New Mexico is considered a state with competitivity regarding rental opportunities; this is because there's a lower amount of rentals and a higher amount of tenants looking for a place to live. In essence, landlords can take this information and use it to provide better offers to their prospective tenants, all while following the New Mexico landlord tenant laws.
While New Mexico's rental market can be complicated to handle due to the grade of competitiveness, it can be easier to manage if landlords follow the state's landlord-tenant laws. On this page, we're going to provide a general overview of these laws so that all the parties involved in a rental agreement know what to do at all times.
Is New Mexico Considered a Landlord-Friendly State?
Yes, this state is considered landlord-friendly since landlords have more freedom while managing rent prices and leasing conditions. On the other hand, the rental market in New Mexico is highly competitive, allowing landlords to promote their properties to more prospective tenants.
What Can Be Included in a Rental Agreement in New Mexico?
According to the New Mexico Statutes (Chapter 47) and the New Mexico Uniform Owner-Resident Relations Act, a written rental agreement is required for leases longer than one year. If the lease term is less than one year, the lease may be oral. However, it's always recommended for New Mexico landlords to use written agreements regardless of the lease duration.
Written leases are better because they can be used as physical proof of everything that was agreed upon between landlords and tenants. In case of a legal dispute in a court of law, both parties may exercise their rights with the written lease as proof.
Generally, rental agreements in New Mexico must provide the following clauses as a foundation:
- Description of the leased property.
- Information of all the parties involved.
- Subleasing terms (If applicable).
- Rent conditions (Cost, late fees, grace periods, etc.)
- Person responsible for repairs and utility bills.
What Are Landlords' Rights and Responsibilities?
The New Mexico landlord-tenant law provides additional insight into what rules and obligations New Mexico landlords have to follow to comply with the law. In this section, we're going to go over the general guidelines on what landlords must do to keep a healthy leasing relationship with their tenants.
Landlords have the right to collect rent payments when they're due, collect security deposits and use them to cover damages that exceed normal wear and tear and keep a calm and safe environment for other tenants and neighbors.
Generally, New Mexico landlords must provide a safe rental unit that complies with local health and safety codes. On the other hand, a landlord must give the unit requested repairs if they're demanded by the tenant. If the landlord fails to respond to these requests promptly (Seven days maximum), New Mexico tenants may seek legal advice or action against them.
Finally, every landlord in New Mexico is responsible for keeping the appliances of their rental unit in a safe condition; this includes air conditioning, electrical, sanitary, heating, plumbing, and ventilating systems.
What Are Tenants' Rights and Responsibilities?
Every New Mexico tenant has the legal right to seek proper and fair housing without any kind of discrimination against them. The New Mexico landlord-tenant law also allows them to request required repairs for the unit (If it needs them). If the landlord fails to comply within seven days of the request, they may seek alternative options.
First, the New Mexico tenant must pay rent on time to live in the rental property without any issues. Besides that, they must comply with the following tasks:
- Keep the property in a habitable condition.
- Not disturb other people near the unit.
- Make small repairs when required.
New Mexico Landlord-Tenant Law - General Clauses
Now that you know what the tenant and landlord must do to comply with New Mexico laws, it's time that you get a deeper insight into the clauses that most rental agreements include. You can find more information on these clauses on the New Mexico Statutes and the Uniform Owner-Resident Relations Act.
According to the New Mexico landlord-tenant law, landlords can charge as much as they want for rent since there are no rent control policies in any city. On the other hand, rent is payable at the beginning of each month (unless the landlord states otherwise).
While landlords don't have to provide the tenant a receipt for rent payments, it's good practice to do so. Finally, the landlord is required to give the tenant at least 30 days' notice before increasing the rent on week-to-week or month-to-month leases. On fixed-term leases, the landlord may increase rent 30 days before the rental period ends.
