Civil Law

Sam Harkinson Previously employed as an Assistant County Attorney, and as an insurance adjuster, now as an associate at Hoefle, Phoenix, Gormley & Roberts

Sam Harkinson
Previously employed as an Assistant County Attorney, and as an insurance adjuster, now as an associate at Hoefle, Phoenix, Gormley & Roberts

No. 2017-0195
March 8, 2019
Affirmed.

  • Whether a long term resident of a hotel room should be afforded the protections afforded to a tenant under the Landlord Tenant Statute.

Ms. Natalie Anderson (Plaintiff) appealed the decision of the circuit court denying her protection under the Landlord and Tenant Statute. On appeal, the Plaintiff maintains that the circuit court erred when it found that she and her husband were not tenants as defined by statute.

The Plaintiff and her husband were long term residents of Homewood Suites by Hilton (Hilton) for a period of time beginning in November, 2015 and ending in January, 2017. On January 4, 2017, the Hilton notified the Plaintiff that she and her husband’s stay at the Hilton was not to be extended further and that they were to vacate on or before January 6, 2017. The Plaintiff filed under New Hampshire RSA 540-A on January 9, requesting relief from the circuit court to prevent the Hilton from ejecting her and her husband. The circuit court held a hearing on the Hilton’s motion to dismiss, after which the circuit court concluded that the Hilton had shown that the Plaintiff and her husband were not tenants pursuant to statute, and, therefore, could be removed without judicial action being required.

On appeal, the Plaintiff attempted to characterize the Hilton as something other than a hotel; however, the Court disagreed with this distinction. The Court also disagreed that the statute allows for a case by case analysis of what is, and what is not, a hotel versus an apartment. Here, the facts as established by the record showed that the Hilton was a hotel. The Plaintiff also argued that the Court should interpret the language of the statute as establishing a categorical exemption for all those units “rented for recreational or vacation uses.” The Plaintiff maintained that since she and her husband did not rent their room for this purpose, it was a residential unit and should, therefore, be excluded and protected by the requirements of RSA 540-A. The Court disagreed, finding that the Plaintiff’s interpretation was not supported by the grammar of the statute, and would lead to absurd results. Court found that the Plaintiff mistakenly relied on prior case precedent, and further noted the distinguishing features between the two cases.

The Plaintiff also argued that the Hilton was not allowed to use the ejection process outlined at RSA 353, since she and her husband had been residents for over a year. The Court rejected this argument finding that the statute was still applicable and that the Hilton was, therefore, allowed to summarily eject the Plaintiff and her husband. The Court ultimately concluded that the Plaintiff and her husband had failed to demonstrate that they were tenants as defined by statute, and therefore had failed to make a showing that the additional protections afforded to tenants should apply to them.

 

Natalie Anderson, self-represented party, by brief for herself. Karl Terrell of Stokes Wagner, ALC on the brief and R. Brian Snow of Snow Law Office on the brief for the Defendant.