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New Mexico is often incorrectly believed to have taken its name from the nation of Mexico. However, New Mexico was given its name in 1563, and again in 1581, by Spanish explorers who believed the area contained wealthy Indian cultures similar to those of the Mexica (Aztec) Empire. Mexico, formerly known as New Spain, adopted its name centuries later in 1821, after winning independence from Spanish rule. Consequently, New Mexico was only a part of the independent federal republic of Mexico for 12 years, 1836 through 1848. The two developed as neighboring Spanish speaking communities, with relatively independent histories.
How to Screen a Tenant in New Mexico
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Step 1: Know Your Rights & Responsibilities
Landlords and property managers are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF] (FCRA) during the tenant screening process. Additionally, New Mexico has laws that affect the tenant screening process. You can find the current New Mexico Housing Codes on this New Mexico State Statutes website. If you are finding the formalities of the state code daunting, you might want to check out these friendlier sites:
Tip: before you rent for the first time, consider hiring a lawyer to review all of the documents you will use during the application and rental process to ensure that you are protected to the fullest extent of the law.
Rental Application [PDF] (this must be completed in full by the applicant prior to screening)
Lease Agreement (written), containing or attaching the following information:
Owner/Agent Identity - this should include name and address, and if the owner/agent is out-of-state it must include contact information for a resident of the COUNTY in which the rental is located that can act as an agent for the purposes of serving notices and process.
Security Deposit - this must include the amount of the deposit and the conditions under which some or all of the deposit may be withheld. It must also include the name and banking institution holding the deposit.
Non-refundable Fees - explicitly describe any non-refundable fees, and state clearly that they are non-refundable.
Fire Protection & Safety Information: You must disclose the available fire protection and safety information specific to the unit you are renting, including smoking policy, evacuation plans, and who to notify in case of emergency.
Owner Or Agent Identity: New Mexico landlords must disclose to the tenant in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy the name and address of the person authorized to manage the premises, and an owner of the premises or a person authorized to act for and on behalf of the owner for the purpose of service of process and for the purpose of receiving notices and demands. (N.M. Stat. Ann. 47-8-19)
Criminal, OFAC/Patriot Act & Sex Offender Records - A nationwide search is always performed. These jurisdictions specifically are available in New Mexico: NM Department Of Corrections, NM Sex Offender Registry.
Eviction Records - records are available from the following counties: Bernalillo, Catron, Chaves, Cibola, Colfax, Curry, De Baca, Dona Ana, Eddy, Grant, Guadalupe, Harding, Hidalgo, Lea, Lincoln, Los Alamos, Luna, Mc Kinley, Mora, Otero, Quay, Rio Arriba, Roosevelt, San Juan, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Sierra, Socorro, Taos, Torrance, Union, Valencia.
Bankruptcies, Liens & Judgments - records are available from the following counties: Bernalillo, Catron, Chaves, Cibola, Colfax, Curry, De Baca, Dona Ana, Eddy, Grant, Guadalupe, Harding, Hidalgo, Lea, Lincoln, Los Alamos, Luna, McKinley, Mora, Otero, Quay, Rio Arriba, Roosevelt, San Juan, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Sierra, Socorro, Taos, Torrance, Union, Valencia.
Social Security Number validation, Death Index, credit checks, previous addresses, alias names, and the Rent Check Advisor include all information available regardless of location.