Fees and Grace Periods
If the landlord is planning to charge late fees to their tenant, their value cannot be higher than 10% of the cost of monthly rent due. It's the landlord's duty to notify their tenant of these rent fees.
As for grace periods for rent, state laws don't specify anything, meaning that the landlord may charge rent fees as soon as the rent is late.
Security deposits work as a safety measure for the landlord. A deposit is mainly used to cover unforeseen expenses, such as unpaid rent, unpaid bills, or excessive damages to the property.
If the lease is one year or less, the security deposit amount cannot be higher than the cost of one month s rent. On the other side, the security deposit can be higher than the monthly rent cost if the lease is longer. In these cases, landlords must give the tenant an annually earned interest.
According to the New Mexico landlord-tenant law, a security deposit receipt is not required, but if the landlord wants to give one to the tenant, they're free to do it.
Security Deposit Return
In most cases, the landlord must return the security deposit to the tenant within 30 days of the tenant leaving the property. If the tenant doesn't receive the deposit within 30 days, they may seek legal action. Keep in mind that the landlord cannot withhold a security deposit from the tenant without reason.
If the landlord wants to keep part of the security deposit, they must make an itemized list of deductions and give it to the tenant.
Generally, a landlord may withhold a deposit for one of the following reasons:
- Unpaid utilities or rent.
- Excessive damage to the property.
- Damage caused by the tenant as a breach of the lease agreement.
Security Deposit Interest
If the deposit value is higher than the cost of one month of rent, the landlord has to pay interest. The rate for the deposit interest has to be equal to the passbook interest allowed to loan and savings associations in the state by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board.
Last but not least, the landlord can legally commingle the deposit with other funds. However, it's always recommended to keep it in a separate account.
Lease Termination and Evictions
As the New Mexico landlord-tenant laws specify, the tenant may terminate the lease agreement when it ends. However, they must make sure that they provide the following amounts of written notice:
- Week-to-Week Leases: Seven days' notice
- Month-to-Month Leases: 30 days' notice.
- Quarter-to-Quarter Leases: Non-applicable.
- Year-to-Year Leases: Non-applicable.
On the other hand, the tenant may terminate the lease early under the following conditions:
- Early termination clause.
- Active military duty.
- Unacceptable living conditions.
New Mexico landlord-tenant laws on evictions state that the landlord can evict their tenant for three main reasons; these reasons (as well as the minimum written notice required) can be found below:
- Breach in the Lease: Seven-day notice to cure or quit. (If the tenant breaches the lease agreement again within the next six months, the landlord can file a seven-day notice to quit).
- Nonpayment of Rent: Three-day notice to pay or quit.
- Criminal Activity: Unconditional three days of notice to quit.
In the case of at-will tenants, the law states that they must receive 30 days of notice or seven days of notice, depending on the type of lease.
See our full guide on the eviction process and laws for New Mexico.
The New Mexico landlord-tenant laws are a great place to start if you're planning on renting your property the right way. Each case is unique, but if you follow the base rules, you're likely to have a safe and calm experience throughout the tenancy.
If you need specific legal advice for your case, make sure to contact a lawyer or real estate manager.
Does the landlord have to disclose any information to the tenant about lead paint?
The tenant may request information regarding lead-based paint if the property was built before 1978. In these cases, the landlord has to send that information, as well as a copy of EPA's pamphlet.
Does the landlord have the right to enter the property in New Mexico?
In most landlord-tenant clauses, the landlord has to provide a specific amount of notice before they enter the property. In the case of New Mexico, the landlord has to provide 24 hours' notice before they enter (Although the amount of notice may be increased by the landlord).
What is the limit for a small claims court in New Mexico?
A small claims court in this state can hear rental cases of up to $10,000. It's important to note that these courts don't handle eviction cases.
Is there housing discrimination in New Mexico?
According to the Fair Housing Act and the New Mexico landlord-tenant laws, the tenant cannot be discriminated against for their sexual orientation, national origin, religion, disability, race, color, or sex.