Bill Text: NH HB311 | 2019 | Regular Session | Introduced

Bill Title: Regulating sober living facilities.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 3-0)

Status: (Introduced - Dead) 2019-11-13 - Minority Committee Report: Inexpedient to Legislate [HB311 Detail]

Download: New_Hampshire-2019-HB311-Introduced.html










AN ACT regulating sober living facilities.


SPONSORS: Rep. Connors, Hills. 15; Rep. Cornell, Hills. 18; Rep. Goley, Hills. 8


COMMITTEE: Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs






This bill allows a municipality to adopt an ordinance regulating the occupancy and safety of dwelling units operating as sober living facilities.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.






In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Nineteen


AN ACT regulating sober living facilities.


Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:


1  New Section; Housing Standards; Sober Living Facilities.  Amend RSA 48-A by inserting after section 11 the following new section:

48-A:11-a  Sober Living Facilities.  A municipality may adopt and enforce an ordinance regulating sober living facilities as follows:

I.  As used in this section, the term "sober living facility" or "sober house" shall mean a dwelling unit occupied by more than 4 and less then 16 unrelated persons, all of whom are in recovery from chemical dependency and considered handicapped under 42 U.S.C. 3601, et seq., that provides a non-institutional residential setting in which residents voluntarily are subject to written rules and regulations regarding recovery from chemical dependency, including the prohibition of alcohol and illegal drug use and a required minimum of 10 hours of group therapy per month.

II.  Any sober living facility, sober house, or other lodging or boarding house subject to the provisions of this section, shall present, in writing, to the local city or town fire department a notice of an intention to occupy the sober living facility, no less than 30 days before taking occupancy of the premises.  Failure to present notice to the local city or town will result in a $10 per day fine payable to the city or town and shall authorize the local fire department to immediately inspect the premises and terminate occupancy.  If, following a fire in any sober living facility, it is discovered the owners have failed to present notice of occupancy to the local city or town, such failure shall be a violation and may subject the owners to criminal prosecution.

III.  The operator of any sober living facility shall request a license issued by the local city or town housing authority to operate providing he or she has met all requirements of paragraph IV.  The license shall be valid for a period of one year and shall include the number of residents allowed to reside in the sober living facility and an emergency 24-hour contact phone number for a person responsible for the sober living facility.  The license shall be posted and available for inspection upon request by the local inspecting authorities.

IV.  Except as provided in paragraph V, the following fire safety requirements shall be required for all places operating as sober living facilities:

(a)  A properly maintained electrical system.

(b)  A maintained heating system including a one-hour fire separation.

(c)  Maintained cooking appliances.

(d)  Street number of the sober living facility posted and visible from the street.

(e)  No smoking within 10 feet of the building unless approved by the local fire department.

(f)  A written evacuation plan submitted to and approved by the local fire department.

(g)  Monthly evacuation drills must be conducted with documentation available for review onsite.

(h)  Basement living spaces shall have an exit directly to grade.

(i)  The facility shall have a minimum of 200 gross square feet per resident.

(j)  At least one escape window in each sleeping room.

(k)  Installed interconnected smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, electrically powered with battery backup, on each level and in each sleeping room; or, the installation of a complete fire alarm system.

(l)  Annual compliance inspection by the local fire department.

(m)  If the travel distance to an exit is greater than 75 feet, there shall be 2 remote means of egress from each floor.

V.  If the owner of a sober living facility chooses to comply with the currently adopted Life Safety Code, chapter "Rooming and Lodging" provisions then the requirements of paragraph IV shall not apply.

2  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.