Court Partners with Community Action Partnership Agency to Bring Rental Assistance Program into Manchester Circuit Court
Southern New Hampshire Services will be at court on September 2, 3 and 7 to assist landlords and tenants whose cases were previously paused by the CDC eviction moratorium.
CONCORD, NH — In response to the end of the CDC moratorium on certain evictions, the New Hampshire Circuit Court is expanding its collaboration with the New Hampshire Emergency Rental Assistance Program (NHERAP). The Manchester Circuit Court will host representatives from Southern New Hampshire Services to process applications and answer questions about rental assistance on September 2, 3 and 7, 2021. Many cases scheduled for those dates were previously put on hold by the CDC eviction moratorium.
NHERAP is a federally funded rental assistance program which can pay for up to fifteen months of back and future rent, utilities and other housing related expenses for eligible tenants. Landlords can start the application for assistance on behalf of tenants, and are paid directly by NHERAP if the tenant is approved. The state’s five Community Action Partnership (CAP) agencies accept and process applications for assistance. Applications can be submitted at CAPNH.org. Program resources are expected to be available through at least 2022.
Over the past several months, the Circuit Court has been collaborating closely with New Hampshire Housing, which oversees the program, the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery, and the CAP agencies to spread the word about NHERAP and encourage landlords and tenants to apply for aid. The Court has taken a number of steps, including changing forms to provide notice about the program, distributing informational post cards, and training judges and staff to encourage tenants to use the program, to increase awareness about NHERAP.
Circuit Court Administrative Judge David King explained the Court’s move to provide in person assistance, stating, “The Court strongly encourages landlords and tenants to work together and apply online for assistance before an eviction case is even filed, but we know that some litigants face barriers to completing an online application. 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.”
Donnalee Lozeau, Executive Director of Southern New Hampshire Services, noted, “This partnership with the Court will help ensure stable housing for the people we serve and further our goal of maintaining affordable housing in our communities by supporting landlords and tenants.”
At the courthouse, landlords and tenants will be able to start applications for rental assistance, provide documents necessary to complete existing applications, get updates on application status, and ask questions about the program. Landlords and tenants who bring all the required documentation to Court may even be able to get approved for assistance on the spot. While a pending NHERAP application does not automatically halt an eviction, the Court strongly encourages landlords and tenants who are awaiting rental assistance to notify the Court and request additional time to complete the application or make agreements to avoid eviction if rental assistance is approved. Representatives from Southern New Hampshire Services will provide written verification of application status for landlord and tenants to provide to the judge.
Landlords and tenants who wish to complete an application at Court should bring the following documents with them (if available):
Income verification (2020 tax forms; or last month of paystubs; or benefit determination letter for WIC, SNAP, etc.) OR Tenants may self-certify income on the application
A valid W-9 for payment (available at court)
Current utility bills (if utility assistance is also needed)
Lease agreement OR tenant-at-will form (available at court) if no lease is in place
Rent ledger OR rent arrearage form (available at court)
Initially, in person assistance is only scheduled at Manchester Circuit Court on September 2, 3 and 7. However, the Court and the CAPs are working on expanding in-person assistance to other locations on a regular schedule in order to reach as many landlords and tenants as possible.
To learn more about NHERAP and to start an application, landlords and tenants in Rockingham and Hillsborough Counties can go directly to the Southern New Hampshire Services website, SNHS.org. Landlords and tenants in other counties can go to CAPNH.org or call 2-1-1 to be connected to their local Community Action Partnership agency, which will process their application.
Landlords and tenants with questions about their specific case can call the Court’s Information Center at 1-855-212-1234. For more information about landlord and tenant cases generally, parties can visit the Circuit Court’s landlord and tenant website at: https://www.courts.state.nh.us/district/landlord.htm
Low-income individuals who may need legal advice or assistance should contact 603 Legal Aid at: https://nhlegalaid.org/get-help or 1-800-639-5290 (weekdays, 9 AM – 1 PM).