If you are renting out a home in Albuquerque, you need to be aware of the state, local, and federal laws that pertain to your property and your tenants. If you violate a law, even unintentionally, you could find yourself facing huge financial penalties. It’s also a hit to your reputation.
Avoid those expensive legal mistakes by paying attention to the laws that govern rental properties. In New Mexico, you need to especially be aware of security deposit regulations, fair housing laws, and the requirements around habitability, evictions, late fees, and rental increases.
Effective rental management in Albuquerque protects you and keeps you compliant. If you don’t have the time to learn, understand, and apply the laws, make sure you’re working with a property manager.
Here are some of the most important laws you need to know when renting out your home.
Fair Housing Laws in Albuquerque
In Albuquerque, landlords, property managers, and anyone else involved in rental real estate need to apply fair housing laws to the leasing and management of your property. The federal Fair Housing Act has established seven specific classes. You cannot make housing decisions based on a tenant’s or applicant’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability.
The New Mexico Human Rights Act mirrors the federal act, and it also adds its own categories of protected classes. In New Mexico, landlords and property managers cannot discriminate based on all those federal classes as well as ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity, and spousal affiliation.
Security Deposit Laws in New Mexico
New Mexico places a limit on how much you’re able to collect as a security deposit. That limit is the equivalent of one month’s rent. It’s fairly straightforward; if you rent out a property for $1,400, the most you can collect in a security deposit is $1,400.
When it’s time to return the deposit, you have 30 days from the time the tenant moves out to send the security deposit back. You’re permitted to deduct from the security deposit any costs to cover tenant damage or unpaid rent. You cannot deduct from the deposit for normal wear and tear, which is your responsibility as a landlord.
If you’re not sending back the full deposit within those 30 days, you’ll need to provide an itemized list of what was deducted and why.
Habitability Laws and New Mexico Rental Homes
There’s an implied warrant of habitability when a tenant rents a home from a landlord. You’re responsible for maintaining the home in a way that’s safe. Specific requirements listed in the state law include:
- Running water
- Working HVAC systems
- Trash pickup services
- Sanitation facilities
Your tenant has the right to request any necessary repairs that impact habitability.
Eviction and Rent Increases
There’s no rent control in New Mexico. You do, however, have to provide notice before raising a tenant’s rent. There are limits to the late fees you can collect when rent is late; you cannot ask for any more than 10 percent of the rent in fees.
Evictions can be pursued if a tenant does not pay rent, if the lease is violated, or if criminal activity is discovered at the property. You can also evict if a tenant stays in the rental property past the end of their lease agreement.
Follow the legal eviction process, which begins with a Three or Seven Day Notice, depending on whether it’s a nonpayment of rent issue or a lease violation.
This is just a highlight of some of the most important laws you need to know. There’s a lot more to tell you, so please contact us at Bruni Karr Agency if you have questions. We’d be happy to offer you our property management services in Albuquerque.