Eviction aid held at a courthouse

New Hampshire Public Radio
Published: 9/3/2021 4:57:42 PM

Tenants and landlords with pending eviction cases in Manchester will be able to get in-person help with emergency rental assistance this week, as part of a new push to get the word out about the program after the U.S. Supreme Court ended the Biden administration’s latest eviction moratorium last week.

Representatives from Southern New Hampshire Services will be at the Manchester Circuit Court on Sept. 7. According to a press release from the New Hampshire Judicial Branch, “many cases scheduled for those dates were previously put on hold by the CDC eviction moratorium.”

Southern New Hampshire Services serves residents of Hillsborough and Rockingham Counties. People who live in other counties who are interested in applying for rental assistance will need to apply through their local Community Action Partnership, which can be found at CAPNH.org or by calling 2-1-1.

Officials with the court system said the assistance is targeted to people facing an immediate eviction hearing. People should not come to the courthouse solely to receive rental assistance.

The goal of the in-person support at the courthouse is to make it possible for landlords and tenants to start new applications for rental assistance or complete pending applications on the spot to avoid eviction. In some cases, court officials said landlords and tenants could even receive on-the-spot approval for emergency rental assistance, if they have all of the required paperwork.

Representatives from Southern New Hampshire Services will also be able to verify the status of pending applications at the courthouse, so that tenants and landlords can provide that information to the judge overseeing their eviction cases.

For now, this program is limited to Manchester, but the court system and Community Action Programs in other regions of the state are exploring the possibility of expanding this kind of in-person assistance elsewhere in light of the end of the federal eviction ban.

Unlike previous iterations of the federal eviction ban, this one applied in areas experiencing “substantial” or “high” levels of COVID-19 transmission. If it were still in effect, it would cover all of New Hampshire based on current COVID-19 transmission levels.

Circuit Court Administrative Judge David King said the court system “strongly encourages” landlords and tenants to seek out rental assistance before initiating an eviction case, but there can be hurdles to completing that process.

“Providing in-person assistance at our busiest courthouse as we hear cases affected by the moratorium will help ensure that as many landlords and tenants as possible can access the assistance they need,” King said.

What to bring to court if you need help with emergency rental assistance:

■ Tenants should bring current documents verifying their income like 2020 tax forms, the last month of paystubs or a benefit determination letter from WIC, SNAP or another public benefit program. Tenants can also self-certify their income on their rental application. If applying for utility assistance, also bring copies of current utility bills.

■ Landlords should bring a valid W-9 for payment, a lease agreement or tenant-at-will form, and a rent ledger or rent arrearage form. Some of those forms will be available at the court.

To learn more about the New Hampshire Emergency Rental Assistance Program, visit CAPNH.org or call 2-1-1. For questions about a pending eviction case, contact the New Hampshire Court Information Center at 1-855-212-1234. For legal advice or support, you can also contact 603 Legal Aid at 1-800-639-5290.

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.

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