New Hampshire Security Deposit Law

Learn the Security Deposit Limits and Regulations in New Hampshire

Afternoon sunlight shines on North Church on Congress Street in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Afternoon sunlight shines on North Church on Congress Street in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Philip Case Cohen / Getty Images

In New Hampshire, there are landlord-tenant laws in place which every landlord should understand and adhere to. These laws include rules for security deposits. There are specific rules for everything from how much you can collect, to reasons you can keep a tenant’s security deposit. Here are some frequently asked questions about security deposits in New Hampshire.

Is There a Security Deposit Limit in New Hampshire?

Yes.

In New Hampshire, a landlord cannot collect a security deposit from a tenant that is greater than one month’s rent. For landlords who own rental property that is considered a “shared facility,” such as a boarding house, there is no limit on the amount the landlord can collect as a security deposit.

Is Anyone Exempt From Following These Security Deposit Rules?

Yes. In the state of New Hampshire, landlords who reside in owner-occupied properties, with five or fewer units, are exempt from adhering to New Hampshire’s statewide security deposit rules. However, if any individual unit has a tenant who is 60 years or older, the statewide security rules apply to that tenant and that unit.

How Must You Store the Security Deposit in New Hampshire?

In the state of New Hampshire, landlords must store tenants’ security deposits in an account in a banking or financial institution that does business in the state of New Hampshire.

The security deposits must be kept separate from the personal funds of the landlord, but the landlord may keep all tenants’ security deposits in the same account.

  • One Year Or Longer:

If a landlord will be in possession of a tenant’s security deposit for one year or more, the security deposit must earn interest at a rate equal to the interest rate on savings accounts in New Hampshire.

  • Tenant Request:

If a tenant requests, a New Hampshire landlord must provide the tenant with the details of how their security deposit is being stored including, the amount of deposit, interest rate, the name of the banking institution, the address of banking institution and account number. The landlord must also allow the tenant to examine his or her security deposit records at his or her request.

Is Written Notice Required After Receipt of the Security Deposit in New Hampshire?

The form of payment the tenant uses as the security deposit will determine if the landlord must provide the tenant with a written receipt.

  • Yes:

Unless the security deposit is paid by check, the landlord must provide the tenant with a written receipt after receiving the security deposit. This receipt must state the amount of security deposit received, as well as where the deposit is being stored. The landlord must also serve the tenant with written notice that the tenant should alert the landlord of any items in the property that are in need of repair by making a note on the receipt or by sending a separate notice to the landlord. The tenant must do this within five days of moving into the unit.

  • No:

If the tenant has paid the security deposit using any form of a check, including personal check, bank check, government check or nonprofit check, the landlord is not required to provide the tenant with a written receipt after receiving the tenant’s security deposit.

The landlord must still notify the tenant in writing that he or she must let the landlord know in writing if any repairs need to be made to the rental unit within 5 days of his or her move in.

What Are Some Reasons You Can Keep a Tenant’s Security Deposit in New Hampshire?

In New Hampshire, a landlord can retain all or a portion of a tenant’s security deposit for the following reasons:

Is a Walk Through Inspection Required in New Hampshire?

No. New Hampshire landlords are not required to perform a walk-through inspection when a tenant moves out of a rental unit.

When Must You Return a Tenant’s Security Deposit in New Hampshire?

  • 30 Days:

In New Hampshire, a landlord must return the portion of the tenant’s security deposit that is owed to the tenant, along with any accrued interest, within 30 days of tenant move-out.

This deposit should be mailed via certified mail to the last known address of the tenant.

  • Written Notice:

If the landlord has taken any deductions from the security deposit, the landlord must include a written itemized list of these deductions. The list must include the reason for the deduction and the amount of the deduction. The landlord must also include evidence such as receipts or repair estimates.

  • Wrongful Withholding:

If the landlord does not return the tenant’s security deposit within 30 days, does not provide a written itemized statement if necessary or wrongfully withholds any portion of the tenant’s security deposit, the tenant could be awarded up to two times the amount of the security deposit plus reasonable court costs and attorney’s fees.

  • Six Months:

If a landlord has made reasonable attempt to return the portion of the security deposit that is owed back to the tenant, and the tenant makes no claim on the deposit, after six months, it becomes the property of the landlord.

What Happens to the Security Deposit If You Sell Your Property?

If you sell your property or the property otherwise changes hands, you must transfer all tenants’ security deposits to the new owner of the property. You must send the tenants a certified mailing that alerts them that their security deposit has been transferred, along with the name and contact information for the new owner.

What Is New Hampshire's Security Deposit Law?

For the original text of the security deposit law in the state of New Hampshire, please see New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated §§ 540-A:5 to A:8 and 540-B:10.