Legislative Update April 13, 2021

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Legislative Update April 13, 2021

Housing Appeals Board Survives as Repeal Fails

By BOB QUINN
Chief Executive Officer, NHAR

House Bill 288, which would have eliminated the new state Housing Appeals Board, has been effectively killed for the year. Over 650 REALTORS responded to NHAR’s Call for Action on the legislation asking the House of Representatives to protect property rights and allow the Board to continue.

Last Friday was “Crossover Day,” which is the deadline for all House bills to go to the Senate and all Senate bills to go to the House. The full House took no action on HB 288 before the deadline, meaning the bill is dead for the session.

Thank you to all members who took the time to respond to the Call for Action.

Allowing evictions for expiration of a lease passes 

House Bill 227, which would adjust the eviction process to allow a landlord to terminate a tenancy when a defined lease period expires without having to prove some other good cause, passed the House last week.

Many assume the end of a written lease permits a landlord to automatically evict a tenant, but that is not the case unless the landlord can show other “good cause.” The legislation provides that written notice that the lease will not be renewed must be given to the tenant at least 30 days prior to the end of the lease term.

Tenants would still be entitled to judicial process prior to any eviction, and the landlord would still have to show cause for an eviction if there is no defined lease term or if the tenant is in hold over status.

NHAR supports the legislation. The bill will have a hearing in the Senate sometime in the next month.

Tiny homes legislation fails again

The idea of mandating that towns allow “tiny homes” as a matter of right in all zoning districts that permit single family dwellings has been debated in the legislature since 2019, when a legislative study commission tried to iron out some concerns raised by building officials and municipalities.

As a result, advocates created language designed to alleviate these concerns, and a new bill was introduced in the Senate last year. However, like so many other bills, the COVID-related closure of the State House meant the bill had to be tabled.

This year, the legislation re-emerged as House Bill 588 and met immediate resistance from some in the House Municipal and County Committee as well as from the New Hampshire Municipal Association. The bill defined tiny houses as structures with “smaller square footage than may be normally permitted by local zoning requirements, and may include single-room structures, and which is built on either a permanent foundation or on a chassis.”

Not surprisingly, some Representatives simply argued that this was a local control issue and voted to kill the bill. Unfortunately, the House of Representatives has frequently used the local control argument to kill bills designed to alleviate the housing crisis.

Though HB 588 is, for all intents and purposes, dead this session, it would be unsurprising to see the issue return in some form next year.

If you have questions regarding these or any other pieces of legislation regarding the 2021 New Hampshire legislative session, please contact New Hampshire REALTORS Chief Executive Officer Bob Quinn by email (bob@nhar.com) or 603-225-5549

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