Is it legal to require a tenant to pay first/last month’s rent and a security deposit prior to signing the lease?

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Is it legal to require a tenant to pay first/last month’s rent and a security deposit prior to signing the lease?

In NH.

Asked on April 4, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New Hampshire

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

New Hampshire laws use a barometer of how many units a landlord has in order to determine the security deposit.  Under the law, a landlord who owns more than six units can ask for no more that one month's rent or $100, whichever is larger, as a security deposit. The landlord must keep security deposits in a special escrow account or post a bond with the local municipality to secure repayment. The information I have found does not specifically discuss fewer than 6 units, so I would contact a tenant's rights organization. But it should all happen simultaneously with signing the lease agreement. Do not give your landlord the money until the lease is signed.  Good luck. 


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