In New Mexico, a lease exists wherever there is an agreement to exchange rent for inhabiting property. According to New Mexico law (NM ST 47-8), this agreement grants certain rights to the tenant such as the right to a habitable dwelling and the right to seek out housing without discrimination.
Landlords also have rights, such as the right to collect rent in a timely manner and the right to be reimbursed for costs from damages that exceed normal use.
Note: These rights exist regardless of a rental agreement stating otherwise.
In addition to the below, check your local county and municipality for additional land-lord tenant regulations.
Landlord Responsibilities in New Mexico
Landlords in New Mexico are required to provide a safe and habitable living space and make requested repairs in a reasonable amount of time (7 days). If they do not, the New Mexico tenants are empowered to take one form of alternative action—they may withhold rent.
Here is a list of essential amenities that New Mexico landlords are or are not responsible for.
|Electrical wiring and outlets||Yes|
|Plumbing and sanitation||Yes|
|Elevators (in multi-unit buildings)||Yes|
|Bed bugs||Depends on local law|
Landlords are not permitted to evict tenants in retaliation for exercising their right to habitable housing.
Tenant Responsibilities in New Mexico
Apart from paying rent on-time promptly, New Mexico tenants must:
- Keep the unit clean and in habitable condition
- Perform minor repairs or maintenance
- Keep fixtures clean
- Not disturb other tenants or neighbors
Evictions in New Mexico
New Mexico landlords may evict tenants for the following reasons:
- Nonpayment of rent – If a tenant fails to pay rent, then the landlord may issue a 3-Day Notice to Pay or Quit. If the tenant still does not pay, then the landlord may file a Summons and Complaint suit.
- Lease violation – If a lease violation occurs, then the landlord may issue a 7-Day Notice to Cure or Quit. If the tenant does not fix their behavior or evict the premises, then the landlord may file for eviction. If the tenant commits the same violation within 6 months, the landlord can issue an unconditional 7-Day Notice to Quit.
- Illegal acts – If a landlord has documentation of illegal activity on the property, then they may file a 3-Day Notice to Quit. Illegal actions that warrant eviction include possessing or distributing illegal drugs, committing assault or theft, sexual abuse, or causing more than $1,000 in property damage.
At-will tenants are entitled to receive either 30 days’ notice or 7 days’ notice if they pay on a month-to-month or week-to-week basis. New Mexico landlords are also prohibited from eviction tenants in retaliation or for discriminatory reasons.
Security Deposits in New Mexico
- Standard Limit/Maximum Amount – 1 month (for leases 1 year or less).
- Time Limit for Returns – 30 Days.
- Penalty if Not Returned on Time – If a landlord wrongfully withholds a security deposit then the tenant may take legal action and sue for damages.
- Allowable Deductions – Unpaid rent or utility bills and repairs for damages that exceed normal wear and tear.
Lease Termination in New Mexico
Notice requirements. If a tenant on a periodic lease wants to break that lease, they must give the following amount of advanced notice.
|Rent Payment Frequency||Notice Needed|
Early termination. Tenants in New Mexico are legally allowed to break a lease for the following reasons:
- Early termination clause
- Active military duty
- Unit is uninhabitable
- Landlord harassment
Tenants who break a lease early may be required to pay the remainder of their lease term. Landlords in New Mexico are obligated to assist the re-renting process.
Rent Increases & Related Fees in New Mexico
- Rent control. New Mexico law prohibits rent control on a state or local level. Thus, landlords are allowed to charge whatever they want for rent.
- Rental increases. New Mexico does not limit by how much landlords can raise rent, but landlords are required to give notice commensurate to how frequently a tenant pays rent.
- Rent-related fees. The state limits late fees to 10% of the price of rent for that period. The state also limits returned check fees to $25.
Housing Discrimination in New Mexico
Protected groups. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, familial status, religion, or disability. These rules do not extend to owner-occupied homes or homes owned by religious organizations. New Mexico state also adds extra protections based on ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity, or spousal affiliation.
Discriminatory acts & penalties. There does not seem to be one single agency that handles discrimination in housing issues. However, state-published resources have highlighted the following acts as potentially discriminatory when directed at a member or a protected group:
- Refusing to rent or sell on a bona fide offer
- Offering different terms, conditions, or privileges
- Falsely denying unit availability
- Publishing advertisements that imply a preference for one group over others
- Steering renters into certain neighborhoods
- Denying certain financial services
- Encouraging buying/selling behavior of the grounds of neighborhood “demographic change”
- Failing to provide reasonable accommodations
Tenants who experience discrimination in housing may file a complaint with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. If the complaint is found to be justified, the tenant may use the findings as the basis of a civil suit.
Additional Landlord Tenant Regulations in New Mexico
Landlord Right to Entry in New Mexico
Landlords in New Mexico must provide at least 24 hours’ written notice before entering an inhabited property. Lease agreements can increase this amount but not decrease it. New Mexico landlords are assumed to not need permission to enter during emergencies.
Small Claims Court in New Mexico
New Mexico small claims court will hear rent-related cases valued up to $10,000, however, small claims court will not hear eviction cases. The statute of limitations for oral and written contracts in New Mexico is 4 and 6 years, respectively.
Mandatory Disclosures in New Mexico
New Mexico landlords must make 2 mandatory disclosures:
- Lead-based paint. Landlords who own homes built after 1978 must provide information about concentrations of lead paint.
- Authorized agents. Landlords must also provide all the names and addresses of parties involved in owning and managing the property.
Changing the Locks in New Mexico
New Mexico law does not specify when tenants can change the locks. The law does explicitly forbid landlords from changing the locks as a form of eviction.
Local Laws in New Mexico
Albuquerque Landlord Tenant Rights
The city of Albuquerque has several ordinances that make tenants more responsible for keeping their units clean. The city’s housing code also requires landlords to make sure doors and windows are reasonably watertight. More information about the city’s housing code can be found here.