New Mexico Rental Laws

Written on August 20, 2014 by , updated on January 27, 2018

Join the Apartment Association of New MexicoThis 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 interest permitted 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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91 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Kristina Lopez

    Recently my apartment complex at
    557 Tramway Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87123 has had a lot of car vandalism. Yes my truck was one of them. My neighbors & I have come together calling & reporting to our office manager and yet nothing has taken place! Vehicles are still getting vandalized and it’s scary! I’ve called security but their reply was I left 2 hours ago… As in, they got off work at 10pm. Really? That’s ridiculous. Also our front entrance gate & back gate have been open 24/7 which of course means anyone can come & go as they please. When I first moved her (Feb.2011) both gates front & back closed at 7pm and would open the next day at 7am. Anytime after that we would need a security code to buzz us in. I really would love to see that back in action. Please please please help… I feel like management says they’ll take care of it & by the looks of things nothing has been taken care of. I don’t know what else to do… Thanks.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Kristina

      Here are some possible options:
      1. Call the police EVERY time. Get a police report. If enough crimes are reported, they will start patrolling the area frequently and the crime will go away.
      2. Get help from a lawyer to either sue the property manager for negligence, or try to terminate your lease.

      Good luck!

  • Terresa

    Your site is very limited – after signing up I have tried to no avail to click on several links for tenant law and other links.
    I’m not quite sure what service you are offering.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Terresa,

      Thanks for the note. When the article was drafted, there was an accurate OFFICIAL website for NM statutes. Since then, the NM government has dropped the ball and all the links to the statutes are broken.

      We’ll update this page as soon as we get another reputable source to link to. Cheers!

  • Joyce Enochs

    I was requested by my landlord to send one month’s rent for July to hold an apartment so I’d have it unoccupied and ready when I arrived from 1500 miles away in August along with security deposit in the same amount. I arrived, the unit wasn’t ready the one he offered me still had to be prepped and was roach infestted. I incurred a $600 motel bill waiting a week for it to be ready. I found out there hadn’t been any open units. What recourse do I have to have the $1200 returned?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Joyce

      Sorry for the late reply. It sounds like a bait and switch situation (at worst) or just a incompetent landlord at best.

      If you never received a habitable unit, I would imagine that you should get all of your money back. If you eventually received a unit that fit the description, then at the least, you should be refunded your hotel bill.

      You might want to consider filing a court action in Small Claims Court, which is where disputes like this typically get handled. Good luck to you. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Rebecca

    The home that we rent has sold. New owners will not be taking possession until May 2016 (or so they told me). They also have told me they would write up a general lease agreement Month to Month, but they have not yet. The first of the month is coming soon. I KNOW if they accept our money that a verbal lease is implied. In the mean time do I have any rights at all with no lease in place? If they ask me to vacate do I have 30 or 60 days to vacate? Thank you!

  • Stephanie

    Hi, When it says “No Statute” does that mean it is legal or is it illegal? How do I approach a landlord requesting the following: Pet Deposits: No statute / Non-Refundable Fees: No statute
    I often see ads requesting 1st months rent, last month, and a deposit, but I am also informed that it is either last month OR a deposit that is accepted by statutes. Do pet deposits get an override status?
    As far as non-refundable – Informally I was told that I put down a deposit for $200 or $300 towards the rent to hold the house. When I saw the lease I decided I couldn’t accept their terms and since I stupidly handed $300 over it was $300 that was not refunded. :(

    Thank you

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Stephanie,

      “no statute” simply means that there is no state law on the matter (that we could find). So, any dispute would have to be decided by a judge, based on all the evidence and after review of former case law.

      Regarding your holding deposit – typically it is not refunded if the tenant backs out of the deal. The landlord doesn’t get that lost time back for taking the unit off the market, however, I personally think that if there is no harm done, then the money should be refunded. But I tend to think differently than other landlords.

