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By Shannon Martin
Updated on Jun 8, 2022
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff, Staff Editor.
The eviction process in New Mexico can start as early as three days after the first missed rental payment. The process is more streamlined than in other states so evictions can move fast, and tenants can find themselves without a place to live in as little as two weeks. Knowing your rights as a tenant is the best way to protect yourself from a wrongful eviction!
The birthplace of Smokey the Bear, New Mexico is known for its beautiful and diverse landscape and low cost of living. But like the rest of the country when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many renters lost jobs, fell behind in rent, and couldn't get caught up. New Mexico's eviction moratorium ended in March of 2022, and now more tenants are facing evictions than ever before.
Jerry, the super app for car and renters insurance, has everything you need to know to prepare yourself for the eviction process. You will learn what landlords can and can't do, how long it will take, and what you can do to get more time.
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New Mexico eviction 101: the five ways you can be evicted
Landlords in New Mexico cannot evict a tenant without a court order. In addition, self-help evictions, where the landlord turns off the power or changes the locks on renters, are illegal.
Here are ways you could be legally evicted in New Mexico:
- Non-payment: Rent is late the day after it’s due unless a grace period is written in the lease. Non-payment evictions are issued a 3-day notice to pay.
- Violation of the lease agreement: A landlord can evict a tenant for failing to honor agreements in the lease. Tenants are issued a notice and have seven days to fix the issue or move.
- Health or safety violations: Since keeping an unsafe environment can impact the surrounding tenants, health and safety code violations are considered a reason to evict. Tenants will have seven days to fix the issue.
- Illegal activity: A tenant can be evicted for activities like theft or selling drugs. They will receive a notice to quit and will have three days to move.
Non-renewal: Landlords that don't have good legal reasons to evict can wait till the end of the lease and choose to not renew.
|Action||Notice and Time Frame|
|Non-payment||3-day notice to pay|
|Lease violation||7-day notice to comply or move|
|Health or safety violation||7-day notice to comply or move|
|Illegal activity||3-day notice to quit|
|Non-renewal week to week lease||7-day notice to quit|
|Non-renewal month to month lease||30-day notice to quit|
If tenants remain in the property after the time is up, the landlord can file a legal complaint with the court. The landlord can’t deliver the summons and complaint order themselves. It needs to be handed to the tenant, mailed with a certified receipt, or left with someone at the residence. If none of these options work, then it can be left with or mailed to their employer.
Key Takeaway Self-help evictions are illegal in New Mexico. If the landlord wants a tenant out, they must notify them in writing and then go through the court system if the tenant refuses to move.
A timeline of eviction in New Mexico
No matter why you are getting evicted, figuring out what happens next can feel daunting. What should you do? How long do you have until you are forced to move? Here is a timeline of what to expect:
|Step||How long it typically takes||What to expect|
|Written notice from landlord||3-30 days||While this isn't an official notice from the court, if you know you can't make rent and can move, do so now to avoid eviction on your rental history.|
|Summons and complaint||7-10 days before the hearing||This is the legal eviction notification that will give you the date, time, and location for the eviction hearing.|
|Tenant response||None needed before court||You do not have to file an answer with the court, but you need to go to the court hearing at the date and time on the notice. If you need additional time to prepare for court, the judge may grant you a seven-day continuance.|
|Hearing||7-10 days after the summons is received||If you do not attend the hearing, the judge will find in favor of the landlord that day. Even if you have already paid the past due rent, make sure to still go to court with the receipt.|
|Eviction||Immediately or up to a few days||The Writ of Restitution is the final warning to leave the property, and you will have between three to seven days before being forcibly removed by the sheriff. Once the landlord has the rental back, they are only required to keep any remaining personal property for three days. After that, they can dispose of anything as they see fit.|
|Appeal||Same day as hearing||You can file for an appeal if you lose the case. If you are being evicted for non-payment, you will need to pay the rent in full or set up an escrow account within five days.|
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The longest an eviction will take is about eight weeks, which in this housing market isn't very long at all. Once you receive that first eviction notice, know where you stand on the issue and act fast. Having an eviction on your rental history can stop you from moving on to a place you enjoy in the future.
How to resist eviction in New Mexico
Depending on the situation, you might not have to move after you are handed that eviction notice. Turning an apartment over can be expensive, and most landlords will avoid it if they can. Here are some ways to fight the eviction:
- Fix the issue: Talk with the landlord and resolve any problems. Fix any violations or pay past due rent. We know this can be easier said than done, but maybe your landlord will allow you to set up a payment plan. You won't know until you ask.
- Find a loophole or error: Read your lease and be aware of the agreements. Do you have a payment grace period? Is the landlord actually responsible for the maintenance he blames you for not doing? If you find that your landlord did something incorrectly and bring it up in court, this might stop the eviction.
- Call out discrimination: Discrimination in the housing market is illegal in New Mexico. If you feel that your race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion has played a part in your eviction, speak up in court.
Respond to the eviction in any way you can—the worst thing you can do is ignore it.
MORE: New Mexico car seat law
How to save money on New Mexico car and renters insurance
About 36% of Americans are stuck paying rent each month, and many are struggling with all the other monthly expenses in life that keep getting more and more expensive, like food and gas for their cars.
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I haven't paid rent due to the eviction moratorium, is it true my landlord can't evict me since I’m a squatter?
Yes, you can and will still be evicted. There is a lot of misinformation about"squatter's rights" that is detrimental to renters facing eviction. In New Mexico, a squatter is someone who meets all of the following criteria:
Living in an abandoned, foreclosed, or unoccupied building
Does not have permission from the owner
Has maintained continuous occupation for 10 years
Must pay taxes on said property
Must be living in the open and not hiding occupancy
Must post a notice that they are claiming the property
If you are in a situation where you have stopped paying rent, you are considered a holdover tenant until the eviction is finalized. If you stay past then, it is trespassing.