Looking for clear and concise information on New Mexico landlord tenant law? Get all your answers from this plain English guide to the New Mexico Landlord Tenant Act.
The New Mexico Uniform Owner Resident Act applies if you are renting a residence, such as a house, apartment or mobile home. It does NOT cover hotels, motels or rent-to-own agreements. It also does NOT cover properties used for commercial, educational, farming, fraternal, medical or religious purposes. Housing provided by employers are also excluded from this Act. [NM 47-8-9]
The landlord can ask prospective tenants for application fees to cover the costs of background and credit checks. The fee amount should be reasonable - We recommend charging $25 to $30 per applicant. If the landlord did not run any tenant screening checks, the fees should be refunded.
Before running background or credit checks on tenant applicants, landlords must first obtain the applicant's written permission. [Fair Credit Reporting Act § 604(a)(3)(F)]
For landlords to run background and credit checks, the tenant application form needs to ask for the applicant's:
The federal Fair Housing Act disallows landlords from rejecting prospective renters based on their race, color, religion, nationality, sex, *familial status or physical/mental disability. *Familial status means landlords cannot reject someone for having one or more children under 18. Familial status also includes pregnant women and people planning to have (or adapt) children under 18.
In addition, New Mexico landlord tenant law disallows landlords from rejecting someone as a renter because of his or her ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity or marriage status.
A tenancy agreement (also known as a lease agreement or rental agreement) can be written or verbal.
The landlord and tenant can choose between a month to month tenancy or fixed term lease. For a month to month tenancy, the landlord or tenant can change its terms and conditions at the end of every month. For a fixed term lease, the landlord and tenant CANNOT change the lease terms and conditions during its duration... unless there is written consent from both parties.
In the absence of a rental agreement, the tenancy shall be month to
month by default. If the tenant pays rent every week, then the tenancy
shall be week to week. [NM 47-8-15.(c)]
New Mexico landlord tenant law requires all tenancy agreements to contain the following details:
According to New Mexico landlord tenant law, your lease agreement CANNOT:
If a landlord knowingly includes prohibited terms and conditions in the lease agreement, the tenant can sue the landlord for actual damages and attorney fees. [NM 47-8-17]
If the lease duration is one year or longer, New Mexico landlord tenant law does not limit the maximum amount of security deposit that the landlord can ask (as long as the tenant is agreeable).
If the security deposit exceeds one month's rent, the landlord shall have to pay the tenant interest on the deposit every year. The interest paid shall be equal to the passbook interest of savings and loans associations in New Mexico. [NM 47-8-18.(a)(1)]
If the lease duration is shorter than one year, the landlord can ask for up to one month's rent as security deposit. [NM 47-8-18.(a)(2)]
New Mexico landlord tenant law requires the landlord to inform the tenant of the terms and conditions for security deposit deductions. [NM 47-8-18.(c)]
Valid reasons for security deposit deductions (under New Mexico landlord tenant law) include:
The landlord is NOT allowed to take money from the security deposit due to damage from *normal wear and tear. *Normal wear and tear is the natural deterioration of the property (and its contents) from normal everyday use.
Once the lease terminates and the tenant returns the property, the landlord must send the tenant a list of security deposit deductions and refund any remaining deposit within 30 days. This list has to individually account for all damages and rent owed in writing.
If the landlord fails to follow New Mexico landlord tenant law for deducting and returning security deposit, the landlord shall [NM 47-8-18.(d)]:
In addition, the landlord has to pay the tenant $250 if he or she retained the deposit with ill intentions.
Albuquerque, New Mexico NM
The tenant has to pay the rent without demand or reminders. As long as the landlord and tenant are agreeable, they can choose the time, place and method of rent payment. [NM 47-8-15.(b)]
By default, rent is payable once the tenancy begins and shall be paid on the same day of every month. Rent is to be collected at the rental property.
If the landlord wants to impose late rent fees, it has to be specified in the tenancy agreement.
If the rental agreement allows late fees, the landlord can charge late fees up to 10% of the rent amount. [NM 47-8-15.(d)]
According to the New Mexico Landlord Tenant Act, the landlord can choose to raise the rent by any amount. [NM 47-8-15.(f)]
For a month to month tenancy, the landlord has to notify the tenant of a rent increase at least 30 days in advance. In the case of a periodic tenancy less than one month, the notice provided must be at least one rental period in advance of the first rental payment to be increased.
For a fixed term tenancy, the landlord isn't allowed to raise the rent until the tenancy expires. The landlord must give 30 days advance notice before the end of the rental term to the tenant before raising the rent.
The New Mexico Landlord Tenant Act requires the landlord to maintain the property in a safe and habitable condition [NM 47-8-20]:
New Mexico landlord tenant law also requires the tenant to keep the property in a clean and safe condition [NM 47-8-22]:
If the landlord fails to maintain property and it affects health and safety , the tenant has two choices:
1. The tenant can terminate the lease
The tenant must give the landlord a written notice stating the problem and giving the landlord seven days to fix it, or else the tenant will move out. [NM 47-8-27.1]
If the problem is fixed within seven days (of the landlord receiving this notice), the tenancy shall continue. If the problem isn't fixed, the tenancy will terminate and the landlord shall return the security deposit and prepaid rents (after deductions) to the tenant.