      Good luck to you. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Ronda

    I have repeatedly called managment & the police about an upstairs neighbor that vibrates my bedroom with her stereo & has threatened me with physical violence 3 times. I’m disabled, have 3 grand kids that live with me, I also have a son that comes to help. Yesterday,the police came to my door, to tell my son & his girlfriend there was a criminal trespass order & their no longer allowed on the premises signed by the manager & the tenant that I keep having problems with.

  • mario vargas

    im having problem with my land lord . past 3 months heater has not been working we called and complain . they send a guy and says its been fixed and still have cold nights. last night
    1/10/2016 at 10 pm was under 60 degrees. im giving them a written letter tomorrow. What can we do to have them fix it asap.Can we hold rent money until they fix it?

  • Robin

    My lease is thru January 24th, I paid the entire month of January and moved out early but still have a few things there. My landlord and another tenant moved in on January 11th without my knowledge or agreement. I also paid electric bill thru the end of January. Do I have any rights to a refund from the 11th thru the 31st?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Robin,

      Generally speaking, a landlord is not allowed to double dip on rent or other fees. Generally, a landlord would need to reimburse a tenant for any overlapping lease days. But if he refuses to acknowledge this, you might have to go to small claims court and get a judge’s opinion.

      Good luck to you. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Jess

    What recourse do I have if I gave a deposit for an apartment that I never got to rent? The amount is small ($150), but I am a full-time student. The apartment was income-restricted and my partner’s income was used for the application. They at first approved our application then said that we would have to pay more for a deposit and that the Housing Dept. had to approve us also. We said no thanks! I’ve asked the office person about the return of our money ( the Casa Rufina Apartments here in Santa Fe), and was told that the company has been contacted and will return our money. After extensive research online, I found the management company ( in Oregon) and have left three messages because no one answers. It has been a month. What can I do?

  • Natasha

    Hi, I currently live at La Privada Apartment’s, i moved in the apartment had a smell and had so much moisture. My outlets for lamps in the two bedrooms and living weren’t working, the smoke detector was not working, my washer was leaking, mold in bed room two was forming on the wall, someone had stolen my lawn chairs the day after they had repainted the outside complex. I was paying rent, i withheld rent after they didn’t do anything about what i needed fixed. They kept telling me it’ll get fixed, two three months past, nothing. My son got sick, his dr told us it was from the mold. i complained once more. they fixed what i asked. i agreed to pay rent $400 every week, now they want a months rent plus $400. what can i do? is this right?

  • mary

    I was in a rental home for almost 10 years. They are now saying the they will not refund my security deposit because the house was not cleaned and they have to paint. There were other things in the home that needed to be repaired and I completely understand that I have to pay for those things, but they do not amount to my security. I was under the impression that painting was the landlords responsibility and I cleaned the house and they are saying it wasn’t good enough. What should I do.

  • emily

    Our tenant just emailed us a rent abatement notice. Is that considered a legal delivery method? She keeps complaining that the heat doesn’t work, and our plumber keeps going out and finds the thermostat incorrectly set. We have no way of knowing if she just lowers it so much when he is scheduled to come or not. Everything is running perfectly and another set of tenants are on the same heating system with no complaints whatsoever.

    Couldn’t that be construed as fraud if she stands to gain financially by falsifying these complaints and withholds rent?

  • linda montoya

    I wanted to know can the head of the household remove a tenant from Thier lease from the place that they rent ?

  • Tyler

    Great read and put together. I have a question. Since my name is on the lease as well as a roommates would I have to give my landlord permission to enter my room? I’m not talking about the common areas but my room specifically?

  • Jenn

    Our landlord filed for eviction on 4-11-16 for non-payment. We are in no way disputing owing rent for the month of April. Our problem came on 4-13-16 at 9am when the landlord showed up banging on the door yelling cursing and accusing us of stealing power, threatening to call APD and have us arrested or we could leave right then and there and he wouldnt call APD. We were not stealing power (we just didnt have power on at the moment) and we also had a court date already so we called APD to find out if he could do that to us. Landlord came back at noon 4-13 to find out if we were going to leave right then or if he was going to have APD remove us. APD came out took report. Are we entitled to anything when we go to court??

