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Evictions increased in NH in 2022 compared to the previous year

Vacancy rates in New Hampshire are down in all counties, but some have lost available housing
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Vacancy rates in New Hampshire are down in all counties, but some have lost available housing

Landlord-tenant cases in New Hampshire spiked at the end of 2022, after the state’s emergency rental assistance program stopped accepting new applications, and housing rights advocates are concerned this trend could continue into 2023.

According to data released by the New Hampshire Judicial Branch, evictions increased by 13% between 2021 and 2022, and the number of landlord-tenant cases filed in that same time frame increased by 36%.

Though these annual figures remain below pre-pandemic averages, tenants’ rights advocates say the end of the federally funded New Hampshire Emergency Rental Assistance Program in October prompted a spike in the number of eviction cases they handled at the close of the year. The rental assistance program stopped accepting new applications due to a lack of ongoing federal funding.

“Without that federally funded program that can promise landlords payments, landlords are just moving forward with evictions,” said Marta Hurgin, legal director of 603 Legal Aid.

Hurgin said the rise in evictions — combined with the state's growing homelessness crisis, inflated market prices and low vacancy rate — illustrates the severity of the housing crisis here.

“I don’t think it’s a secret that housing in New Hampshire is at an inflection point,” she said. “I think that there will need to be serious government movement, whether that’s local, state or federal, to provide more safe, affordable housing in New Hampshire – because there’s just not enough of it available.”

The emergency rental assistance program helped more than 23,000 families in the state stay in their homes since it launched in March of 2021.

Hurgin said the financial assistance program made landlords more open to eviction diversion programs, and meeting with tenants and legal aid groups to resolve outstanding payments.

“With the end of that program, there just isn't that collaboration,” she said. “And it really has been a sharp contrast from the end of October, when that program pretty suddenly ended. The court cases, the court days have just become a lot more stressful, and we're seeing a lot less positive outcomes very starkly from when that program ended.”

Hurgin said the primary way to resolve the housing crisis is for the state to create more affordable housing options.

“Until rents drop to what their actual market value is and are no longer inflated beyond what people can afford or what their fair market value is, I think we're going to see increased evictions into 2023,” Hurgin said.

Copyright 2023 New Hampshire Public Radio. To see more, visit New Hampshire Public Radio.

Jeongyoon Han
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