"You have to be out by the weekend."
Sofia felt her stomach drop. Her landlord was planning to remodel the apartment she’d rented for the last two years. He was going to list it for double what she was currently paying. She’d never missed a payment before. She had nowhere to go. How could this be happening?
“Please,” she pleaded, “I just need some time to find a new place.” She kissed her son Gabriel’s head while she blinked back tears and clutched the phone in her hand.
“Fine. But you need to be out by Monday. You don’t want me to get a lawyer involved.” Sofia’s heart lurched.
She hung up the phone, told Gabriel to go play, and she cried silently in the kitchen. Then, with shaking fingers, she picked up the phone and dialed 603-626-9500, Amoskeag Health’s number. She remembered that her doctor always told her she could call if she needed help.
The woman at the front desk assured her that they would have a case manager return her call. Sofia’s mind was a blur. She didn’t know what that meant, but she was desperate for anything.
About an hour later, Sofia got a call from a case manager named Ethan. Through her tears, she explained what her landlord said and how she didn’t have any options. Rent was too expensive. She was panicking.
Ethan explained that she could not be forced to move out so quickly. The landlord had to provide an Official Notice and she would be granted at least a week before she’d be forced to move. Ethan wanted to doublecheck with NH Legal to find out exactly what Sofia’s timeline could look like. He told her to take some deep breaths and eat some lunch while he consulted with someone.
The next time Sofia picked up the phone, her fingers were steady. Ethan had a plan.
Sofia and Ethan performed a 3-way call with her landlord. Ethan calmly explained Sofia’s rights, reviewed her rental history as a reliable tenant, and emphasized that housing was incredibly challenging right now.
At the end of the phone call, the landlord apologized. He agreed to let Sofia and Gabriel remain on premise until the end of the month at a pro-rated rental rate. And he drew up a written notice to support this conclusion.
With some breathing room, Ethan helped Sofia come up with a plan. She connected with a co-worker who agreed to let her stay in a spare room until she could find a new apartment. Then, Ethan worked with his housing connections and started helping her with rental applications.
Today, Sofia is happily settled in a new apartment with Gabriel. She knows much more about her rights as a renter, but most importantly, she knows that if she ever has any questions, Ethan, her Amoskeag Health case manager, can answer them.