Tag Archives: New Hampshire lawyer

Impact of Covid-19 on Evictions – Article by Dennis Morgan

February 11, 2021

Back in the Spring of 2020, New Hampshire’s Governor issued Emergency Order #4 regarding a temporary prohibition on evictions and foreclosures. Landlords were prohibited from starting an eviction proceeding during the State of Emergency. This has since expired however, between the CARES Act and CDC (Centers for Disease Control) moratoriums, most evictions have now been prohibited through the end of March, 2021. This is almost a full year of prohibitions on most evictions.  The pandemic’s impact on jobs has been great but there has also been a significant impact on landlords as well.

As it stands now, the CDC Order applies to “covered persons” and residential property. A Covered Person is a tenant of residential property who provides their landlord a declaration that says (1) the tenant has used their best efforts to obtain all government assistance for rent our housing; (2) the tenant earned less than $99,000 in taxable income for 2020 ($198,000 for joint filers); (3) the tenant is unable to pay the full rent or make a housing payment due to substantial loss of income, hours, wages, a layoff or extraordinary medical expenses; (4) the tenant is making best efforts to make timely partial payments; and (5) eviction would likely render the tenant homeless.

The CDC Order applies to any property leased for residential purposes, including any house, building, mobile home and or land in a mobile home park, or similar dwelling. It does not apply to hotel/motel rooms, guest house rentals on a temporary or seasonal basis.

If a tenant qualifies as a Covered Person and completes the CDC declaration, they must provide it to their landlord. If there is more than one person on a lease, each must sign the declaration and provide it to their landlord. Once the tenant completes the declaration, this will cause an eviction proceeding for non-payment of rent to terminate, even up until the point of a writ of possession being served to require a tenant to vacate the leased premises. Evictions that were completed prior to Sept. 4, 2020 are not subject to the CDC Order.

For landlords, this does not mean that there is no way to evict a tenant while the CDC moratorium is in effect.  There are 5 exceptions to the moratorium which are: (1) tenant(s) engaging in criminal activity on the rental premises; (2) threatening the health or safety of other tenants; (3) damaging or posing an immediate and significant risk of damage to property; (4) violating applicable building codes, health ordinances or similar health/safety regulation; or (5) violating any other contractual obligation of a tenant’s lease, other than timely payment of rent.

Tenants have an obligation to pay their rent up to the full amount due if able.  The moratorium does not suspend or cancel a tenant’s obligation to pay rent.  If a tenant is unable to pay their rent and is a “Covered Person”, they cannot be evicted once they submit their CDC declaration to their landlord, but once the CDC Order expires, all unpaid or past due rent will then be due, which will then be a basis for an eviction. This includes not only the past rent but any late fees, penalties, or interest resulting from a tenant’s failure to pay rent during the period of the Order. Best practice would be for tenants to pay their rent if they can afford to do so and for Landlords to know that if they attempt an eviction during the CDC Order there can be serious consequences. Violating the CDC Order can result in fines up to $100,000 and/or a year in jail.

As difficult as the pandemic has been for both tenants and landlords, there are resources available to help. The CARES Act has set aside billions of dollars in grants for the purposes of assisting people with support for rent and housing during the pandemic. Both tenants and landlords would be advised to contact the HUD as well as state and local authorities to find out what is available in their community. This is in the best interest of both the landlords and tenants. Tenants should take full advantage of any federal, state or local rental assistance programs available. The US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has Covid-19 resources on their website (www.hud.gov).

Dennis L. Morgan, Esq.
[email protected]
603-356-5439

Law in the time of coronavirus – Article by Chris Meier

April 3, 2020

THE CONWAY DAILY SUN, Friday, April 3, 2020

As all of the Mount Washington Valley and the world alter our lives to the temporary social distancing and quarantine rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, so, too, must we adapt as business owners, employers and employees to a new (temporary) economic and legal reality. Below is an outline of some of the changes that I felt were important for us here in the valley to consider and keep in mind.

Governor’s Stay at Home Order Effective March 27 at midnight, and through May 4, the governor has ordered all “non-essential” businesses to close, schools to remain closed and remote learning, and state beaches to close. The list of what businesses are essential can be found on nh.gov, but note that grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations will remain open, as will restaurants but only for takeout or delivery. The order also allows for residents to leave home for fresh air and exercise, as long as social distancing and “staying-local-to-your-area” protocols are observed.

