New Mexico Rental Laws

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This article summarizes some key New Mexico landlord-tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

The Official State Statutes and other reputable municipal sources were used to research this information. All sources are cited appropriately.

With that said, landlord-tenant laws are always changing, and may even vary from county to county.  You have a responsibility to perform your own research and cautiously apply the laws to your unique situation.

If you have a legal question or concern, I only recommend contacting a licensed attorney referral service that is operated by a local or state bar association. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice.

Official Rules and Regulations

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: Statute allows landlords to demand “reasonable” deposits. For rental agreements of less than one year, landlord is not allowed to demand deposits that exceed one month’s rent. (§ 47-8-18(A))
  • Security Deposit Interest: For annual rental agreements that require a deposit of more than one month’s rent, landlords must pay annually to the tenant interest on the deposit equal to the passbook interestpermitted to savings and loan associations by the federal home loan bank board. (§ 47-8-18(A)(1))
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: No statute
  • Pet Deposits: No statute
  • Non-Refundable Fees: No statute
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 30 days from termination of tenancy or move-out, whichever is later (§ 47-8-18(D))
  • Permitted Uses of the Deposit: A security deposit may only be used for:
    • Payment of rent and utility costs owed; and
    • Damages landlord has suffered due to tenant’s noncompliance with either the rental agreement or statutory Tenant Obligations. (§ 47-8-18(C))
  • Require Written Description/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes (§ 47-8-18(D))
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No statute
  • Receipt of Deposit: No statute
  • Failure to Comply: If landlord fails to provide a written statement of deposit deductions and the remaining balance within 30 days of the end of a tenancy, landlord forfeits the right to withhold any portion of the deposit, forfeits the right to assert any counterclaim in any action brought to recover that deposit, becomes liable for court costs and reasonable attorney fees, and forfeits the right to sue for damages to the rental property. (§ 47-8-18(D))

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent Is Due: As stated in the lease (§ 47-8-15(B))
  • Rent Increase Notice:  30-day written notice for month-to-month rental agreements, or the length of one rental period for agreements that are less than month-to-month. For fixed-term agreements, written notice of a rent increase must be given at least 30 days prior to the ending of the term. (§ 47-8-15(F))
  • Rent Grace Period: No statute
  • Late Fees: As stated in the lease, but the late fee for any given term must not exceed 10 percent of the total rent for that term, and landlord must give notice of the late fee charged no later than the last day of the following month after the default occurred. (§ 47-8-15(D))
  • Prepaid Rent: Prepaid rent may be required by a rental agreement. (§ 47-8-18(B))
  • Returned Check Fees: $25 (New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department)
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Yes, for violations of statutory Landlord Obligations, other than a failure or defect in an amenity, tenant may after seven days’ notice be entitled to rent abatement of one-third the daily, pro-rated rent for unremedied conditions that require repair, and 100 percent of the daily, pro-rated rent if the unit is actually uninhabitable. See statutes for additional provisions. (§ 47-8-27.1 and § 47-8-27.2)
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: No statute
  • Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: Yes, the prevailing party in a lawsuit to enforce the terms and conditions of the rental agreement or any provisions of the Uniform Owner-Resident Relations Act is entitled to reasonable attorney fees and court costs. (§ 47-8-48)
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: The aggrieved party has a duty to mitigate damages. (§ 47-8-6(A))
  • Abandonment/Early Termination Fee: No statute

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: No notice is required as the lease simply expires.
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: 30-day written notice prior to the periodic rental date specified in the notice (§ 47-8-37(B))
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: Seven-day written notice with the termination date specified in the notice (§ 47-8-37(A))
  • Termination of Tenancy with 24 Hours Notice: No statute
  • Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No statute
  • Notice of Termination for Nonpayment: Three-day written notice after rent is unpaid when due. Tenant may avoid termination by paying the full amount due prior to the expiration of the three-day notice. (§ 47-8-33)
  • Termination for Lease Violation: Seven-day written notice to remedy or quit. (§ 47-8-33A) If there is a second instance of noncompliance within six months of the first violation, landlord may deliver a seven-day unconditional quit notice. See statute for additional requirements. (§ 47-8-33B)
  • Required Notice before Entry: 24-hour notice required, except when landlord enters to perform repairs or services within seven days of tenant request, or when the owner is accompanied by a public official conducting an inspection or a cable television, electric, gas or telephone company representative. (§ 47-8-24(A)(1) and (2))
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): Yes (§ 47-8-24(A))
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: Yes (§ 47-8-24(A))
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Yes (§ 47-8-24(B))
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: Yes, during any absence longer than seven days, landlord may enter the unit at times reasonably necessary. (§ 47-8-34(B))
  • Notice to Landlord of Extended Tenant Absence: Rental agreements may require the resident to notify landlord of any anticipated extended absence longer than seven days, no later than the first day of the extended absence. (§ 47-8-25)
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No (§ 47-8-36)
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No (§ 47-8-36(A)(4))

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Name and Addresses: At the start of a tenancy, landlord or manager must disclose the name, address and telephone number of the person authorized to manage the premises as well as that of an owner of the premises or someone authorized to act on behalf of the owner for receiving legal notices and demands. (§ 47-8-19)
  • Copy of the Lease: Written rental agreement required to be given to each resident prior to move-in. (§ 47-8-20(G))
  • Domestic Violence Situations:
    • Protection from Termination: If a landlord attempts to evict a tenant for a violation and the tenant is a victim of domestic violence, the tenant may use that as a defense to stop the eviction. Evictions are not allowed if the incident that caused the landlord to attempt eviction was related to domestic violence and the tenant has filed for a temporary restraining order as a result of the incident or a previous incident. In all other cases where domestic violence is raised as a defense, the court may evict the tenant accused of the violation, while allowing the other tenants to remain in the unit. (§ 47-8-33(J))
  • Landlord’s Duties: (§ 47-8-20)
    • Compliance: Comply with the requirements of applicable minimum housing codes affecting health and safety;
    • Repairs: Make repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a safe condition;
    • Common Areas: Keep all common areas of the premises in a safe condition;
    • Maintenance: Maintain in good and safe working order and condition electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air conditioning and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, if any, supplied or required to be supplied; and
    • Heat: Supply running water and a reasonable amount of hot water at all times and reasonable heat, except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose or the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the resident and supplied by a direct public utility connection.
  • Tenant’s Duties: (§ 47-8-22)
    • Compliance: Comply with obligations imposed upon residents by applicable minimum standards of housing codes materially affecting health or safety;
    • Cleanliness: Keep that part of the premises that tenant occupies and uses as clean and safe as the condition of the premises permit, and, upon termination of the residency, place the unit in as clean condition, excepting ordinary wear and tear, as when residency commenced;
    • Trash: Dispose of all ashes, rubbish, garbage and other waste in a clean and safe manner;
    • Plumbing: Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by the resident as clean as their condition permits;
    • Appliances: Use in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances including elevators in the premises;
    • Damage: Not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair or remove any part of the premises or knowingly permit any person to do so;
    • Quiet Enjoyment: Conduct oneself and require other persons on the premises with tenant’s consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb his neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises
    • Rule Observance: Abide by all bylaws, covenants, rules or regulations of any applicable condominium regime, cooperative housing agreement or neighborhood association not inconsistent with owner’s rights or duties.
  • Retaliation: Landlord must not increase rent, decrease services, or threaten or attempt to evict a tenant who has filed an official complaint to a government agency, or has been involved in a tenant’s organization. Other actions are prohibited. Read § 47-8-39 for more information.
  • Lead Disclosure: Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.

Court Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Business License Required: No statewide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.

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