Tenants Rights: Collaborative effort offers education and empowerment

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  • Do you rent or know of a building in Manchester with inadequate or unsafe basic facilities such as heat, plumbing or electricity?  
  • Does your building always pass inspection by the city when you know it shouldn’t and it leaves you feeling helpless about raising valid safety concerns for you or your family with your landlord?
  • Are you constantly reporting roaches, bed bugs or mice infestations only for nothing to happen? 

If you live in or know of a building that sounds like this, you can reach out to: 

Granite State Organizing Project: (603) 668-8250 gsopstaff@granitestateorganizing.org 

Or Brandon Lemay with Rights and Democracy NH/MHA: brandon@radnh.org 


Earlier this year a building in Manchester was followed through the inspection process after learning of the building constantly passing inspection while they had numerous code violations evident. Pictures were taken leading up to inspection and on the day of inspection. It passed, it passed with numerous visual Housing Ordinance Violations, among them was the bowing water-stained ceiling tiles in the bathroom. The problem was evident (picture not shown out of privacy to the tenant still living there) and the next day it burst as it had many times before. Sewage and water everywhere. 

Affordable apartments should not mean unsafe apartments. Some buildings in Manchester have become so dilapidated over the years due to problems overlooked and proper repairs not done (lip sticking, the art of just slapping some paint over it). Unfortunately, this has only weakened our aging Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing stock in the city. With the ever-increasing need of affordable housing, it is important to consider all resources available and do what we can to maintain or properly urbanize to meet that need. 

Smoke detectors not installed where they are supposed to be, exposed wires or flickering lights, holes in walls floors ceilings and evident leaks are some of the things commonly encountered in older dilapidated buildings in Manchester. Even those with a current Certificate of Compliance. Electrical work and heaters installed that required permits not applied for or left to expire, which means uninspected. Currently, there is a multi-unit building on Somerville Street that had a fire that our city’s fire department deemed to be caused by an improperly installed heater. Soon after another heater was installed without a permit or inspection. Scenarios such as this happen and the buildings fall into loopholes that need closed for the residents’ safety.  Currently, a permit can be pulled to install or repair a heater or an electrical line and as long as the landlord never calls to schedule the inspection it can operate with zero interference, even after the 2-year limit has expired. 

Before filing a complaint with Code Enforcement in the Planning and Community Development Dept at City Hall, the city currently requires you to notify your landlord first.  Notice of 14 days is preferred, but not always required. Example, you are not expected to wait 14 days for heat to be repaired in the winter months. It is suggested to do this in writing. After this time has passed and repairs have not been made you can contact them and begin the complaint process by phone, email or online.

GSOP, MHA and NH Legal Assistance

Local non-profits in town have been working to increase resources available to tenants to learn and advocate for their right to safe and affordable housing. Below is our 6-part Tenant Rights Training Series with PDF presentations that include your rights and recourses as a Tenant in NH with important resources and links.  Videos are available for some with lawyers from NH Legal Aid explaining the presentation from previous online tenant training events.  

6-Part Tenants Rights Training Series

  • Granite State Organizing Project
  • Manchester Housing Alliance
  • NH Legal Assistance

07.16.2020 – Eviction Process

07.30.2020 – Discovery, Motions, and Defenses

08.13.2020 – How To Apply For Rental Assistance

08.27.2020 – Chapter 48-A Housing Standards, Rent Withholding | Video

09.10.2020 – Prohibited Practices, Quiet Enjoyment, and Remedies | Video

09.24.2020 – Security Deposits and Rent Increases | Video

Housing Code Ordinances

https://www.manchesternh.gov/pcd/Regulations/HousingCodeOrdinance.pdf

Inspector Contact Information

https://www.manchesternh.gov/Departments/Planning-and-Comm-Dev/Building/Inspection-Info

About Carol Robidoux 6698 Articles
Longtime NH journalist and publisher of ManchesterInkLink.com. Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!