What You Need to Know About New Mexico’s Fair Housing Act

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The New Mexico Fair Housing Act protects individuals from discrimination when looking to buy or rent a home. In New Mexico, you cannot be denied housing, rentals, or a mortgage due to discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, or disability.
The Fair Housing Act was federally passed in 1968 and has been expanded on in the years since. This act provides specific protections for renters and homebuyers in every state in America. Since every state has its own distinctive interpretations and modifications to this rule, what does this mean for New Mexico?
If you want to learn more, homeowners, renters, and car insurance super app Jerry created this comprehensive guide to the ins and outs of New Mexico’s Fair Housing Act. 
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Does New Mexico have a Fair Housing Act?

New Mexico does have a Fair Housing Act that expands upon the protections given under the federal Fair Housing Act. The federal Fair Housing Act prevents discrimination against protected classes when renting or buying property.
By law, you cannot be discriminated against for:
  • Race
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Religion
  • Family status
The New Mexico Human Rights Act expands upon this, prohibiting discrimination based on:
  • Ancestry
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
Here are a few examples of illegal behavior under the Fair Housing Act: 
  • A bank refusing to finance a loan for a family based on their race
  • A landlord not renting an apartment to an LGBTQ+ family
  • A real estate agent naming preferences on nationality and marriage status on a house listing
  • Denying a rental to a family with children under the age of 18
If you feel you have been discriminated against in any of these ways, you have a right to file a complaint. The New Mexico Fair Housing Act applies to real estate agents, banks, brokers, developers, and anyone working in the housing market, giving any protected class a wide safety net. 
Learn more about New Mexico’s human rights statutes to expand your knowledge of the Fair Housing Act.

Accessibility requirements under the Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act also has specific rules about accessibility and disability rights in New Mexico housing.
These requirements were laid out in the 1991 Fair Housing Act—they explain the need for reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications in any multifamily dwelling. While they sound similar accommodations and modifications are slightly different. 
A reasonable accommodation is a request that may bend or break a housing provider’s rules to improve the quality of life of a disabled person. Examples of reasonable accommodation include:
  • A blind tenant having a seeing-eye dog in an apartment that does not allow pets
  • A tenant with a walker requesting a close parking spot to limit walking
  • Requesting to pay rent by mail if it is difficult for the person to make it to the rental office
On the other hand, a reasonable modification is about changing the dwelling itself to make it more livable for those with disability. Common reasonable modifications include:
  • A wheelchair accessible entrance to the building
  • Doors wide enough for wheelchair users to enter
  • Switches, outlets, and other electronic components in accessible locations
  • Reinforced bathroom walls for support bar installation
If you don't feel your housing rights are being met and your landlord unfairly denies your request for help, you don't need to suffer—you can file a complaint.

How to file a fair housing complaint in New Mexico

One option is to file a complaint directly through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Use this link to submit a complaint online.
You can also reach out to your local New Mexico Human Rights or Disability Rights Division for help. Choosing the local option may be more expedient.
You’ll usually need to file a complaint within one year of the incident. When filing, be ready to provide:
  • Your name and address
  • The name and address of the accused party
  • The address where the discrimination took place
  • A detailed timeline and recounting of the events

State agency vs. local offices

Here's a breakdown of local offices that can help you with your Fair Housing Act complaints.
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How to save money on home and renters insurance in New Mexico

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FAQ

You can file a report on a landlord in New Mexico either through this link on the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website or by reaching out to your local Fair Housing Division.

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