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New Hampshire Statute of Limitations on Debt

Melissa Lyken | December 26, 2023

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Fact-checked by George Simons, J.D.

Summary: The New Hampshire statute of limitations on debt varies by the type of debt involved. But for most debts, including credit card debt, the NH statute of limitations is three years. You can use this information as a defense in court and get your case dismissed. Make the right defense the right way with SoloSuit.

Are you being sued in the State of New Hampshire for an old debt? You may be asking yourself why an old creditor is filing a lawsuit against you trying to collect on a debt that you may have defaulted on many years ago. You may also wonder if the statute of limitations may have already expired on that debt.

If you requested more time to pay your debt, you might have reset the clock for the statute of limitation on your debt. Let 's take a closer look at the statute of limitations laws in New Hampshire and see if you may be able to shake this old ghost that 's coming back to haunt you.

Use the statute of limitations as a defense in your case.

What is the statute of limitations in New Hampshire?

Simply put, the statute of limitations on debt refers to the amount of time your creditor or a debt collector has to file a lawsuit. This means that if a creditor wants to sue you for a debt, they have to do so within a specific range of time, otherwise their lawsuit will not have the legal grounds to win.

The statute of limitations on debt refers to both consumer and business debt. Consumer debts are incurred by an individual primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, such as a credit card. On the other hand, business debts are debts that an individual incurred to obtain money or investments for a business.

As a recourse, the creditor may file a debt collection lawsuit and ask the court to render a judgment requiring the debtor to pay the loan amount and any additional damages that the creditor may suffer, such as attorney's fees. In these cases, a debtor can receive default judgment when they fail to pay back the debt owed and fail to respond to the complaint in the lawsuit.

The real question here is, how long does a creditor have to file a collection suit against a debtor? The answer to this question depends on the statute of limitations in your state. It is critical to note that there are also different prescriptive periods depending on the type of debt an individual incurred.

Let 's take a closer look at the statute of limitations on debt in New Hampshire.

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The New Hampshire statute of limitations on debt collection varies by the type of debt

The state of New Hampshire does not treat the statute of limitations for all debts the same. So it's important to note that, depending on the type of debt you have, there are different timelines that a creditor has to file a lawsuit.

In New Hampshire, the statute of limitations for most debts is three years, including credit card debt and debts resulting from most loans, as outlined in NH Rev Stat § 508:4, which states:

“Except as otherwise provided by law, all personal actions, except actions for slander or libel, may be brought only within 3 years of the act or omission complained of, except that when the injury and its causal relationship to the act or omission were not discovered and could not reasonably have been discovered at the time of the act or omission, the action shall be commenced within 3 years of the time the plaintiff discovers, or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the injury and its causal relationship to the act or omission complained of.”

Under NH Rev Stat § 508:5, the New Hampshire statute of limitations for contracts under seal and judgments and is 20 years. This typically includes mortgage debts, but note that NH Rev Stat § 508:6 states the following regarding the NH statute of limitations for mortgage debts:

“Actions upon notes secured by a mortgage of real estate may be brought so long as the plaintiff is entitled to bring an action upon the mortgage.”

The table below further outlines the New Hampshire statute of limitations on different types of debt:

Statute of Limitations on Debt in New Hampshire

Debt Type Deadline
Credit Card 3 years
Medical 3 years
Student Loan 3 years
Auto Loan 3 years
Personal Loan 3 years
Mortgage 20 years
Judgment 20 years
Source: N.H. Rev. Stat. § 508:4 and § 508:5

Some other laws you should be aware of are New Hampshire’s statute of limitations on promissory notes, which is six years as outlined in RSA 382-A: 3-118.

In other words, a creditor has six (6) years upon default to file a collection suit for debts that arose from negotiable instruments. Negotiable instruments refers to promissory notes, bills of exchange, checks, government promissory notes, delivery orders, and customs receipts.

Finally, an action for breach of any contract for sale must occur within four years after the cause of action has accrued. By the original agreement, the parties may reduce the period of limitation to not less than one year but may not extend it.

Therefore, if the debt on sales of goods is involved, the creditor's prescriptive period may be from one to four years. The default period for these debts is typically four years.

Be careful not to restart the clock on your debt’s statute of limitations

When you owe a debt, there's a time limit for the lender to take legal action to get their money back. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations. However, there are a few things that can pause this time limit:

  • Partial Payments or Promises to Pay: If you make a partial payment or somehow show you intend to pay back the money (like saying you will pay), this can pause the time limit. It's like the clock stops ticking for a while.
  • Acknowledging the Debt: If you admit you owe the money and show you're willing to pay, this can also pause the time limit. But just saying you know about the debt isn't enough; you need to show you plan to pay it.
  • Doesn't Affect the Guarantor: If someone else guaranteed your loan (promised to pay if you don't), your actions to pause the time limit don't really affect their responsibility much.

In simple terms, if you owe money on a loan and take steps to pay it back or admit you will pay, you give the lender more time to take you to court to get their money.

File an Answer to your NH debt lawsuit

For all the statute of limitations laws listed above, it is essential to remember that the creditor can not use legal means to collect a debt outside of the period of limitation provided by the law.

However, an expired statute of limitations will not prevent creditors and debt collectors from filing suit. This is why it’s so important to know how old your debt is. It’s up to you to use the statute of limitations as a defense in your case. The judge won’t bring it up for you.

If your creditor is filing a lawsuit against you and confirms that the statutes of limitations passed, you can include this in the Answer you file with the court.

We hope this information helps you know if it is too late for that old creditor to hunt you down to pay that lingering debt or if they are playing by the rules.

Is your debt still within the statute of limitations? Settle it before your court date.

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