New Mexico
Habitability Laws

QUICK FACTS
  • Landlord Responsibilities. Maintain in good working order all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, HVAC and other facilities and appliances supplied by the landlord (read more).
  • Making Repairs. Landlords are required to make and pay for repairs for items under their responsibility. They must do so within 7 days after receiving a written request from tenants (read more).
  • Tenant Options. If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, tenants can withhold rent, report the issue to a public official or file a lawsuit but does not have right to repair and deduct (read more).
  • Retaliation. If a landlord is reported to a local city or county inspector for housing code violations, it is illegal for a landlord to retaliate, such as by threatening eviction (read more).

The implied warranty of habitability in New Mexico does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are & aren’t included.

Dwelling Type Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single family Yes
Multi-family Yes
Fraternities/Sororities/Clubs No
RV parks No
Mobile home parks Not specifically addressed
Condos If person in condo is renter, not owner
Hotels/Motels Yes

Additionally, rental agreements are not allowed to include any provisions that waive the tenant’s right to live in a habitable residence.

Landlord Responsibilities

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

Appliances

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.

Making Repairs

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

If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.

  1. Withhold rent – New Mexico landlord tenant law permits a tenant to withhold rent in response to habitability issues.
  2. Repair and deduct – There are no statutes allowing the tenant to repair and deduct rent for repair or maintenance purposes.
  3. Lawsuit – Tenants have the right to take legal action for damages resulting from habitability issues.
  4. 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

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, or
  • 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.

Sources