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.
Are you covered? – Article by Paul Chant
January 27, 2021
I have been representing people injured in accidents for over 30 years. The single biggest category are motor vehicle accidents, cars, trucks and motorcycles. Every year, sometimes more than once a year, I encounter this situation. Good people, with assets, have failed to protect themselves when they have caused an accident or when they have been injured by another driver.
So, how do you protect yourself? The answer is to carry appropriate, reasonable levels of coverage. On TV these days, companies advertise that they are the cheapest, and that you “only get the coverage you need.” You follow up to their corporate website that presents low cost, low coverage policies. You never speak with a human being about what coverage you need to protect yourself if: 1. You cause an accident and injure one or more parties; or 2. Someone causes an accident in which you sustain injuries.
First, you need to know that New Hampshire does not require mandatory automobile insurance for all drivers, and almost 10% of New Hampshire drivers carry no coverage. Many people also carry pitiful, small levels of coverage. The minimum limits of purchase you can purchase in New Hampshire for auto or motorcycle insurance, pursuant to R.S.A. 259:61 is “at least $25,000 on account of injury or death of any one person, and . . . at least $50,000 on account of any one accident resulting in injury to or death of more than one person . . . These statutory minimum limits have remained unchanged by the Legislature for 40 years!
Think for a moment of your health insurance premiums over the last 40 years. Those costs have exploded. Similarly, medical costs following auto accidents have grown substantially over the years. Think of your income over the last 40 years. Hopefully, it, too grew substantially. Yet, in many cases people carry the same limits they carried 10, 20, even 30 years ago. Why? Because no one told them to change their limits to protect themselves.
The two most common scenarios I see are the following: First, we get calls from people who have received letters from their insurer following an accident they have caused telling them that they may have insufficient limits to cover a claim against them. Those people fear for their houses and other assets. We have even advised bankruptcy in these cases before.
The second scenario is the person or couple or family injured in an accident. The driver carries low limits, and they do to. In this case, there is no path for any reasonable financial recovery no matter how extensive the injuries, medical bills, or lost income. There is nothing we can do for these folks. I represented a large family in an accident years ago in which 5 or more family members were injured. They carried low limits. The recovery was nominal. I have had numerous death cases where $100,000 or less existed in total available coverage. That is not enough for death or serious injury.
So, how do you protect yourself? The answer is simple. Buy more coverage. A local agent I spoke to told me that his office requires a waiver for any individual who insists on buying coverage of less than $250,000 per person, and $500,000 per accident. The reason: People need at least that much coverage to protect their assets in the events they hurt others, and at least that much to protect themselves if someone else injures them.
I have looked at the difference in costs for increased coverage. The difference between $50,000 per person/ $100,000 per accident coverage and $250,000/$500,000 coverage is often as little as $100 to $150 per year if you have a relatively clean driving record. Isn’t protecting yourself worth that additional cost? Finally, an easy way to cover the cost of increased liability and uninsured motorist coverage is to simply increase your deductible for your collision and/or comprehensive coverage. Increasing your deductible from$250 per claim to $500 per claim might alone cover the cost of increased liability insurance. Be smart. Buy enough coverage.
Stay safe and be well.
Paul W. Chant, Esq.
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.
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.
Leslie Leonard to receive Bruni Young Leadership Award at MWVEC annual meeting Nov. 15
November 9, 2018
Attorney Leslie M. Leonard of Cooper Cargill Chant of North Conway will be given the second annual Bruni Young Leadership Award at the 28th annual meeting of the Mt. Washington Valley Economic Council, to be held Nov. 15 at the Red Jacket Mountain View in North Conway.
Please see full article here.
Attorney Deborah Fauver, Conway moderator, selectmen discuss problems at the polls
April 23, 2018
CONWAY — Selectmen on Tuesday expressed concerns that electioneering may have discouraged voters from going to the polls during the April 10 election. The town moderator, who is also an attorney at Cooper Cargill Chant, discussed the laws with the Sun on Wednesday.
Click here for full article.
Cooper Cargill Chant is listed among NH’s largest law firms
March 19, 2018
Cooper Cargill Chant is listed among NH’s largest law firms. NH Business Review’s “Book of Lists” was recently released. Among the many lists compiled by NHBR is a list of the largest law firms in our state ranked by the number of NH Attorneys. CCC placed 29th in the state and 2nd among the four firms on the list headquartered north of Concord. Of course we were the only listed firm in the state headquartered north of the lakes region. While we may not be the biggest, we pride ourselves on providing our clients with the best quality legal services. We appreciate the trust our clients have placed in us. The book of lists can be found here. https://issuu.com/mcleancommunications/docs/2018_nh_business_review_book_of_lis
Cooper Cargill Chant, PA – Legal Counsel to a Great Community for 40 Years
February 6, 2018
The law firm of Cooper Cargill Chant, PA. is pleased to announce it is celebrating 40 years of providing legal services to individuals, businesses and organizations throughout northern New Hampshire and western Maine.
Today, as the largest law firm in Northern New Hampshire, Cooper Cargill Chant reflects on 40 years of service to its communities. The firm’s history began when Robert Dickson, Peter Fauver and Randall Cooper combined their practices to form the firm of Dickson, Fauver and Cooper.
Steady growth followed and in the early 1980s resulted in expansion of the firm’s Pine Street office, nearly doubling its size. During the 1980s Robert B. Dickson was appointed as a Superior Court Judge and Dorcas “Penny” Deans became a partner of the firm. In the 1990s, Peter Fauver was also appointed as a Superior Court Judge. Ken Cargill and Paul Chant became partners of the firm.
In 2002 the firm moved to its current location on White Mountain Highway in North Conway and later in the decade the firm added a second office located in downtown Berlin. Through the years, the firm continued to grow and evolve. A mainstay through it all has been a strong commitment to clients and community. The firm sought and brought the highest caliber personnel to join its practice. Over the years, Dennis Morgan, Chris Meier and Leslie Leonard grew from associates to become partners in the firm. Associates Deborah Fauver, Tyler Ray and Andy Dean add to the breadth and depth of the firm’s knowledge and ability.
The firm’s partners, associates and staff have always been committed to giving back to the community through pro bono work, charitable gifts, donations and sponsorships as well as dedicated involvement in community and civic organizations.
As the firm reflects on the last 40 years, partner Paul Chant stated “We are humbled by the dedication of our employees and the loyalty of our clients, as well as the opportunity to represent and make a difference for so many local companies and organizations. We are proud to give back to and be involved in our communities through service and philanthropy”.
Cooper Cargill Chant, PA looks forward to many more years of service and extends heart-felt appreciation to the many people that have contributed to the firm’s success.
Cooper Cargill Chant is the largest law firm in Northern New Hampshire with office in North Conway and Berlin. Its attorneys represent a wide range of individuals, businesses and organizations in central and northern New Hampshire and western Maine. Practice areas include: personal injury; real estate; business and corporate; planning; zoning and municipal; civil litigation; family law, bankruptcy, employment law, criminal defense and DWI.
For more information about firm, call (603) 345-5439 or visit the website at www.CooperCargillChant.com.