rent and utility bills

A question of law: Can I be evicted in winter?

603 Legal Aid’s new address

Good client story

Who we are:

603 Legal Aid helps NH’s low-income people by providing free legal advice and information by telephone, or a referral to another program for legal help. If you know someone who needs help with a non-criminal legal problem, have them contact 603 Legal Aid.

603 Legal Aid is the starting point to find reliable legal services in NH. Learn more about NH legal aid and the critical role 603 Legal Aid plays. Watch a short video from the NH Judicial Branch website.

Be sure to stay updated at NH Legal Aid’s website for LEGAL ISSUES DURING COVID-19 CRISIS.

603 Legal Aid can give legal advice about benefits, housing, and family problems such as

  • eviction
  • custody of a child
  • divorce
  • social security benefits
  • foreclosure

603 Legal Aid can refer people to an attorney to resolve

  • immigration problems,
  • debt collection issues, or
  • to expunge a conviction from their record

603 Legal Aid is here to help the people you serve. We want to serve them, too, by advising them of their legal rights—especially during these uncertain times.

Encourage your clients to call us, or you or your client can apply for legal help from our website.

  • Call 1-800-639-5290 or (603) 224-3333 from 9 AM – 1 PM weekdays,
  • Apply anytime online at NHlegalaid.org,
  • Foreclosure issues call 877-399-9995.

Help for homeowners facing foreclosure

If you have a client or patient facing foreclosure, direct them to call the Foreclosure Relief Project at 603 Legal Aid. We can provide legal advice and referrals to other services. Either call 877-399-9995 and leave a message or apply online at NHlegalaid.org.

Free legal help with non-payment evictions at Manchester District Court

Manchester District Court will have resources at the courthouse to help tenants in nonpayment of rent eviction cases on certain days for the rest of the year (see schedule below). On these dates and times, a Community Action Program representative, and attorneys from New Hampshire Legal Assistance and 603 Legal Aid will be helping tenants apply for rental assistance and, if needed, preparing the tenants to ask the landlord and the court for more time to have their applications for rental assistance processed.

The legal aid attorneys will do a brief intake with the tenant to assess their case and eligibility for this help. Attorneys may be able to help with motions to continue or give legal advice on how tenants can proceed on their own.

Tenants are always encouraged to contact 603 Legal Aid before their hearing to get advice on their rights and defenses or to possibly be referred to an attorney. Tenants are also reminded to visit www.capnh.org if they need help paying rent.

CAP representatives and legal aid attorneys will be at the Manchester District Courthouse on the following dates and times:

December 7

Tuesday

1:00 – 4:00

December 16  

Thursday

8:30 – 12:00

December 23

Thursday

8:30 – 12:00

December 30  

Thursday

8:30 – 12:00

Get help with rent and utility bills from NH Emergency Rental Assistance Program (NHERAP)

If you are a NH resident who cannot pay your rent and utility bills due to the COVID -19 pandemic, you may be eligible for help. 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 to the program’s website: www.NHHFA.org/emergency-rental-assistance or read the fact sheet:  https://www.nhhfa.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/NHERAP-FAQ-web.pdf

Go directly to the CAP website at https://www.capnh.org/ to apply.

**Rockingham’s Rental Assistance Program: Rockingham County received additional federal funding to establish a rental assistance program. The eligibility requirements and the application are the same as the NH Emergency Rental Assistance Program being administered through the Community Action Programs. Learn more about it at: http://rockinghamcountynh.org/rent/

A question of law: Can I be evicted in winter?

Q. I have small children living with me. Can I be evicted from my apartment during the winter months?

A. Yes. There is no law in New Hampshire that prohibits a landlord from evicting a tenant during the wintertime, regardless of the tenant’s age.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If a tenant loses an eviction judgment, the tenant may give the judge any compelling reason why more time should be granted before the eviction is carried out. This is called a discretionary stay. A judge has the authority to grant a tenant up to 3 months in a discretionary stay. The tenant would owe rent to the landlord for whatever discretionary stay period that is granted.

603 Legal Aid’s new address

On November 1, 2021, 603 Legal Aid moved to 93 N. State Street, Concord, NH 03301. The new space accommodates a larger staff to better serve our clients.

Good client story

Sandra, a 38-year-old single mom, resides in a 12-unit apartment building in Derry, NH. After her significant other moved out of the apartment, Sandra received an eviction notice and a Writ of Summons. Sandra had no place to move to and was scared that she could end up homeless. Eventually, Sandra got the phone number to 603 Legal Aid and connected with a housing advocate.

603 reviewed Sandra’s paperwork and noticed that neither she nor her child were named either specifically or included as “all other occupants.” 603 drafted a motion asking the court to take judicial notice of the fact that Sandra was not a party to the eviction and any eviction order issued by the Court in this action would not affect her tenancy. 603 also helped Sandra file a special appearance along with the motion.

The court scheduled a hearing, and because Sandra’s ex-boyfriend failed to file an appearance by the return date, he was found in default and judgment was entered against him. However, the court also issued an order granting the relief requested in Sandra’s motion meaning that while her ex-boyfriend was evicted, Sandra was not – her tenancy remained intact.

Sandra told 603 “I don’t know what I would have done without 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: webmaster@603legalaid.org   and put “Good Client Story” in the subject line.

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Equal justice for all should not depend on whether you can afford it. Make a difference for New Hampshire’s most vulnerable citizens -- donate to the New Hampshire Campaign for Legal Services. Your donation will provide vital support to 603 Legal Aid and New Hampshire Legal Assistance. Help us ensure that New Hampshire's poor and elderly have a place to turn when they need legal help.

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