603 Legal Aid attorney Marta Hurgin recently filed her firm’s first New Hampshire Supreme Court appeal, on behalf of a rooming house tenant. The trial court decided that the tenant has the right to protections and notice under the state’s eviction process; the landlord appealed, stating that the rooming house qualifies for the “shared facility,” even though the landlord lives elsewhere.
“It is clear from the legislative history – and any common understanding of the word ‘shared’ – that the statute does not give landlords of rooming houses the ability to evict tenants without due process,” Hurgin said. “We want to make sure that rooming house tenants – people often living on the thinnest margins, with few if any alternative options for housing – are afforded the judicial eviction process and protections they are entitled to.”
NHLA also has two appeals currently before the New Hampshire Supreme Court: Attorney Chelsie Rommel secured a domestic violence protective order for her client, an abuse survivor, and is now defending the abuser’s appeal. The second appeal was filed by attorneys Ray Burke and Steve Tower on behalf of LISTEN Community Services of Lebanon. The appeal is in response to an order issued by the Public Utilities Commission that would threaten or even halt funding for low-income household weatherization projects from 2021 to 2023.
In early February, the PUC restored funding to 2020-2021 levels; but this still leaves some of the most problematic aspects of the decision intact, according to Burke, which risk harming the low-income program. “We hope this decision allows the utilities to restart the programs in the short term and pursue some of the low-income projects that were delayed as a result of the initial decision, providing some needed relief while the parties sort out the appeals,” Burke said.