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New Mexico Landlord-Tenant Laws

New Mexico Landlord Tenant LawsThis article is intended to be an online resource for New Mexico landlords.  We summarize key New Mexico Landlord-Tenant laws that are most applicable to residential rental units.

This article is not qualified for legal advice.  Individuals seeking guidance need to work with a legal advisor who is qualified in the jurisdiction.  New Mexico Landlord Tenant Laws and statutes may vary from county to county or city to city, this article provides state-level laws and statutes. 

Also, laws and statutes are subject to change and may cause sections of this article to be outdated.  We provide links to assist landlords and tenants to the state statute page for further research.

Click here if you are seeking renters insurance in New Mexico.

 

Quick Facts for Real Estate Investors Considering New Mexico

New Mexico landlord-tenant laws are considered Landlord-friendly.

There are 2.1 million residents in New Mexico.  Major metropolitan markets in New Mexico are:

  1. Albuquerque: Estimated population of 918,018, which 33% of residents are renter occupied.  The average rent is $860.
  2. Las Cruces: Estimated population of 218,195, which 36% of residents are renter occupied.  The average rent is $716.
  3. Santa Fe: Estimated population of 150,358, which 29% of residents are renter occupied.  The average rent is $976.
  4. Farmington: Estimated population of 123,958, which 27% of residents are renter occupied.  The average rent is $782.

 

 

SECURITY DEPOSIT LAWS IN NEW MEXICO

 

Does New Mexico require security deposits? 

New Mexico does not require security deposits, however, if accepted then there are laws and regulations.

 

Is a security deposit receipt required in New Mexico? 

Receipts for security deposits are not required.  Although it is always a good practice to provide receipts for any deposits, fees, and rent collected.  Burbz automatically sends electronic receipts for every transaction.

 

How much security deposit can a landlord charge in New Mexico? 

New Mexico states landlords can charge a ‘reasonable’ deposit for leases longer than a year.  Generally, this is 1 month’s rent. For leases shorter than 1 year, deposits cannot exceed 1 month’s rent.  (§ 47-8-18(A))

 

 

Storage Requirements for Security Deposits in New Mexico: 

No Statute.  Landlords can keep deposits in any type of bank/trust account.

 

 

Can security deposits be commingled with other assets in New Mexico? 

Landlords can commingle deposits with their personal funds.  Since landlords owe interest to tenants on year-or-longer leases, it is a good practice to keep deposits in a separate bank account to calculate interest easier.  (§ 47-8-18(A)(1))

 

Do landlords have to pay interest on security deposits in New Mexico? 

Landlords do have to share the interest earned for deposits if the deposit is greater than 1 month’s rent.  Paid out annually.  The interest rate must be equal to the passbook interest permitted to savings and loan associations by the federal home loan bank board.  (§ 47-8-18(A)(1))

 

 

When must a landlord return the deposit by in New Mexico? 

Landlords must return the security deposits within 30 days after the termination of the tenancy or move-out, whichever is later.  (§ 47-8-18(D))

 

When can a landlord in New Mexico withhold a security deposit?

At the end of a lease, the landlord is required to return the tenant’s security deposit.  However, landlords may withhold all or portions of a tenant’s security deposit for (§ 47-8-18(C)):

 

  • Unpaid rent and/or fees
  • Tenant’s noncompliance of the rental agreement or statutory Tenant Duties
  • Damages beyond normal wear-and-tear
  • Unpaid utility bills

 

 

 

Nonrefundable fees: 

No Statute.

 

Pet Deposits and Additional Fees:

No Statute.

 

Require a written description / itemized list of damages and charges?

Landlords are required to provide a written and itemized list of damages.  The landlord is deemed to have complied by mailing statement and any payment required to the last known address of the tenant (§ 47-8-18(C))

 

What happens to New Mexico landlords that fail to comply with returning the security deposit?

The landlord is liable to the tenant to (§ 47-8-18(D)):

  • Forfeit any rights to without any portion of the deposit
  • Forfeit the right to assert any counterclaim to recover the deposit
  • Forfeits the right to sue for damages
  • Liable for court costs plus reasonable attorney’s fees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RENTAL AGREEMENT LAWS IN NEW MEXICO

 

Rental agreements required in New Mexico:

Rental agreements are required for leases 12 months or longer.  We always recommend having a legal lease agreement to prevent future complications.

If you need a lease, Burbz offers an online New Mexico rental lease agreement.

 

What are the required lease provisions in New Mexico?

New Mexico requires certain provisions to be included in the lease agreement.  Besides both the landlord and tenant names, the landlord should also list:

  • Conditions of occupancy
  • Description of the rental unit
  • Provision defining automatic renewal
  • Late Fees and Penalties
  • Landlords name, address, and phone number
  • Rent Amount and Due Date.
  • Length of the lease agreement
  • Tenants name, address, and phone number
  • Landlord’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • Tenant’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • Occupancy by children or pets
  • Required deposits and the conditions for their refund
  • Inspection rights by the landlord
  • Other fees
  • Address of rental property
  • Security deposit amount and terms
  • Process for requesting maintenance and repairs
  • Subleasing policy
  • Pet policies
  • Cleaning Fees

 

LANDLORDS ARE PROHIBITED FROM:

  • Including any term that is prohibited by law  (§ 47-8-16)
  • Any provision waiving tenant’s right under the law  (§ 47-8-16)
  • Penalty:  If a landlord deliberately uses a lease agreement containing a provision known to be prohibited by law, the tenant may recover damages sustained resulting from the application of the illegal provision and reasonable attorney’s fees.  (§ 47-8-17)

 

 

What are the rental agreement notice requirements in New Mexico: 

Fixed-End or Year-to-Year: No statute as leases expire.

