Landlords should familiarize themselves with the statewide rules and procedures that govern evictions in the state of New Mexico and understand their responsibilities.
Quick Facts for New Mexico
- Grounds for Eviction: Failure to pay rent, allowing others to live on property without landlord’s consent, using property for illegal purposes, creating threat/danger to others’ health & safety, causing substantial property damage, causing excessive or repetitive disturbance to other tenants, having unauthorized pets
- Notice Required for Nonpayment of Rent: 3-Day Notice to Pay or Quit
- Notice Required for Eviction without Cause: 7- and 30-Day Notice to Quit (for weekly & monthly renter, respectively)
- Notice Required for Lease Violations: 7-Day Notice to Cure or Quit
- Fastest a Landlord Can Evict for Illegal Acts: 3 days, via Notice to Quit
How Long Does it Take to Evict a Tenant in New Mexico?
The eviction process in the state of New Mexico is a multi-step undertaking that may end in legal action. Any landlord seeking to regain possession of his/her rental process is required to follow a specific procedure. In the state of New Mexico, the eviction process begins with the landlord informing his/her tenant with written documentation of his/her intention of discontinue the rental relationship. This information is conveyed by a notice. The amount of time the tenant is given to remedy any issues and/or vacate the rental property will depend upon the issue leading the landlord to seek an eviction.
The amount of time indicated in the notice sent to the tenant may range in time from three to thirty days. If the tenant fails to correct the issue or vacate the rental property, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Summons and Complaint with the appropriate district or magistrate court.
Once the process enters the court, the eviction process is prone to suffer delays typical to legal proceedings. Due to the range in the amount of time a landlord is required to provide a tenant prior to proceeding with the eviction process and the tempo of legal proceedings, the amount of time it may take to evict a tenant is difficult to predict.
Ultimately, the amount of time that an eviction will take in the state of New Mexico will depend upon the reason the landlord is seeking to remove the tenant and the tenant’s willingness to fight the eviction.
Reasons for Eviction in New Mexico
In the state of New Mexico, a landlord may seek the eviction of a client for a variety of reasons. Legitimate reasons for seeking the eviction of a tenant in New Mexico include:
- Failure to pay rent
- Allowing others to live on the property without the consent of the landlord
- Using the property for illegal purposes
- Creating threat or danger to the health and safety of others
- Causing substantial damage to the property
- Causing excessive or repetitive disturbance to other tenants
- Having unauthorized pets
Regardless of the reason a landlord is seeking to evict a tenant in the state of New Mexico, he/she is required to begin the process by providing the tenant with a written notice.
Eviction for Failure to Pay Rent
In the state of New Mexico, a landlord is required to provide the tenant with a 3-Day Notice to Pay or Quit (N.M.S.A. 47-8-33(D). If the tenant fails to pay rent or move from the property by then end of the third day after service of the notice, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Summons and Complaint with the appropriate district or magistrate court.
Eviction if Rent has Been Paid
Even if rent has been paid in a timely fashion, a landlord may evict an “at-will” tenant (tenant renting without the benefit of a written lease) in the state of New Mexico. However, the landlord is required to provide the tenant with written notice of his/her intention to discontinue the rental arrangement, in accordance with New Mexico law, prior to proceeding with the eviction process.
Evicting a Tenant For Violation of Rental Agreement/Lease
When a tenant has violated the terms of the lease or rental agreement, in the state of New Mexico, the landlord is required to provide the tenant with a written 7-Day Notice to Cure or Quit (N.M.S.A. 47-8-33(A). This notice must include specific information regarding the issue at hand. If the tenant fails to remedy the violation or vacate the rental property, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Summons and Complaint with the appropriate district or magistrate court.
If a tenant violates the terms of the lease or rental agreement a second time within six months, the landlord may provide the tenant with a 7-Day Notice to Quit. The landlord is not required to offer the tenant the opportunity to remedy issues related to the violation of the terms of the rental agreement, unless they occur more than six months apart. It the tenant remains on the property after the date indicated in the notice, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
Evicting a Tenant for Illegal Behavior
When a tenant commits a serious offense on or near the rental property (within 300 feet of the property), the landlord may issue a 3-Day Notice to Quit to the tenant. Behaviors than may lead to a 3-Day Notice to Quit include:
- Making, possessing, or distributing illegal drugs
- Using an illegal weapon unless this use was for the purpose of self-defense
- Causing physical harm to another person
- Committing sexual assault or molestation
- Entering another person’s home or vehicle with the intention of committing assault or theft
- Causing more than $1000 damage to the rental property
If the tenant fails to vacate the rental property within the amount of time provided the landlord may proceed with the eviction process. It should be noted that although it is not required that the tenant be convicted of illegal behavior for the landlord to seek to evict him/her for illegal behavior, the landlord is required to prove his/her charge when seeking an eviction in court.
How Does a Landlord Evict a Tenant When There is no Lease?
In the state of New Mexico, a landlord may seek to evict a tenant who is renting without the benefit of a written lease, referred to as an “at-will” tenant, without cause.
If the “at-will” tenant is renting month-to-month, the landlord is required to provide him/her with a written 30-Day Notice to Quit, before proceeding with the eviction process. If the tenant is renting weekly, the landlord is required to provide a written 7-Day Notice to Quit.
If the tenant fails to vacate the rental property in the time allowed in the notice, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Summons and Complaint with the appropriate district or magistrate court.
When Can a Tenant Not Be Evicted in New Mexico?
In the state of New Mexico, it is illegal for a landlord to attempt to evict a tenant based on his/her gender, race, religion, nation of origin, familial status, disability status, color, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, or ancestry. It is also illegal in this state for a landlord to attempt to evict a tenant for exercising his/her renter rights.
Once a Notice has Expired
The landlord may filing a Summons and Complaint with the appropriate court. The court will serve the tenant with a copy of the complaint and a hearing will be scheduled. A hearing is generally held between seven and ten days after the tenant is served with legal papers. If the tenant wishes to challenge the eviction, he/she must appear at the hearing.
Once Eviction Occurs
If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, the tenant may have to pay the landlord’s court costs and attorney fees.
According to New Mexico law, a landlord is required to keep any of the tenant’s personal property for three days following the tenant’s physical eviction from the property. After three days, the landlord may sell the tenant’s abandoned property. The landlord may keep up to $100 gained by the sale of the property. If the sale results in more than $100 in excess of the cost of moving and storing the property, all proceeds over $100 once the cost of moving and storing is covered must be given to the tenant.
Make sure to read the New Mexico Statutes Annotated §§ 47-8-33, 47-8-34.1 & 47-8-37 before starting the eviction process. Landlords should make sure to educate themselves on their rights and responsibilities on this topic.