How to Evict a Tenant in New Mexico

As a landlord, you have the right to evict tenants who commit criminal offenses, don't follow the terms of your lease, or fail to pay rent on time. Section 47-8-33 of New Mexico's Uniform Owner Resident Relations Act spells out the timelines and procedures that a landlord must follow. If the judge rules in your favor, you can evict the tenant in seven days.

Prepare an Appropriate Notice

File a three-day notice for tenants who don't pay rent when it's due, per Section 47-8-33. Follow the same timeline if tenants commit crimes or disturb neighbors, such as by playing loud music. The resulting notice of substantial violation must outline the behavior that prompts a tenant's eviction, says New Mexico Legal Aid's Renter's Guide. For lease violations -- like failure to take garbage off the premises -- you must give seven days' notice, and allow the tenant to fix the problem. However, if it happens again within six months, she loses that right. At that time, you can file a seven-day eviction notice.

Tips

  • Follow the right timelines for week-to-week and month-to-month tenants, which require seven and 30 days' notice, respectively. You don't need to give a reason. No notification period is mandated for tenants on fixed term leases, unless the agreement mentions such a requirement.

Serve Notice on the Tenant

Hand deliver or mail your notice to the tenant. According to Section 47-8-33, you may post notice on the property, which requires mailing the tenant a copy, as well. If you choose this option, the eviction timeline starts when you post a notice, not when the tenant receives it in her mailbox.

File Your Eviction Lawsuit

If a tenant doesn't leave within the notice period, you can file a petition for restitution at a local clerk or magistrates' court. Per Section 47-8-42, the petition must contain a reasonably accurate description of the property. You must also explain why you want the tenant evicted. The court will then serve a copy of your suit on the tenant, and a summons indicating when he must appear in court. The hearing usually follows within seven to 10 days of legal papers being served.

Warnings

  • Unless a tenant abandons the property, you cannot force her to move without getting an eviction order first. State law also prohibits using tactics like lockouts or utility cutoffs to force a tenant's departure. Any evidence of such "self-help" practices may invalidate an eviction.

Present Your Case

Bring a copy of the lease and supporting evidence that shows why you're evicting the tenant. Examples might include photos of property damage, as well as written or personal testimony from neighbors with firsthand knowledge of alleged rules violations. Be ready to explain your reasoning in simple, concise terms. A ruling in your favor means the tenant has three days to get her belongings before vacating the premises.

Dispose of any Unclaimed Property

Under New Mexico law, you have the right to sell any property the tenant leaves behind. If it's under $100, you can keep the proceeds. If it's more than $100, however, you must give the excess portion to the tenant once you recover your moving and storage costs.

References

About the Author

Ralph Heibutzki's articles have appeared in the "All Music Guide," "Goldmine," "Guitar Player" and "Vintage Guitar." He is also the author of "Unfinished Business: The Life & Times Of Danny Gatton," and holds a journalism degree from Michigan State University.