Month-to-Month: Must provide at least 30 day’s written notice prior to a periodic rent due date. (§ 47-8-37(B))  Read our guide on Month-to-Month rent.

Week-to-Week: Must provide at least 7 day’s written notice with the termination date specified in the notice. (§ 47-8-37(A))

 

Rent Increase Notice:

Landlords must provide a 30 day, or equal to the length of one periodic duration, written notice to increase the rent amount.  (§ 47-8-15(F))

 

Rent Grace Period for Residential:

New Mexico does not require grace periods.  Landlords may charge late fees as soon as rent is deemed late.

 

 

Prepaid Rent:

Landlords are allowed to collect prepaid rent, no statute defining the limits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LATE FEES AND LIMITS IN NEW MEXICO

Late Fees for Residential:

New Mexico only allows landlords to charge a maximum 10% of the total rent due.  Landlords must give notice of the late fee no later than the last day of the following month after the default occurred. (§ 47-8-15(D))

 

 

 

 

NEW MEXICO LEASE TERMINATIONS / NOTICES TO QUIT

 

In New Mexico, lease agreements between landlords and tenants can be terminated.  Read our blog for landlords about handling early lease terminations.  Here are the cause and effects:

 

What is the Pay or Quit for Nonpayment requirement in New Mexico?

New Mexico allows the landlord to immediately begin the eviction process once rent is past due by providing a 3 day written notice.  Tenants can remedy by paying the full amount due prior to the expiration of the 3 days.  (§ 47-8-33)

 

 

How many days must a landlord allow before terminating for a Lease Violation?

Landlords must provide a 7 day notice to remedy or cure the violation. Upon the second material noncompliance by the tenant within six months of the initial breach, the landlord can deliver a written 7 day notice for terminating the lease.  (§ 47-8-33)

 

 

What happens if tenant holdovers past the expiration of the lease?

Landlords can provide a 7 day notice requiring the tenant to leave the premises.

 

 

NEW MEXICO LAWS ON REPAIRS

 

New Mexico requires landlords to provide a habitable property for tenants to live and enjoy.  There are specific provisions defining how tenants can remedy repairs if the landlord fails to do so. 

How many days must the tenant give for non-emergency repairs? 

New Mexico state landlords must be given notice of defects and 7 days after receiving notice to make repairs.   (§ 47-8-27.1)

 

Can tenants withhold rent for landlords’ failure to provide essential services (i.e. water, heat, etc.)?

New Mexico allows the tenant the following remedies to handle repairs if the landlord fails (§ 47-8-27.2):

  • Rent abatement of one-third of the pro-rata daily rent for each day from the date the tenant notified the landlord and through the day corrections was made.
  • Abate 100% of the rent for each day from the date landlord was notified until the date of the corrections if the dwelling is uninhabitable and the tenant does not inhabit the rental unit as a result of the condition

 

 

NEW MEXICO LANDLORD LAWS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Landlords have an obligation to the tenants, which include:

  • Remain in compliance with all applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety
  • Make repairs to keep premises in a safe condition
  • Keep all common areas of the property in a clean and safe condition
  • Maintain in good and safe working order and condition electrical, plumbing, sanitary, HVAC and other facilities and appliances, including elevators.
  • Provide and maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences for removal ashes, garbage, rubbish and other waste
  • Supply running water and a reasonable amount of hot water at all times and reasonable heat

 

According to (§ 47-8-20)

 

 

NEW MEXICO TENANT LAWS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Generally, tenants must dispose of all rubbish and garbage, refrain from unreasonable use of electrical, heating, and plumbing fixtures, meet all obligations lawfully by the code enforcement agency, refrain from willfully destroying or damaging the structure, take in additional occupants, rent or sublease without the owner’s consent.  (§ 47-8-22)

 

 

 

 

 

NEW MEXICO EVICTION LAWS

 

Can landlords do a ‘self help’ eviction?

In New Mexico, it is illegal for landlords to cause the tenant to quit the rental unit involuntarily. Tenants can abate 100% of the rent for each day the landlord denied possession or terminated/diminished any service for any portion of the day.  (§ 47-8-36)

Are landlords allowed to lockout tenants by changing locks?

The landlord cannot change or remove the doors or locks. (§ 47-8-36(2))

 

Are landlords allowed to turn off utilities?

Landlords cannot turn off utilities. (§ 47-8-36(A)(4))

 

Do landlords have to make a reasonable attempt to mitigate damages when re-renting the rental unit?

