New Mexico landlords have quite the job on their hands where locking in good tenants is concerned. Real estate investors who go the rental property route are acutely aware of the difficulties that can come up.
While there are many good tenants, others are nothing short of a nightmare. Therefore, collecting the right information to properly get the screening process going is non-negotiable.
What should you ask for, though? What protected classes of information should you avoid? Are there federal and state laws that you need to keep in mind when creating your New Mexico rental application form? All the answers await you below!
Rental Application Forms
A New Mexico rental application can come in one of two flavors. The first is the standard or general application, which most landlords will use.
There is also the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) application, which applies to landlords in New Mexico who are offering Section 8 housing.
What To Include
Property management is a very layered concept. There is the premises management element, but there is also the tenant selection side of things. To give yourself an advantage, think of the details that you would want to capture to ensure the smoothest and most comprehensive tenant screening process possible.
This may lead you to seek some of the more common nuggets of information including:
- Personal data
- Income details
- Employment information
- Rental history
- Written consent for background checks
Additionally, certain disclosures must be present on a New Mexico rental application form. These include:
- Condition of the property
- Potential hazards
- Smoke policy
- Security deposit requirements
- Application fee and any other charges
- Shared utility situations
What Not To Include
Though it's important to have the rental application process be as efficient as possible at collecting the necessary details, there are some limitations on what can be requested. That's because the Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) has outlawed these requests since they would constitute discrimination if used to accept or deny a rental property applicant.
The protected classes of information are:
- Disability status
- Familial status
At the state level, New Mexico offers protection from queries concerning ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status, and gender identity.
As is the case in many other states, there is no limit to what a landlord can charge as a fee during the New Mexico rental application process. However, you shouldn't think of this as a free pass to charge potential tenants whatever you want. The application fee should still be reasonable.
When a New Mexico rental application is approved, the landlord will collect a security deposit as a part of the agreement. State laws put a cap on what these security deposits can look like. If the rental agreement is less than a year, only one month's rent can be charged.
However, for agreements that go beyond the one-year mark, there is no limit imposed. While this sounds good, you need to be careful of going beyond the one month's rent price tag.
Any security deposits that exceed the figure will see the landlord needing to pay "tenant annual interest" to the renter.
Eviction Record Searches
During a New Mexico rental application process, the landlord may wish to check on any evictions that happened before. This information is held for up to seven years and attracts a fee to access. An interested landlord would need to visit the New Mexico Courts Case Lockup to find such information.
Types of Background Checks
Whenever an applicant fills out a New Mexico rental application form, you will want to do a background check to make an informed decision on whether that person should get the property to rent or not.
The first background check type is the criminal history check. As the name implies, this one will allow the landlord to get a window into the legal record of a tenant hopeful. The criminal history report will span a state and federal-level review, even checking national registry databases.
Next, there there is the credit check. According to the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), written consent must be given by an applicant during the New Mexico rental application process before this can be done. The report here will give insight into past credit inquiries that have been made, current credit score, as well as income and past address details.
Finally, there is the rental history check, which is the eviction history check described in the previous section.
Adverse Action Notices
If you wish to take adverse action against a tenant hopeful after receiving one of the background check reports mentioned above, there is a legal process. A document known as an adverse action notice will need to be prepared, which details the findings, the agency responsible for the report, and the intended action.
Adverse actions include raising the rent or deposit, rejecting the rental application form, or requiring a second signatory though none was required before.
The potential tenant has a six-month window if there is any intention to file a dispute about the matter.
Build Your Own
When landlords in New Mexico accept an applicant as a tenant, a lease agreement will need to be signed. You can use any of these convenient options:
Landlords in New Mexico must be extremely meticulous in selecting a tenant to rent an owned property. Both the landlord's requirements and legal obligations must be satisfied in doing so, plus there's the tenant screening process, which can also be tedious.
Thankfully, DoorLoop is here to help landlords in this regard. Take advantage of form customization, tenant screening, listing, and other services to help you find your ideal applicant!
Do New Mexico Laws Require a Landlord to Communicate Screening Criteria?
Yes. Based on NM Stat § 7-1-4.4, a tenant hopeful must receive a notice of eligibility, which is a document that lays out the screening considerations. A signature of acknowledgment must be provided by the applicant to formally indicate that the provision was made.
Are Application Fees Refundable?
No. Landlords in New Mexico are not required to refund application fees, regardless of the amount.
Will a Credit History Report Provide Anything Beyond Credit Score Details?
Yes. The report will document income status, previous credit inquiries, past addresses, and other details that landlords may find useful.