In New Mexico, a landlord’s obligation for providing a habitable living space is primarily governed by NM Stat § 47-8-20. This legal requirement, commonly known as the “implied warranty of habitability”, also outlines the rights of tenants when repairs are not made in a timely manner.
Applicable Dwelling Types in New Mexico
The implied warranty of habitability in New Mexico does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are and aren’t included.
|Dwelling Type||Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?|
|Mobile home parks||Not specifically addressed|
|Condos||If person in condo is renter, not owner|
Additionally, rental agreements are not allowed to include any provisions that waive the tenant’s right to live in a habitable residence.
Landlord Responsibilities in New Mexico
The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability. Not all of them are requirements in New Mexico, as indicated below.
Note: Some of the below items may not be addressed at the state level but may be addressed on a county or city level. Check your local housing codes to see which additional requirements may apply.
|Habitability Issue||Landlord Responsibility?|
|Provide windows and doors that are in good repair.||Not addressed|
|Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks.||Not addressed|
|Provide hot and cold running water.||Yes|
|Provide working HVAC equipment.||Yes|
|Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting.||Yes|
|Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cooking||Not addressed|
|Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet).||Yes|
|Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services).||Yes|
|Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe.||Not addressed|
|Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe.||Not addressed|
|Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean.||Not addressed|
|Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials.||Not addressed|
|Provide working smoke detectors||Not addressed|
|Provide a mailbox.||Not addressed|
|Provide working wiring for one telephone jack.||Not addressed|
|Provide working kitchen appliances.||No|
|Provide working carbon monoxide detector.||Not addressed|
|Provide a working washer/dryer.||No|
Landlords in New Mexico must comply with the minimum housing code requirements that materially affect the health and safety of tenants. Landlords are required to make repairs and keep the premises in a safe condition. In some instances, a landlord and tenant may agree, in writing, that the tenant may complete certain maintenance tasks and repairs.
Landlords are not required to provide appliances, but if they do, they must be in good working order.
In addition to the basic landlord responsibilities set out above, local housing codes also impose duties on landlords that tenants may enforce. Check your local housing code to know specific landlord responsibilities.
Tenant’s Rights to Repairs in New Mexico
If there are habitability issues that the landlord is required to maintain, the tenant has the right to request necessary repairs. Requests for repairs should be made in writing and the tenant must keep their own copy of the written notice.
- Sending Notice – The tenant’s written notice for repair must indicate specific issues that require repairs. It is ideal to send it by certified mail with return receipt or by regular mail. The landlord is given seven days to respond and to complete the required repairs.
- Landlord Access –Tenants are required to give the landlord access to the property to make necessary repairs. However, a landlord must give tenants 24 hours’ written notice unless the tenant no longer occupies the property or it’s an emergency.
Tenant’s Options if Repairs Aren’t Made in New Mexico
If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.
- Abatement of Rent – New Mexico landlord tenant law permits a tenant to withhold rent in response to habitability issues. If a repair needs to be made and there is no response from the landlord after seven days of notice was given, the tenant may withhold one-third of the pro-rata daily rent for each day the landlord does not remedy the violation. Note, this remedy does not include a failure or defect in an amenity. If the dwelling unit is unhabitable to the point where the tenant is no longer able to live there, the tenant may receive 100% of the rent until the violation is remedied.
- Repair and Deduct – There are no statutes allowing the tenant to repair and deduct rent for repair or maintenance purposes.
- Lawsuit – Tenants have the right to take legal action for damages resulting from habitability issues.
- Reporting to Public Officials – Landlords can be reported on a city or county level to housing inspectors if they are found to be in violation of any local housing codes.
Landlord Retaliation in New Mexico
It is illegal for a landlord to threaten to evict the tenant, raise the rent, or decrease services at the property for exercising their legal rights such as:
- Requesting repairs.
- Asking for a code inspector to examine the property for issues affecting health and safety.
- Abating rent.
- Complaining to the landlord about habitability issues.
The landlord’s action is considered retaliatory conduct if it occurred within six months of the tenant exercising a lawful right.