New Mexico landlord tenant law §47-8-20, also called the Uniform Owner-Resident Relations Act, was enacted in 1975 to establish various rights and obligations of both landlords and tenants. The following is a partial list of New Mexico renters rights and some of the obligations of the landlord to the tenant.
A New Mexico landlord or property owner must perform the following actions (This is a partial list which includes, but is not limited to, items listed below).
A landlord or owner of real estate located in New Mexico must:
1. Comply with the requirements of the applicable minimum housing codes materially affecting health and safety of the tenant.
2. Make repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a safe condition.
3. Keep the common areas of the premises in safe condition.
4. Maintain the electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air conditioning and other facilities and appliances in good and safe working order.
5. Provide and maintain appropriate receptacles for the removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish and other waste incidental to the occupancy of the dwelling unit and arrange for their removal.
6. Supply running water and a reasonable amount of hot water at all times and reasonable heat, except when heat or hot water is within the exclusive control of the resident and supplied by a direct public utility connection.
7. Provide a written rental agreement to each tenant prior to the beginning of the occupancy.
8. Disclose to the tenant in writing the name, address and telephone number of the person authorized to manage the premises.
A New Mexico tenant must perform the following actions under the law (this is a partial list which includes, but is not limited to, items listed below).
A tenant in a residential property located in New Mexico must:
1. Keep the dwelling unit as clean and safe as the condition of the premises permit, and upon termination of the residency, place the dwelling unit in as clean a condition as when the residency commenced.
2. Dispose of all ashes, rubbish, garbage and other waste in a clean and safe manner.
3. Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by the tenant as clean as their condition permits.
4. Must not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair or remove any part of the premises or knowingly permit any person to do so.
5. Must conduct himself or herself and require other persons on the premises with his or her consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb his neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
6. Must not knowingly commit or consent to any other person knowingly committing a substantial violation of the rental agreement.
If a tenant is found by the court to have violated paragraph 4 above, the tenant is subject to a civil penalty in an amount equal to two times the monthly rent, in addition to whatever amount is awarded to the landlord in damages, attorney’s fees and court costs.
According to the renters rights New Mexico law sets, there are a variety of remedies available to the tenant if the landlord breaches the agreement. The following are some of the remedies available to the tenant.
1. The tenant may terminate the lease if the breach includes non-compliance with the rental agreement or non-compliance with NM landlord tenant law which materially affects health or safety. The tenant must give the owner written notice of the acts or omissions constituting the breach. The notice should state that the rental agreement will terminate in seven days if the acts or omissions are not remedied within that time. If the owner does not make a reasonable effort to remedy the problems within those seven days, the rental agreement is terminated, and the owner must return the balance, if any, of pre-paid rent, or deposit, to which the tenant is entitled.
2. If the tenant does not wish to terminate the lease, the tenant may abate the rent. To abate the rent means withholding the rent and not paying. In addition, the tenant may sue to recover damages or obtain an injunction against the landlord for any material noncompliance by the owner with the rental agreement or New Mexico law. If the tenant prevails, then the tenant should also be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs.
It is important to note that the tenant cannot give a seven-day notice and abate the rent during the same rental period. The tenant must choose which remedy they want to pursue.
For other provisions of the New Mexico landlord tenant law, visit the website for the office of the New Mexico Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division and always consult an attorney before entering into any legal agreement.
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