  • Renee

    A new tenant moved into my rental property in SF county. Santa Fe County Utilities (water) refuses to transfer the utility to the tenant’s name without me (owner) signing their NEW form that states, “I am hereby responsible for the SFCU account to the service address identified above. As the property owner, I also understand that should my tenants not pay their utility bill, I am responsible for any unpaid balances. I agree to comply with the Ordinances, Resolutions and Policies established by Santa Fe County as a condition of service and I affirm under the penalties provided by law that the information on this application is true and correct.” Can they legally require me to sign even though my signed lease places sole liability on tenants?

  • Chad Mercer

    I rented out a room in my house that was going to be month to month, but the agreement was not signed. he was there for 2 days before he was wasted on drugs/alcohol and was being violent/dangerous with an axe and a large knife. he kept coming at us then sitting back down and yelling at the wall. the Next day I asked him to move out ASAP when he was able to find a new place. two weeks late he moved out and still has some stuff on my property. is he still responsible for the full months rent?

  • Kristine

    Hello, I live in the Uptown Park apartments off Indian School, Albuquerque. I have inquired twice about having my swamp cooler serviced and turned on…once in April and also at the beginning of this month…both times I was told maintenance is working their way around the units. The heat is excessive in my third floor apt. I’m disabled and spend more time in my apt. Than most people…this accessive heat is affecting my mental and physical health…no sleep, extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, lethargic etc., do I have a right to ask them to turn my swamp cooler on immediately since this is effecting my health?

  • Amy

    Nightmare neighbors are the worst, and I have 3 of them in one house…. We both rent, different landlords…. They started out as just rude, which turned to harrassment, and has now become stalking…. They videotape me and my husband coming and going out of our front door, and even confronted me about who’s been to my home – like my son, who came over for ICE CREAM on Memorial Day…. I’m writing their landlord in the hopes that he can fix the situation before I have to get the police involved…. Is there anything else I should do?

  • yolanda

    My son and 2 of his college friends move into there apt on june 1 and the AC wasn’t working he put in a work order and was told waiting on a part I called and spoke to the manager and was told they replaced the fuse and that the electrician would be there in an hour and they would have air i spoke to my son and he said they left a notice on there door stating that repairs would be done on the units between the 13 and 27 of june i checked the weather it will be 102 degrees in las cruces and a fan is not working what can i do as a concerned mother who is in another state

  • Melissa

    I live in a mobile home park in santa fe and is having some issues with the landlord. For the past year or more she has been charging a $5 admin fee for delivering notices, and even for paying over the rent amount, she charges for everything. Is that legal? I have been asking for a copy of our rental agreement for the last year and still have not received it. I emailed her today requesting a copy of it after a spat we got into and she said she will give it to me after I pay a $10 charge. Is that legal? Also I have been asking for the owner’s name and contact information and she has refused to give it to me. We are at our wits end with this lady and don’t know what to do. Please help

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Melissa

      All of that sounds really fishy to me, but I can’t comment on whether it’s legal since I’m not a lawyer.

      You’re welcome to browse through the statutes listed above. Any applicable laws will be linked there.

  • Christopher Haycox

    I have a non operational window in the bathroom. It has not opened since we moved in 18 months ago. I notified the property manager multiple times and yet the window has not been repaired. What do I do now? Can I abate rent that I have already paid? Can I abate rent going forward? I have also requested to have window screens installed for 18 months? Still no screens. Now what??

  • sandra freeman

    Can a landlord install a security camera for the purpose of watching the tenant and who visits their home?

  • KM

    Hi, if advertising for a roommate wanted, but no house has been leased yet (so you’re just seeking to get to know people, really,) how picky can you legally be? I’m a young single woman, for example, so I would be downright uncomfortable living with older men and seek to exclude that possibility entirely, but I would also prefer no kids and no cats. And no Trump supporters. :) Any tips on wording? Thank you for helping!

  • Storm

    I live in Santa Fe NM I was wondering if I could record my apartment manager when she comes in with maintenance or pest control?

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