New Mexico Landlord Tenant Laws

New Mexico Landlord Tenant Laws

New Mexico Landlord Tenant Laws exist to govern and guide the relationship that exists between tenants and landlords. Having knowledge of these basic yet highly relevant laws will help you deal with any situation that may arise concerning renting out units as a landlord or renting a unit as a tenant. Below is a review of some of these important laws in the state of New Mexico:

The Required Landlord Disclosures and miscellaneous notes in New Mexico

Under New Mexico Landlord Tenant laws the owner of a rental unit(s) or the landlord is required to disclose the address, contact details (phone number) and the name of the person authorized to manage the rental unit(s) or stand on behalf of the owner of the premise. This is for purposes of receiving any notices and demands of the tenant (§ 47-8-19).

The landlord is also required to issue the tenant with a copy of the lease agreement before the commencement of the tenancy. The lease agreement may contain the duties of the landlord and those of a tenant which include (under the law):

The Duties of a Landlord (§ 47-8-20)

•    Compliance: the landlord is required to comply with the set laws/housing codes regarding health and safety;

•    Repairs: Make the necessary repairs needed to make the rental unit habitable and safe to live in;

•    Maintenance:  ensure that the following are well maintained and are kept in good working order: elevators, plumbing and electrical systems, air conditioning, sanitary areas and more.

•    Common Areas:  the landlord is also required to keep all common areas, which are shared by the tenants in a clean and safe condition.

The Duties of a tenant (§ 47-8-22)

•    Compliance: A tenant in New Mexico is required to comply with the laws and housing codes, which particularly affect health and safety;

•    Trash: the tenant is required to dispose of all garbage, rubbish, and other waste in a safe and clean manner;

•    Cleanliness: the tenant should keep the part of the premises he/she occupies in a clean and safe condition.  Upon the end of the tenancy, the tenant is also required to ensure that the rental unit he/she held is in a clean condition (with the exception of the normal wear and tear).

•    Appliances: the tenant should use all appliances including air conditioning systems, electrical and plumbing systems and more in a reasonable and safe manner.

•    Damage:  the tenant shall not deliberately or negligently damage, deface, destroy or remove any part of the rental unit or allow someone else to do so.

•    Quiet Enjoyment: the tenant is required to conduct him/herself in a manner that allows other residents /neighbors in the premises to enjoy their residency peacefully.

•    Rule Observance: tenants shall abide by all the rules and regulations, covenants and by-laws of any neighborhood association, cooperative housing agreement and condominium regime that are not inconsistent with the landlord’s duties and rights.

Damage:  the tenant shall not deliberately or negligently damage, deface, destroy or remove any part of the rental unit or allow someone else to do so.

New Mexico Laws on Security Deposits

New Mexico Landlord Tenant laws allow the landlord to collect a security deposit, to cover the cost of damages and repairs the landlord may have to cater for at the end of a rental lease agreement. Also, the deposit may be used to cover the utility costs and any outstanding rent owed to the landlord by the tenant.  This deposit is set at a maximum of one month’s rent for rental agreements whose duration is less than one year(§ 47-8-18).

For rental agreements that are annual and which the landlord requires a security deposit of more than a month’s rent, the landlord must pay an annual security deposit interest.  This interest must be equal to that permitted by the federal home loan bank board to the savings and loan associations.

The deadline for returning the security deposit to a tenant is 30 days upon the termination of tenancy. Also, the law requires the landlord to make an itemized list describing the damages done to a rental unit by the tenant, and the cost of these damages.

If a landlord fails to provide the tenant with a written list of deductions or to comply with the 30 days refund policy on security deposits (or the remaining balance of the deposit), then under the law the landlord forfeits the right to retain any part of the deposit for whatever reason. In such an event, the owner may also not bring up any counterclaim in the event action is brought by the tenant to recover the deposit. The landlord is, therefore, liable for any reasonable attorney fees or court costs that may be incurred by the tenant in a security deposit lawsuit.

Small Claims Lawsuits

Residents are allowed to sue landlords in the small claims court which is the metropolitan court located in Bernalillo County. The Magistrates Court may also hear such cases from the rest of the state. Only cases demanding for a maximum of $10,000 may be arbitrated upon by these courts (§ 34-8A-3).  Eviction notices can only be filled in the district or magistrate court.

Lease, Rent & Fees

According to (§ 47-8-15), the tenant is required to make timely rent payments on the date specified on the contract.  If a landlord needs to increase the rent amount or terminate the tenancy, he or she must give the tenant a 30-day written notice, if the lease agreement is a month-to-month one.  On the other hand, if the lease agreement is a fixed one then the landlord should issue 30 days notice before the end of the contract period. The late fees penalty is as defined in the lease agreement. However, these fees should not exceed 10 percent of the monthly, weekly or yearly rent that the tenant pays.

If the landlord fails to fulfill the stipulated obligations (as defined under the law and as per the rental agreement), the tenant is allowed under the New Mexico landlord-tenant legislation to withhold rent. However, no statute allows the tenant to repair and deduct rent for repair or maintenance purposes.

New Mexico Entry Laws

A landlord must give a seven-day notice/request to the tenant if he/she plans to enter the rental unit for purposes of repairs. A 24-hour notice is also required before entry by a landlord for other purposes such as inspection of the property by a public official, installation of services such as cable television and more. (§ 47-8-24)

The landlord may also issue a notice to the tenant to allow entry for purposes of showing the premises.  Entry is allowed without any prior notice in case of an emergency, under the New Mexico landlord tenant laws.

New Mexico landlord tenant laws can be of great help to a landlord or a tenant who is faced with a challenging legal situation. For instance, if you are a former tenant and your security deposit has not been reimbursed accordingly and on time, you will know which action to take when you have knowledge of these laws. These laws can also help you handle a situation on your own without necessarily having to consult a lawyer or seek any legal help.

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