Federal CARES Act (Coronavirus Stimulus Act) — This bill is enormous, and 880 pages. Here are some highlights:

   Direct Payments — Up to a certain level of income, citizens will receive cash payments up to $1,200 based upon their 2019 tax filing. These likely will issue within three weeks and will either be deposited in an account on file with the IRS or a check will be sent. The Washington Post has created an easy calculator to estimate any payment you might receive.

   Unemployment Insurance Support — Under the Act, the current N.H. maximum for unemployment benefits will increase from a weekly benefit  of $427 to $1,027, and laid-off employees are entitled to an additional 13 weeks of benefits (changed from 26 weeks to 39 weeks). The benefit is dependent on your recent income amount, but if you are laid off from your employment, you should file for unemployment as early as you can. NHES will work with you through the process, but note that there are particular days and times to file based upon the first letter of your last name. For more information, check the website: nhes.nh.gov.

    Paycheck Protection Program — For employers considering keeping staff on payroll, this is potentially the biggest benefit in the CARES Act. The PPP provides to small businesses (up to 500 employees), non-profits, sole proprietors and independent contractors a loan of up to 2.5 times your monthly payroll (up to $10 million). While a loan, the PPP allows that the loans WILL BE FORGIVEN in the amount used for up of eight weeks of payroll, mortgage interest, rent and/or utility payments. There are reductions to the forgiveness amount if you lay off some workers or reduce any employee’s pay by more than 25 percent’ however, given the inclusiveness of the forgiveness, it is likely most loans will receive substantial forgiveness. The PPP will be run through the current SBA 7(a) loan program, so generally any bank or law firm that handles SBA loans (we have some in our community) can start you on this process once the SBA finishes the regulations to administer the program (they have until April 11). I recommend any and every business in this valley investigate whether this program can be of assistance keeping your employees on the books, as it is a substantial benefit that you likely do not have to pay back.

Families First Act
— There are three substantial parts of Families First: Emergency Sick Leave — This provision says that employers are required to provide 80 hours of emergency sick leave (related to coronavirus) in addition to existing sick leave or paid time off. This emergency leave goes away on Dec. 31 (or if an employee is laid off or terminated). Emergency Family Leave — The Leave provision provides for up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave for employees whose child care (or school) is unavailable due to coronavirus restrictions. The first 10 days can be unpaid; however, for the remainder, an employee must receive a benefit t of two-thirds their normal rate of pay (up to $200 per day or $10,000 total).

Payroll Tax Credit
— There will be an employer credit against payroll taxes for emergency sick leave or emergency family leave used by its employees.

Temporary prohibition of foreclosure
and eviction — All eviction and foreclosure actions in the state are suspended until further notice. Note that this order does not waive or forgive any rent or mortgage (or other) payment; it only delays any foreclosure or eviction proceeding.

Court proceedings
— Generally, courts are open only on a restricted basis, and closed to the public. Emergency matters are still being heard, and anyone with an emergency can contact the Trial Court Info Center at (888) 212-1234. A New Hampshire lawyer can also help you navigate how to obtain legal relief during this time. 

Note that this is a brief summary of the new law, and everyone should investigate further how these changes apply to them individually, with their own lawyer, accountant, bank, and HR advisor. I look forward to seeing you all in the restaurants, in the stores, and on the trails, rivers, and mountains of the MWV when all this is over, but until then, stay safe, stay healthy, and stay informed — we will get through this together. 

Chris Meier is an attorney specializing in business affairs at Cooper Cargill Chant, a North Conway law firm.

Attorney Tracy Grisez Admitted to NH Bar

June 5, 2019

Paul Chant recognized as a Super Lawyer

May 7, 2019

NORTH CONWAY, NH – Cooper Cargill Chant, PA is proud to announce that Partner Paul Chant was selected by Super Lawyers New England Magazine for recognition in its 2018 publication. Super Lawyers, a Thompson-Reuters business, is a prestigious honor awarded to attorneys who exemplify the highest standards and abilities in areas of law.

Attorney Chant was named a Super Lawyer for personal injury practice, on the Plaintiff side. He has over 30 years of experience representing Plaintiffs in personal injury and workers’ compensation litigation. Attorney Chant was selected by Business New Hampshire Magazine as its “Top Personal Injury Lawyer” for 2015 for the entire state of New Hampshire. Paul serves on the NH Access to Justice Commission. This is the fourth consecutive year that he was selected as a Super Lawyer.

