Legislative Update May 14, 2021

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Legislative Update May 14, 2021

‘End of lease’ legislation lives on

Chief Executive Officer

Last week, the Senate Commerce Committee voted 4-1 to kill House Bill 227, which would make the expiration of a lease a cause for evicting a tenant. This week, the full Senate rejected that recommendation and voted to “re-refer” the bill back to the Commerce Committee.

While that means it is very unlikely the bill will pass in 2021, the Commerce Committee will likely take the bill up for further discussion this fall.

Under current state law (RSA 540:2), a landlord must provide “good cause” to evict, and the New Hampshire Supreme Court has ruled that the end of the contractual lease term is not considered good cause. HB 227 would specifically make the end of a lease a reason to terminate a tenancy.

Opponents of the bill argued that the state should not make it easier to evict tenants as the end of national eviction moratorium approaches.

The House of Representatives already passed House Bill 227 last month. NHAR supports the bill.

Remote notarization legislation moves forward,
but with a problematic amendment

The good news is that Senate Bill 134, which contains statutory authority for remote notarizations to continue beyond the end of the state emergency order, has passed out of the House Judiciary committee with an Ought to Pass recommendation of 16-4. The full House will vote on the bill in early June.

Unfortunately, the Judiciary Committee amended the bill and consequently altered the definition of “electronic signatures,” which will make remote notarization challenging, if not impossible.

A coalition of organizations, including the Realtors, mortgage bankers, attorneys, bankers and title companies, will push to resolve the problem in a Committee of Conference. A Committee of Conference is formed when the House and Senate pass different versions of the same bill.

Further complicating the issue is that SB 134 is an omnibus piece of legislation, dealing with such diverse issues as liability when damaging a highway, and state authorization to grow hemp. Therefore, the debate on the House floor could become confusing and complicated.

The current remote notarization authorized by the Governor’s emergency order is still in place.

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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