Yes.  Landlords must attempt to minimize damages.  (§ 47-8-6(A))

 

 

 

NEW MEXICO LAWS ON RETALIATION

 

New Mexico laws state a landlord cannot terminate a lease, refuse a lease renewal or raise rents when:

  • Tenant submitted, or threatened to, a complaint to the government agency for building or health code violation
  • Tenant has in good faith complained to the landlord of a violation
  • Tenant has organized or joined a tenants’ union, or similar organization
  • Tenant, in good faith, exercised their rights provided by Uniform Owner-Resident Relations Act
  • Made a fair housing complaint to a government agency charged with authoirty for enforcement of laws or regulations prohibiting discrimination in rental housing
  • Prevailed in a lawsuit or has a lawsuit pending against the landlord
  • Tenant testified on behalf of another resident
  • Tenant abated rent in accordance with their rights

 

New Mexico defines a period of 6 months after an event that would result in retaliating actions. ( § 47-8-39)

 

 

 

 

LAWS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, AND SEXUAL ASSAULT

If the resident has filed for or secured a temporary domestic violence restraining order as a result of the incident that is the basis for the termination notice or as a result of a prior incident, the writ of restitution shall not issue. In all other cases where domestic violence is raised as a defense, the court shall have the discretion to evict the resident accused of the violation, while allowing the tenancy of the remainder of the residents to continue undisturbed.

If you are a victim, please search The New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence site for a helpline:

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

 

 

 

NEW MEXICO LAWS FOR LOCKS AND LANDLORDS

New Mexico does not have any statewide laws regarding locks for landlords.  The tenant cannot remove, replace or add a lock without the written permission from the landlord.  If the tenant does with permission, they must provide the landlord with a key. 

 

 

 

 

NEW MEXICO PET LAWS & PET POLICIES

New Mexico Landlord-Tenant Laws does not have any specific pet laws.  Landlords are legally allowed to create their own pet policies and requirements.  Including tolerance for breeds, size, types, and more.  Read our guide to pet policies.

 

 

 

 

 

DO LANDLORDS IN NEW MEXICO NEED A RENTAL LICENSE?

 

According to New Mexico Landlord-Tenant Laws, landlords do not need a rental license in New Mexico.

Landlords and owners of residential rental property do not need to register the property.  Local cities may have different requirements, we recommend you research the local city-specific laws.

 

 

 

 

 

NOTICE OF ENTRY LAWS IN NEW MEXICO

Do landlords in New Mexico have to provide notice of entry? 

New Mexico requires the landlord to provide 24 hour notice, except when the landlord is performing repairs or services that tenants requested within the last seven days.  (§ 47-8-24(A)(1) and (2))

  • Non-emergency maintenance and repairs
  • Improvements to property
  • Inspections
  • Showing prospective tenants, contractors, mortgagees, or buyers.

 

When can a landlord enter without notice:

Landlords may enter due to an emergency. (§ 47-8-34(B))

 

 

Can landlords enter for non-emergency maintenance and repairs?

Yes, with proper notice and performed at reasonable hours. (§ 47-8-24(A))

 

 

Can landlords enter for showings?

No Statute.

 

 

 

Can landlords enter for emergencies without notice?

Yes, when there is an immediate threat to the safety or health of persons using or near the premises.(§ 47-8-24(B))

 

 

Can landlords enter during Tenant’s extended absence?

Yes, if the resident has been absent from the property for more than 7 days. (§ 47-8-24(A))

 

 

Can landlords enter for pesticides?

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

 

NEW MEXICO SUBLEASE AND ASSIGNMENT PROVISIONS

Landlords should include a clause in the lease agreement to prevent subleasing.  Otherwise, the tenant may sublet the rental unit.

 

 

 

 

TENANT ABANDONED PROPERTY IN NEW MEXICO

 

New Mexico Landlord-Tenant Laws state a landlord must store personal property.  Tenants have 30 days after the written request was mailed.  Landlord and tenant may agree to a different procedure in the lease agreement.  Landlords can deduct cost for removing and storage.  (§ 47-8-34.2)

 

 

 

 

REQUIRED RENTAL AGREEMENT DISCLOSURES FOR NEW MEXICO LEASES

 

New Mexico Landlord-Tenant Laws requires the following be included with all Rental Agreement Disclosures:

 

Lead Paint Disclosure:  Yes.  Federal law requires every landlord to disclose known information on lead-based paint and hazards.  Landlords must provide this EPA-approved pamphlet.

 

 

 

HELPFUL RESOURCES

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 47-8-1 through 47-8-52 – Uniform Owner-Resident Relations Act

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – New Mexico

New Mexico Real Estate Commission

City of Santa Fe: Office of Affordable Housing

City of Las Cruces: Landlord-Tenant Relations

University of New Mexico: Landlord-Tenant Relations

 

NEW MEXICO RELATED COURT INFO & LINKS

 

New Mexico Small Claims Court Limits:

$10,000 is the limit for small claims court.  (§ 34-8A-3)

 

 

New Mexico Eviction Cases Allowed in Small Claims:

No.  All eviction cases are heard at the district courts.

New Mexico Attorney General

New Mexico Bar Association

 

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