2. The tenant can stop paying part or all of the rent until repairs are made
The tenant must give the landlord a written notice stating the problem and giving the landlord seven days to fix it. [NM 47-8-27.2]
If the problem isn't fixed within seven days, the tenant can stop paying 1/3 less rent (prorated daily) until repairs are made. This rent reduction shall begin from the day the landlord was informed of the problems.
Whether the tenant chooses to terminate the lease or withhold rent, he or she can also sue the landlord for damages and obtain a court order (that requires the landlord to do, or stop doing something).
According to New Mexico landlord tenant law, the landlord is only allowed to enter the property for the following reasons [NM 47-8-24.(a)]:
In the above situations, the landlord must inform the tenant at least 24 hours in advance before entering the property. The landlord can only enter the property with the tenant's consent and during reasonable hours. [NM 47-8-24.(a)(1)]
According to New Mexico landlord tenant law, the landlord may enter the property without permission in the following situations [NM 47-8-24]:
The tenant cannot deny access if the landlord has a valid reason to enter the property. Otherwise the landlord can EITHER
In addition, the landlord can also sue the tenant for actual damages. [NM 47-8-24.(e)] [NM 47-8-38]
The landlord must have a valid reason and obtain the tenant's permission (whenever required) to enter the property. If the landlord fails to do so or harasses the tenant, the tenant can EITHER
In addition, the tenant can also sue the landlord for actual damages. [NM 47-8-24.(f)]
There are no specific New Mexico landlord tenant laws on subletting.
We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:
Santa Fe, New Mexico NM
Before terminating a tenancy, New Mexico landlord tenant law requires you to give the other party a written notice to quit in advance [NM 47-8-37]:
Week to week tenancy
Month to month tenancy
If you are the tenant, the following are the minimum number of days for giving your landlord a notice to quit:
Property damage due to fire, disaster or unavoidable accident
If the property is badly damaged by fire, disasters or unavoidable accidents, the tenant can immediately move out and stop paying rent. The tenancy shall terminate once the tenant moves out. After moving out, the tenant must inform the landlord that he or she intends to terminate the tenancy within seven days. [NM 47-8-31]
After the tenant moves out, the landlord must return the security deposit (after any deductions) to the tenant. The tenant won't have to pay rent starting from the date of the fire or disaster, so the landlord must also return any prepaid rent to the tenant.
If only part of the property is damaged, the tenant should move out of the damaged area. The rent amount will be lowered based on how much of the property is still livable.
According to New Mexico landlord tenant law, the following are valid reasons for evicting tenants and the minimum number of days for giving them a notice to quit:
Tenant did not pay rent
Tenant violated tenancy agreement or didn't perform duties
If the tenant did not pay rent on time, the landlord can send the tenant a three day written notice to terminate the tenancy. This notice must state the amount of rent owed and inform the tenant that he or she can choose to pay or move out.
-If the rent is paid within three days, the tenant may stay. [NM 47-8-33.(d)]
If the tenant violates the tenancy agreement in a *significant manner, the landlord can send the tenant a seven day written notice to terminate the tenancy. *Significant manner refers to situations that affects human health and safety.
Similarly if the tenant fails to perform his or her duties (as required by New Mexico landlord tenant law) in a significant manner, the landlord can also send the tenant a seven day written notice to terminate the tenancy.
This written notice has to state what is the tenant's violation or failure in duty. If the tenant corrects the problem within seven days, the tenant may stay.
However if the tenant violates the tenancy agreement (or fails in his or her duty) in a similar manner within six months, the landlord can evict the tenant by sending him or her a written seven day notice. In this case, the tenant must move out. [NM 47-8-33.(b)]
According to New Mexico landlord tenant law, the landlord CANNOT threaten or force the tenant off by the property with the following methods [NM 47-8-36]:
If the landlord forces the tenant to move out with the above methods, the tenant won't have to pay rent during the period he or she is denied property access or essential services.
The tenant can choose to either regain possession of the property or terminate the tenancy agreement. In addition, the tenant may also sue the landlord for two month's rent plus actual damages. [NM 47-8-36.(c)]
According to New Mexico landlord tenant law, the tenant has abandoned the property when BOTH conditions are met:
If the tenant abandoned the property and left his or her personal belongings behind, the landlord must inform the tenant where the belongings are stored AND give the tenant at least 30 days to remove them. [NM 47-8-34.1.(a)]
The landlord has to send the tenant a written notice stating when the landlord intends to dispose the belongings (after 30 days) and include the landlord's phone number and address. This notice must be sent by first class mail to the tenant's last known address. If the notice is returned as undeliverable, the landlord has to resend it to the tenant's work address, family member or emergency contact.
If the tenant claims the belongings (before the deadline), the landlord can charge the tenant for their moving and storage costs.
If the belongings are worth less than $100, the landlord can dispose them in any manner. [NM 47-8-34.1.(e)]
If the belongings are worth more than $100, the landlord can EITHER:
New Mexico Landlord Tenant Law: New Mexico Uniform Owner Resident Relations Act
New Mexico Landlord Tenant Handbook: New Mexico Legal Aid Renter's Guide