New Mexico Statutes Chapter 47. Property Law § 47-8-36. Unlawful removal and diminution of services prohibited

A. Except in case of abandonment, surrender or as otherwise permitted in the Uniform Owner-Resident Relations Act, an owner or any person acting on behalf of the owner shall not knowingly exclude the resident, remove, threaten or attempt to remove or dispossess a resident from the dwelling unit without a court order by:

(1) fraud;

(2) plugging, changing, adding or removing any lock or latching device;

(3) blocking any entrance into the dwelling unit;

(4) interfering with services or normal and necessary utilities to the unit pursuant to Section 47-8-32 NMSA 1978 , including but not limited to electricity, gas, hot or cold water, plumbing, heat or telephone service, provided that this section shall not impose a duty upon the owner to make utility payments or otherwise prevent utility interruptions resulting from nonpayment of utility charges by the resident;

(5) removing the resident's personal property from the dwelling unit or its premises;

(6) removing or incapacitating appliances or fixtures, except for making necessary and legitimate repairs;  or

(7) any willful act rendering a dwelling unit or any personal property located in the dwelling unit or on the premises inaccessible or uninhabitable.

B. The provisions of Subsection A of this section shall not apply if an owner temporarily interferes with possession while making legitimate repairs or inspections as provided for in the Uniform Owner-Resident Relations Act.

C. If an owner commits any of the acts stated in Subsection A of this section, the resident may:

(1) abate one hundred percent of the rent for each day in which the resident is denied possession of the premises for any portion of the day or each day where the owner caused termination or diminishment of any service for any portion of the day;

(2) be entitled to civil penalties as provided in Subsection B of Section 47-8-48 NMSA 1978;

(3) seek restitution of the premises pursuant to Sections 47-8-41 and Section 47-8-42 NMSA 1978 or terminate the rental agreement;  and

(4) be entitled to damages.


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