The Comprehensive Guide on New Mexico Landlord Tenant Laws 
In the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico landlords and tenants encounter a complex web of state and local rental laws. These regulations, known as landlord-tenant laws, define the rights, obligations, and interactions of both parties. Even seasoned property owners and tenants may find it challenging to navigate and adhere to these regulations.
To simplify this process, we've crafted a comprehensive guide that addresses crucial topics such as tenant screening, security deposit guidelines, lease agreements, and more. Whether you're a landlord or a tenant, you'll develop a solid grasp of New Mexico's rental laws as outlined in the New Mexico Statutes Chapter 47.
Landlords will discover effective strategies to safeguard their rental properties and foster positive tenant relationships. Meanwhile, tenants will gain confidence in asserting their rights while residing in rental units.
Let's get to it!
New Mexico landlord tenant law fast facts
- Is a rental license required to be a residential landlord? No
- Are there any security deposit requirements? Yes
- Is there rent control? No
- Are there limits on late fees? Yes
- Are there rent payment grace period laws? Yes
Are there notice of entry laws? Yes
New Mexico landlord responsibilities & rights
New Mexico state law grants landlords fundamental rights that allow them to operate their rental properties protected from legal issues. Landlords have the right to:
- Collect on-time rent payments
- Charge security deposits to cover unforeseen costs like property damage beyond normal wear and tear
- Pursue the formal eviction procedure if tenants breach the lease agreement
New Mexico residential landlords also have a set of obligations they must uphold to ensure a smooth and safe tenancy for renters. Some of their duties include:
- Providing renters with a safe, habitable rental unit without discrimination
- Making repairs within 7 days after receiving written notice from a tenant
- Returning tenants' security deposits within 30 days at the end of the lease period
- Providing the tenant with 24 hours’ notice before entering the property
New Mexico tenant responsibilities & rights
New Mexico tenants also have a set of rights that protect them throughout their time in a rental property. Their main rights include:
- Living in a habitable rental unit that meets local health and safety codes
- Having repairs made in 7 days after providing the landlord with written notice
- Taking legal action against the landlord if they violate the lease agreement
Like their landlords, New Mexico tenants also have a set of duties to uphold while renting. They must:
- Pay rent on time
- Keep the unit in safe and habitable condition, including cleaning plumbing fixtures
- Make small repairs and do maintenance as necessary
- Properly dispose of waste
- Not disturb other renters or neighbors
- Not purposefully destroying or neglecting the rental
- Complying with all building and housing codes
New Mexico landlord tenant law through the rental cycle
New Mexico tenant screening and rental application laws
New Mexico does not have many statutes governing the tenant screening or rental application process. For example, there is no limit on how much a landlord can charge for a rental application fee and the fee does not have to be made refundable. However, landlords are limited from asking any questions on the rental application that would lead to housing discrimination.
Additionally, landlords are free to run background checks, such as credit reports, criminal history, and rental history, but only if they obtain the prospective tenant’s signed consent.
New Mexico rental agreement and lease termination laws
New Mexico state law requires a lease or rental agreement to be in writing, although oral agreements can still be enforced. It is always advised to have a written agreement as it outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties.
Landlords are required to include the following information in a New Mexico lease: landlord name, address and contact phone number, plus rent amount, rent due date, lease length, and a description of the rental unit. Learn what other information you should include in your rental agreement today.
To terminate a lease, a landlord must provide a 30-day written notice for monthly leases. Seven day’s written notice is required for weekly rental agreements.
New Mexico renters can also terminate a lease early for certain legal reasons:
- Active military duty
- Early termination clause
- Uninhabitable unit
- Landlord harassment
New Mexico security deposit laws
Like in other states, New Mexico allows residential landlords to collect a security deposit at the start of a lease to be used for unforeseen costs like rental damage beyond normal wear and tear. New Mexico landlords are limited to charging the equivalent of one month’s rent for leases shorter than one year. For leases of a year or longer, there is no limit as long as the deposit is reasonable. It’s important to note that the maximums are different for mobile homes.
New Mexico landlords must also do the following:
- Must pay interest on the deposit if the amount exceeds one month’s rent
- Return the tenant’s security deposit within 30 days of the end of the lease
Landlords are allowed to make deductions from the security deposit for reasons including damage beyond normal wear and tear, cleaning costs, costs due to a breach of the lease agreement, and unpaid rent, late fees, and utilities.
If the landlord fails to comply with the notice period or wrongfully withholds funds, tenants can sue for the full security deposit, plus $250, court costs, and lawyer fees.
New Mexico rent laws
New Mexico does not have rent control laws and prohibits its cities and states from creating their own rent control laws. This allows landlords to charge any amount of rent and increase rent as long it it’s not during the lease period, unless the lease specifically allows for it.
Before increasing rent, landlords must provide a 30-day notice to monthly tenants and other fixed-term tenants. Weekly tenants must be provided a 7-day notice.
If New Mexico renters fail to pay rent on time, landlords are not required to provide a grace period before charging a late fee. Late fees are limited to 10% of the periodic rent payment.
