Being a NM property management company, the well-being of our tenants is extremely important. Landlord-tenant laws in New Mexico help protect the tenant’s rights. Whether you live in the heart of Albuquerque or way out in Columbus, you probably want to avoid all the pitfalls associated with becoming a tenant. So, we have created a short guide on renters laws to help you out.
In addition to federal and local laws, New Mexico has a number of unique laws governing the landlord-tenant relationship.
Looking to rent in New Mexico? Below are tenant rights you need to know of.
New Mexico Tenant’s Right to Fair Housing
In New Mexico, you are protected by the Federal Fair Housing Act. The Federal Fair Housing Act protects you from discrimination based on:
- Familial Status
- National Origin
Furthermore, New Mexico also has its own Human Rights Act. The classes of people protected by the Act are based on:
- Spousal affiliation
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity
How can you recognize housing discrimination in New Mexico?
The following are some of the most common discriminatory practices:
- Different terms/conditions: Discriminating in the enforcement of rules, security deposits, rental amounts, etc.
- Refusing to deal: Refusing to sell, negotiate, rent, lease, or exchange for a dwelling for discriminatory reasons.
- Disability discrimination: discriminating against or failing to make reasonable accommodations for disabled persons.
- Blockbusting: Engaging in panic-selling by representing that the racial composition of a neighborhood is going to change.
- Steering: Directing anyone’s rental property or homes in a specific area for discriminatory reasons.
New Mexico Renter’s Right to the Security Deposit
There are certain rules and regulation for security deposits in New Mexico’s landlord-tenant law. A security deposit is money a tenant pays the landlord at the beginning of a tenancy to cover any damage when the tenancy ends.
Security Deposit Amount
For leases less than a year long, a landlord isn’t expected to collect a security deposit that exceeds one month’s rent. You should, however, pay more if the lease exceeds one year.
Security Deposit Deductions
Landlords must reimburse all or part of the security deposit after you have departed. This should be done within 30 days after the termination of the rental agreement or your departure. The landlord can make deductions for unpaid rent, unpaid utilities, damages above normal wear and tear, and other breaches of the lease.
- Cleanliness: As a renter, you’re required to keep the property clean and in safe condition
- Damage: You shouldn’t negligently or deliberately remove, destroy, deface or damage any part of the rental unit.
- Appliances: You should use all appliances including plumbing, electrical, and air conditioning systems in a safe and reasonable manner.
- Compliance: You’re required to comply with all New Mexico rental laws and housing codes, which particularly affect safety and health.
- Rule observance: You should abide by all rules and regulations. Including cooperative housing agreement, covenants, or laws of any neighborhood association not inconsistent with rights and duties of a landlord.
New Mexico Tenant’s Right to Notice before Landlord Entry
Landlords must give tenants a 24-hours’ notice before they enter a tenant’s apartment. Reasons a landlord can enter a tenant’s unit include:
- To show the unit to prospective tenants
- To supply necessary or requested services`
- To make necessary or requested alterations
- To make necessary or requested improvements
- To inspect the unit
The notice the landlord writes to you should include:
- Their purpose for entering the unit
- A reasonable time frame of requested entry, and;
- Date of requested entry
In New Mexico, a landlord reserves the right to increase rent. Be that as it may, this can only happen at the end of the existing lease term. A 30-day notice is required for month-to-month leases before the rent is increased.
For week-to-week lease terms, the landlord must give a 7-day notice before termination of the lease. Leases that last a year or more require the landlord to wait until the expiry of the entire term.
New Mexico Renters' Rights after Landlord Retaliation
Landlords are prohibited from performing any of the following retaliatory actions:
- Filing to evict a tenant
- Decreasing services to the renter
- Increasing a tenant’s rent
If a landlord is found guilty of retaliation, any of following could happen:
- The landlord could be forced to pay a civil penalty that is twice your monthly rent
- You could be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs
You will also remain to be a tenant in the premises for the remaining period of the lease.
Navigating landlord-tenant issues can be a daunting task, more so when you have to work with so many New Mexico rental laws. However, knowledge of these laws could really help you handle a situation on your own without necessarily consulting an attorney.