N.M. Supreme Court

N.M. Supreme Court

SANTA FE—The state Supreme Court ordered a temporary moratorium on evictions for inability to pay rent during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Under the court’s order, judges will stay the execution of writs of restitution that property owners can obtain and give to law enforcement to force the removal of a tenant. Tenants will need to provide the court with evidence of their current inability to pay their rent.

On Thursday, March 26, the court also paused evictions for New Mexicans who prove they are unable to pay rent on the land where they park a mobile home they own.

The order temporarily postpones the carrying out of eviction orders against New Mexicans who provide a judge with evidence that they are unable to pay their rent on a mobile home lot, and offers the same protections against the loss of housing the court to tenants of apartments and other places of residence.

If a landlord begins an eviction proceeding, the renter will receive a summons that notifies them of the lawsuit and explains that they can participate in a hearing before a judge.

Court hearings are conducted by video or telephone during the public health emergency, unless the parties ask to appear in person.

To stop an eviction, renters — whether of land in a mobile home park or an apartment — must participate in the hearing and provide the judge with evidence of their current inability to pay their rent.

“New Mexicans are struggling financially as workplaces close because of the public health emergency,” said Chief Justice Judith K. Nakamura. “The court’s order will provide temporary relief for families and individuals facing the possibly of losing their housing at a time when the governor and public health officials have ordered New Mexicans to remain at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

The court’s orders are the latest restriction and precautionary measure imposed on operations of state courts to protect public safety and safeguard the health of New Mexicans.

Other measures provide New Mexicans additional time to pay fines and fees, require the use of audio and video teleconferencing for court proceedings that need to continue and allow self-represented litigants to submit case filings to local courts by email and fax to help them avoid courthouse visits.

For more information about COVID-19 updates and the courts, visit the New Mexico Courts website at nmcourts.gov.

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