New Mexico tenants are allowed to withhold rent in the case the landlord does not keep the property in habitable condition as required by law. However, tenants must follow a specific process to do so.
New Mexico repair and maintenance laws
Like in other states, residential landlords are required to make repairs in a timely manner. In New Mexico, they must make repairs within 7 days of receiving written notice from tenants.
If the landlord fails to make repairs within that timeframe, tenants can take a few legal actions: sue for costs, file a court order to force the landlord to make repairs, and cancel the rental agreement altogether. They can even partially withhold rent by following the state’s specific process.
New Mexico notice of entry laws
New Mexico landlords have the right to enter the property for inspections, maintenance, and property showings. Unless specified differently in the lease agreement, landlords are required to provide 24 hours' notice before entering the property. No notice is required in the case of emergencies.
New Mexico eviction laws
New Mexico state law allows landlords to evict tenants for certain legal reasons. However, before moving forward with the eviction process, landlords must provide the tenant with a notice period, dependent on the reason of eviction. The reasons and associated notice periods include:
- Unpaid rent: If tenants fail to pay rent on time, the landlord must issue a 3-day notice to pay. If the tenant still doesn’t pay,
- Lease violation: If the tenant violates the lease, the landlord must issue a 7-day notice to quit or cure. If the tenant doesn’t correct the violation or leave, the landlord can move forward with the eviction process.
- Illegal acts: If the tenant is found committing illegal acts on the property, the landlord may issue a 3-day notice to quit. New Jersey defines illegal acts as drug use or possession, assault, sexual abuse, and causing more than $1,000 in property damage.
- Housing violations: If the landlord is found to have a rental property in violation of local health and safety codes, they may give a tenant a 7-day notice to comply. If the tenant still does not comply, the landlord may initiate the eviction.
No lease/end of lease: If tenants stay past the end of the tenancy, the landlord can serve a notice to quit. The notice period depends on the length of the lease. Week-to-week leases must provide a 7-day notice to quit and month-to-month leases must provide a 30-day notice to quit. Year-to-year leases require a 6-month notice to quit.
Additional New Mexico landlord tenant laws
In addition to addressing rental matters such as repairs and security deposits, New Mexico state law also encompasses issues like housing discrimination and landlord retaliation. We examine some of these regulations more closely below.
State and federal laws protect New Mexico tenants from housing discrimination. Under the federal Fair Housing Act, landlords are prohibited from discriminating against potential renters based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. New Mexico law provides further protection to tenants based on characteristics including ancestry and spousal affiliation.
Like in other states, it’s illegal for New Mexico landlords to retaliate against tenants for taking certain legal actions like reporting landlords to government authorities for health and safety violations. In New Mexico, raised rent, reduced services, and threatened eviction are all considered forms of retaliation.
Landlords in New Mexico must provide tenants with disclosures at the start of the lease period. The state’s disclosures include:
- Lead-based paint: Landlords who own rental units built before 1978 must provide information about lead paint concentrations in the building.
- Authorized agents: Landlords must provide the names and addresses of all parties involved in owning and managing the property.
- Late fees: If a landlord wants to enforce a late fee, they must disclose the fee in the lease agreement.
Final word: Why you need to understand New Mexico landlord tenant law
New Mexico's rental laws have been carefully developed to provide a clear framework for the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. While there primary goal is to promote fairness throughout the rental process, they also promote a healthy landlord-tenant relationship, benefiting all parties involved.
It’s paramount for both rental owners and renters to comprehend and adhere to the state’s rental laws. For landlords, this not only safeguards their property investments but also fosters positive interactions with tenants. Similarly, tenants will be able to assert their legal rights when needed.
In addition to reading this guide, landlords and tenants are encouraged to do their due diligence in staying informed about New Mexico's rental laws, both now and in the future.
New Mexico landlord tenant law FAQ
What is the limit a landlord or tenant can sue for in New Mexico Small Claims Court?
New Mexico’s Small Claims Court, like similar courts, handles disputes involving relatively small amounts of money in a simplified and expedited manner. New Mexico Small Claims Court is a division of Magistrate Court, except in Bernalillo County, where claims are filed with the Metropolitan Court. New Mexico’s Small Claims Court will hear rental cases for up to $10,000. Beyond this amount, tenants should seek out legal services. The process takes roughly two to three months.
Is New Mexico considered a landlord-friendly state?
Yes, New Mexico is considered a moderately landlord-friendly state–evident in its 33rd place on the list of landlord-friendly states. Landlords have the authority to set rental prices at will, as the state has no rent control laws. Additionally, landlords have the right to enter their rental property as long as they provide a 24-hour notice before entering the property (unless for an emergency). However, New Mexico landlords must make repairs within seven days of being notified by the tenant, which is a small amount of time as compared to other states.
Trying to find a state to invest in real estate? Learn how to pick a landlord-friendly state now!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials are for general informational purposes only. This content may not constitute the most up-to-date legal information. No reader, user, or browser of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information herein without first seeking the advice of a legal professional.