New Mexico Landlord Tenant Law: FAQs
Let’s understand New Mexico landlord tenant law and regulations through the following –
What is the maximum amount I can collect as a security deposit?
If the Duration of the Lease is Less than 1 Year, the landlord cannot demand or receive a deposit that is more than the amount of 1 month’s rent.
If the Duration of the Lease is 1 Year or Greater, a landlord may demand a reasonable deposit from the tenant, which may be used to cover the cost of any damages caused by the tenant during the term of residency. Under an annual rental agreement, if the landlord receives a deposit from the tenant in an amount greater than one month’s rent, the landlord is required to pay the tenant interest equal to the passbook interest on savings and loan associations in New Mexico.
Please Note: If the landlord demands prepaid rent for the last month of the tenancy, such amount is not considered a deposit.
Do I have the right to enforce no smoking in my rental property?
A landlord may establish a “No Smoking” policy by providing so in the lease.
Can I require my tenants to obtain renter’s insurance?
Landlords may require tenants to obtain rental insurance.
May I charge late and returned payment fees?
The landlord may charge a late fee in an amount not to exceed 10% of the total rent payment for each rental period that the resident is in default. To assess a late fee, the owner shall provide notice no later than the last day of the next rental period (immediately following the period in which the default occurred). There are no statutory limits placed on a fee for a returned payment, however such fees should remain reasonable and related to the landlord’s actual expenses incurred.
What is a common problem where security deposits are concerned?
At times landlords may try claiming deductions for items that are often characterized by the court as normal wear and tear. This situation may be prevented by realistically evaluating each deduction, providing proof of damage, as well as including repair receipts and pictures.
How can I end a New Mexico lease agreement?
If the tenancy is:
- Week to Week: The tenant or landlord must give written notice to the other at least 7 days prior to the termination date specified within the notice.
- Month to Month: The tenant or landlord must give written notice to the other at least 30 days prior to the periodic rental date as specified in the notice.
- Fixed Term: The tenant or landlord must give written notice to the other as specified within the lease or at least 30 days prior to the end of the rental agreement.
My tenant has moved out, what shall I do with their security deposit?
Within 30 days of the termination of tenancy, the landlord must provide the tenant with an itemized list of deductions from the deposit and the balance of the deposit, if any.
Are there circumstances where I am required to release a tenant from a lease agreement?
A landlord may be forced to release a tenant from a contractual agreement when the dwelling unit or premise is damaged and/or destroyed by fire or casualty not caused by the tenant, deeming the rental property unlivable. Additionally, a tenant may seek release from a rental agreement with the court when a landlord does not abide by the state’s landlord obligations.
How long does the eviction process take?
As with any legal matter, exact timing is almost impossible as it depends on many factors. Overall, with no complications, the eviction process usually takes approximately 4-5 weeks.
How do I tell if my tenant has “skipped” out of the apartment?
Often times it’s best to look for the obvious, such as removal of personal goods, whether or not the tenant has come back to the premises at any time during a one week period, and simply no food in the refrigerator. It’s extremely important to document all of the “proof” gathered in order to determine abandonment. When in doubt, if payment of rent has not been made, the landlord may always file for eviction.
Do I have to give the tenant notice before I enter the rental property?
Landlords shall give tenants 24 hours written notification of their intent to enter, the purpose for entry, and the date and reasonable estimate of the time frame of the entry, except for cases of emergency or if it’s impracticable to do so.
Aside from the lease agreement, are there any additional documents necessary?
If the leased premises was constructed prior to 1978, the landlord must provide all tenants with the Lead-Based Paint EPA Disclosure and the Lead-Based Paint EPA Pamphlet.
What are the renter’s rights in New Mexico?
According to New Mexico landlord tenant law, renters have the right to:
- A safe and habitable living space, as outlined in the state’s implied warranty of habitability
- Privacy in their rental unit
- Being exempt from prejudice based on some protected features
- Receive proper notice before a landlord enters their rental unit
- Have the security deposit returned within a specific time frame after moving out
- Be free from retaliation by a landlord for asserting their rights
- Receive proper notice and an opportunity to cure a violation before being evicted.
In New Mexico, can landlords currently evict tenants?
A landlord cannot evict a tenant in New Mexico without a valid reason under the state’s eviction laws. If the tenant follows all restrictions, they are allowed to stay in the space until the lease is over. However, if a renter exceeds their lease term without requesting a renewal, they may be asked to leave.
In New Mexico, how much advance notice must a tenant give before leaving?
In New Mexico, the amount of notice that a tenant is required to give before moving out depends on the type of tenancy.
For tenants who have a month-to-month lease agreement, the tenant must give at least 30 days’ notice before vacating the rental property.
Unless the landlord agrees to renew the lease or the tenant and landlord agree to terminate the lease early, tenants on fixed-term leases are required to evacuate the property at the end of the lease period.
It is worth noting that a lease agreement may require more notice than the legal minimum, so it is important to read your lease agreement carefully to determine how much notice you need to give.
It is also important to remember that even if the tenant gives notice, the landlord has the right to hold the tenant liable for rent until the end of the notice period or until a new tenant moves in, whichever comes first.
How does a tenant report a landlord in New Mexico?
In New Mexico, tenants can report landlords for violating state laws or not maintaining the rental property in a safe and habitable condition by contacting the local housing authority or code enforcement office.
Tenants can also file a complaint with the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department’s Construction Industries Division, which is responsible for enforcing the state’s Residential Rental Property and Mobile Home Parks Act.
Additionally, tenants can also file a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Bureau if they believe that they have been the victim of discrimination.
It is also possible to contact legal aid organizations or seek the help of a private attorney if the tenant has legal concerns.
It is recommended to keep records of any correspondence, photographs, and any other evidence of the landlord’s violations and to make sure the complaint is in writing, that way if the complaint is not resolved, the tenant will have the evidence to take legal action.
Disclaimer: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord tenant law. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue.
Have more questions about New Mexico rental laws? Just ask in our Rental Forum, and check out our other New Mexico rental property resources!