New Hampshire Legal Assistance

Helping to balance the scales of justice for everyone since 1971.

NHLA guidance on new CDC eviction ban

Posted Sep 03, 2020

Many Granite Staters who are behind on rent will be able to avoid homelessness under a new federal ban on evictions. But the protection from eviction is only temporary as the moratorium ends on Dec. 31. Until then tenants should apply for rental assistance through their local Community Action Program and/or their town welfare office, and pay as much of their rent as possible. When the moratorium ends, they will be required to pay all overdue rent and possibly associated penalties, fees, or interest as well.

To qualify, every adult in the home must certify in writing to their landlord that they have nowhere else to live; have applied for all available government assistance; and cannot afford their rent because of job loss, reduced hours, loss of household income, or extraordinarily costly medical expenses.

“The CDC’s action broadly but temporarily protects tenants who have had their lives upended by the health crisis and subsequent economic shutdowns. In halting evictions, the order will help many people stay in their homes, not exposed to COVID-19 in homeless shelters or on the street,” said Elliott Berry, NHLA Housing Justice Project Co-Director. “However, this does not absolve tenants from paying rent, and does not address what will happen to people on January 1, when their unpaid rent is due. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that tenants who are having trouble paying their rent pay as much as they can afford and apply for rental assistance as soon as possible.”

Tenants who need housing assistance should apply to the Housing Relief Fund through capnh.org and at their local city or town welfare office. We advise tenants to keep a copy of the certification form they provide their landlord and all applications for assistance as well as any denials of assistance.

The new moratorium, which begins Sept. 4, does not require that tenants’ financial challenges be directly caused by COVID-19. The certification form tenants must sign and give to their landlords is available on NH Legal Assistance’s homepage, nhla.org, under "Latest News."

If you receive an eviction notice, you may qualify for free legal aid. An application, and a library of self-help resources, are available at nhlegalaid.org. You can also apply by phone at 1-800-639-5290.