New Hampshire law provides special tax exemptions to municipality-owned real estate. This means the municipalities are not required to pay state real estate taxes on their properties. However, the municipalities are not exempt from paying taxes if non-exempt parties occupy or use their properties as part of a lease or tax agreement.
Is a non-exempt party allowed to sublicense the municipal property to another party? What if the sublicense agreement doesn’t include any provisions regarding state property taxes?
Let’s look at an example of case law to help answer these questions.
According to Segtel, Inc. vs. the City of Nashua (June 9th, 2017), the non-exempt party acquired a license agreement from the City of Nashua to install conduits and poles on their property. The agreement required the party to pay property taxes in this case. Afterward, the party engaged a third-party fiber optic cable network called Segtel and signed a pole attachment agreement with them. This particular agreement made no mention of the property taxes either.
When the City of Nashua sent property tax bills to Segtel, the fiber optic cable network refused to pay them. Segtel believed it was the other party’s responsibility. When the case was brought in front of the Superior Court, the judge sided with Segtel. The Superior Court claimed a party is not exempt from paying property taxes if they use or occupy the property and enter into an agreement specifying they need to pay the property taxes. So, in this case, Segtel entered into an agreement that did not require them to pay taxes, even though they were still using or occupying the property. As a result, Segtel didn’t have to pay property taxes.
The sublicense agreement did not require the sub-licensee (Segtel) to pay the state property taxes. Therefore, the non-exempt party (sub-licensor) should have specified for the sub-licensee to pay those taxes in the sublicense agreement.
The Proper Way to Notify a Tenant of Their Default Status
If a tenant ends up defaulting under the terms of their lease agreement, the landlord needs to notify the tenant of their default status in a straight and direct manner. The notification can be in the form of a letter sent to the tenant describing the reasoning for the default. The landlord should also specify the consequences of defaulting on the lease, such as eviction from the premises.
Not all landlords will pursue the eviction option. But it would not be wise for the landlord to be overly nice and forgiving. This may enable the tenant to continue defaulting on the lease agreement. The most common reason for default is not paying the monthly rent payments on time. However, there sometimes can be other reasons too.
For example, let’s suppose a lease agreement forbids the tenant from playing live music to their guests. However, the tenant plays live music anyway. The landlord might send the tenant a letter forgiving their actions and allowing them to continue playing music for the rest of the month. But after that, they must talk to the landlord before playing music again.
The court would never take eviction action against a tenant if this were the letter produced as evidence of a default notification. The letter must include sufficient detail explaining how the tenant breached their lease agreement and how the seriousness of this breach could lead to eviction if they don’t act quickly to fix the breach.
In the case of the example above, fixing the breach would mean for the tenant to stop playing live music for their guests as soon as they received the letter. The letter should not include any exceptions or forgiveness. This would take away from the seriousness of the breach. The tenant will have a chance to remedy the breach by not doing it again, but that’s it. However, if they continue to breach regardless of the warning and threat of eviction, the landlord would have the right to evict the tenant in court.
The Power of Easements
A person cannot legally use another person’s land without the owner’s consent. Otherwise, that would be considered trespassing, which is a crime. In this case, the owner has the legal right to request action to be taken against the trespasser to get them off the property.
Do easement holders have the same power to take action against trespassers? In other words, if a person has easement rights on an owner’s land, can they take action to stop another person from entering the land too?
The New Hampshire Supreme Court examined various legal theories to help answer these questions in the case of Carlson v. Latvian Lutheran Exile Church of Boston and Vicinity Patrons, Inc. (Sept. 21st, 2017). The Supreme Court decided the person who holds a non-exclusive easement has the power to remove an unauthorized third party from using the easement land if the third party’s use disrupts the easement holder’s use of the easement.
Since it was not an exclusive easement, the land’s owner had the exclusive right to grant land usage rights to other third parties at their discretion. But if it had been an exclusive easement, the third party would have had the right to remove the third party even if the third party’s actions were not disrupting the easement holder’s use of the easement.
You can contact Alfano Law Office by calling (603) 856-8411 or at this link.