New Mexico has a number of laws in the civil code to protect tenant rights while renting from landlords. These laws are contained in the New Mexico Landlord and Tenant Act. Pertaining to residential tenants only, this act sets forth laws that landlords and tenants must obey. The manner of legal recourse is also provided in this act, in the event that either tenant, landlord, or both, fail to follow the law.
Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act prevents discrimination against tenants or prospective tenants during any part of the landlord-tenant relationship. Any sort of discriminatory action toward a tenant from a landlord is reportable to local government or housing authorities. A few examples of landlord actions that violate the Fair Housing Act include refusing to rent due to race, harassment due to sexual preference or evicting due to religious beliefs.
A security deposit is money a tenant pays the landlord at the beginning of a tenancy to cover any damage when the tenant vacates the property. New Mexico's Landlord and Tenant Act contains specific information on how security deposits are handled. The act also prohibits security deposits larger than one month's rent for leases less than a year. Longer leases permit the landlord to charge higher amounts.
After a tenant leaves the unit, the landlord repairs and cleans any part of the apartment as necessary. A list of repair and cleaning deductions is prepared, and the remaining security deposit is sent to the tenant. New Mexico requires the landlord to send the security deposit within 30 days of a tenant's departure.
There is an implied warranty of habitability clause in the Landlord and Tenant Act. This means there is an assumption the landlord will provide a livable location in terms of the necessary amenities. The landlord is responsible for keeping a home in this state, and taking care of any major repairs or appliance failures. Additional repair responsibilities are stated in the lease, and a tenant is typically responsible for repairing damage he causes or minor repairs.
A New Mexico tenant must keep his rental unit clean and not abuse any appliances or home systems, such as electricity. Unless otherwise stated in the lease, a New Mexico residential rental prohibits commercial activity. A tenant must allow his landlord access to the property for repairs, inspection and maintenance. Except for emergencies, the landlord provides advance notice of his intentions to enter the apartment.
A landlord has the right to increase a tenant's rental price. However, the only time a landlord can do so is at the end of a lease term. Month-to-month leases require only a 30-day notice period before the increase. Longer-term leases protect New Mexico renters from rate increases during the lease period. However, the landlord is able to increase the rent at lease renewal.