First, last and deposit too much for working families - 781 Responses

Jan 25, 2015

Should landlords be allowed to ask for last month's rent up front from potential renters? That's the question being considered this Wednesday as the House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on HB 269. The bill would allow NH landlords to add last month's rent to the funds they are currently permitted to ask for in advance of renting. In the run-up to the debate, the Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) asked Facebook members to weigh in on the question, "Should NH allow landlords to charge both first and last month’s rent plus AND a deposit from prospective tenants?"

A 61% majority of respondents answering the question expressed opposition to the move, while 39% were in favor. Thirty-three percent of total commenters opted not to give a yes or no response, instead addressing their remarks to broader issues. In sum, the LFDA received 263 specific comments and 518 concurrences for a total of 781 citizen responses

Those opposed to the change argued that the state's high cost of living already made getting the necessary funds for a rental a challenge. "First, last and a security deposit is too much for families living paycheck to paycheck," one commenter said. "Rent in most areas of the state is out of reach for the average young person as it is, why make it worse?" said another. "If people could afford that they would just buy their own home," a poster noted. 

Others argued that landlords should at least have the option to ask for more. "If they bought and paid for the house, they should be able to do as they please," one poster said. "The landlords take the risk. They should have the opportunity to alleviate some of that risk," another commenter noted. Several posters argued that state regulation on the issue should be as limited as possible. "Don't like it, don't rent it," one respondent summed up. 

Those opting to address their remarks to broader issues shared personal stories of challenges they had faced as landlords or tenants, or compared New Hampshire's laws to practices in other states. Several commented on the state's high cost of living. "I don't know how the younger generation can do it. Rent has doubled since I was a kid," one poster noted. 

Click here to see the full Facebook discussion of this question.

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