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New Mexico State Law ImageWhat 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.

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!


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