Attorneys chosen to the list of Super Lawyers must pass a rigorous, research driven selection process that consists of peer nominations and ratings and in depth evaluations by a highly credentialed panel of attorneys. Lawyers who make the final list have attained the highest degree of professional achievement and recognition from their legal peers.

Super Lawyers Magazine was created to honor exceptional attorneys and to provide consumers in need of legal services in their region with access to an objective list of top lawyers in their area, because no more than 5% of attorneys in this state are named to the Super Lawyers Magazine list – and no more than 2.5% of attorneys are selected to the list of Rising Stars.™  (Honoring lawyers age 40 or younger or in practice 10 years or less). Consumers can feel confidence in choosing lawyers who have been recognized by the trusted publication. For more information, visit the Super Lawyer web site.

Cooper Cargill Chant is the largest law firm north of the lakes region in New Hampshire. The firm’s attorneys are recognized leaders of the New Hampshire Bar Association, have chaired the Boards of the New Hampshire Bar Association, the New Hampshire Association for Justice, and the New Hampshire Bar Foundation. Lawyers have won numerous awards for their representation of clients throughout New Hampshire, including awards for legal service to the poor, for work in domestic violence cases, in helping form and develop businesses, and in personal injury work. With offices located in North Conway and Berlin, New Hampshire, Cooper Cargill Chant is counsel to hundreds of small businesses and associations, and thousands of individual clients throughout northern NH and western Maine.

For more information, call 603-356-5439 or visit them online at www.coopercargillchant.com.

Cooper Cargill Chant Attorneys Receive Accolades From Super Lawyers

November 14, 2016

NORTH CONWAY, NH – Cooper Cargill Chant, PA is proud to announce that its Partner Paul  Chant has been selected by Super Lawyers New England Magazine for recognition in its 2016 publication.  Super Lawyers, a Thompson-Reuters business, is a prestigious honor awarded to attorneys who exemplify the highest standards and abilities in areas of law.

Cooper Cargill Chant, PA’s Super Lawyer for 2016 is Attorney Paul Chant.  Attorney Chant was named for personal injury practice, on the Plaintiff side.  He has 30 years of experience representing Plaintiff’s in personal injury and workers’ compensation litigation.   Attorney Chant was selected by Business New Hampshire Magazine as its “Top personal injury lawyer” for 2015 for the entire state of New Hampshire.  Paul is President of the Mount Washington Valley Economic Council and a Member of the New Hampshire Bar Association Board of Governors.

In addition to Attorney Chant’s selection as a Super Lawyer, Cooper Cargill Chant, PA Associate Leslie Leonard was named a Rising Star.  Attorney Leonard is an Associate whose practice is in family law, estate planning, personal injury  and employment law.  She is the Past-President of the Mount Washington Valley Children’s Museum Board of Directors, Vice President of the Rotary Club of North Conway, a member of the Board of Directors of the White Mountain Health Center. and a Graduate of the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program.

Attorneys chosen to the list of Super Lawyers must pass a rigorous, research driven selection process that consists of peer nominations and ratings and in depth evaluations by a highly credentialed panel of attorneys.  Lawyers who make the final list have attained the highest degree of professional achievement and recognition from their legal peers.

Super Lawyers Magazine was created to honor exceptional attorneys and to provide consumers in need of legal services in their region with access to an objective list of top lawyers in their area, because no more than 5% of attorneys in this state are named to the Super Lawyers Magazine list – and no more than 2.5% of attorneys are selected to the list of Rising Stars.™   (Honoring lawyers age 40 or younger or in practice 10 years or less). Consumers can feel confidence in choosing lawyers who have been recognized by the trusted publication.  For more information, visit the Super Lawyer web site.

Cooper Cargill Chant is the largest law firm north of the lakes region in New Hampshire. With its main office in North Conway, New Hampshire, Cooper Cargill Chant lawyers have over 150 years of experience. Cooper Cargill Chant attorneys are recognized leaders of the New Hampshire Bar Association, have chaired the Boards of the New Hampshire Bar Association, the New Hampshire Association for Justice, and the New Hampshire Bar Foundation. Lawyers have won numerous awards for their representation of clients throughout New Hampshire, including awards for legal service to the poor, for work in domestic violence cases, in helping form and develop businesses, and in personal injury work. With offices located in North Conway and Berlin, New Hampshire, Cooper Cargill Chant is counsel to hundreds of small businesses and associations, and thousands of individual clients throughout northern NH and western Maine.

For more information, call 603-356-5439 or visit them online at www.coopercargillchant.com.