The federal eviction moratorium ended Saturday, July 31, but the New Mexico Supreme Court has ordered a temporary “stay” on evictions in March 2020. That “stay” came with no expiration date on evictions for those unable to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of July, the order remains in place and the New Mexico Supreme Court has not signaled yet when it may change or reassess the decision.
Additionally, on August 3, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) extended the eviction moratorium through October 3, 2021 for counties experiencing substantial and high levels of community transmission of COVID-19. You can use CDC’s Level of Community Transmission map to find out the level of transmission in your county. In order to be protected by the moratorium, renters must submit an Eviction Protection Declaration form. You can learn more about the eviction moratorium in our previous post.
When the moratorium ends many renters will need to catch up on past-due rent and help is available. As a renter—or a landlord—you can apply for money from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program. The funds are being distributed by state and local organizations to their local communities. This money can help with rent, utility bills, and even moving costs. The application process is currently open in New Mexico until August 31, 2021.
This page has information specific to assistance available in New Mexico. Use the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s “Find Rental Assistance” link below to find rental assistance programs specific to your state, tribe, or tribal lands.
The utility moratorium is expiring in New Mexico
As a moratorium from the state’s Public Regulation Commission (PRC) is set to expire, New Mexicans are once again at risk of having their utilities shut off for non-payment. There are millions of dollars available from the State to help cover New Mexicans’ rent and utility costs.
New Mexico’s largest utility, PNM is urging thousands of customers with unpaid bills to contact them before they lose power. In accordance with the expiration of the PRC’s moratorium, PNM will begin shutting off power to non-paying customers as soon as August 12. PNM said more than 47,000 households have past-due bills that could lead to power shutoffs as soon as mid-August.
How to reach utilities
- Customers seeking assistance or looking to set up a payment plan with New Mexico Gas Co. can call 1-888-664-2726 or visit one of the utility’s 22 payment centers across the state. Assistance is also available online on New Mexico Gas Co’s website.
- Customers seeking assistance on past-due PNM bills can apply online on PNM’s website or call PNM at 855-364-2950 between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays.
This information was sourced from KRQE and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
New Mexico Rent & Utility Assistance Programs
APPLY FOR RENTAL ASSISTANCE THROUGH NEW MEXICO EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (ERAP)
What Does it Cover?
The Emergency Rental Assistance program makes available $170 million to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rental and utility assistance is available to households who are obligated to pay rent on a residential dwelling. Rental assistance can be used for unpaid, current and future rent and utilities. Funding may also be available for other housing-related expenses incurred directly or indirectly due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
This assistance is available for those in a lease agreement with a landlord or those who have entered into a lease-purchase agreement. Funding is also available for utility assistance and other expenses related to housing costs (i.e. hotel/motel costs) incurred directly or indirectly, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Eligible households may receive up to 15 months of assistance, plus an additional 3 months if the extra months are needed to ensure housing stability and funds are available. Priority will be placed on paying past due rent and utilities before any assistance is provided for current and future rent and utility payments. Current and future rent and utility payments will be provided for three months at a time. Households may reapply for additional assistance at the end of the three-month period if needed and the overall time limit for assistance is not exceeded.
To be eligible, a household must be obligated to pay rent on a residential dwelling; and
- Households paying rent under a lease agreement. This includes tenants making lease payments under a lease-purchase agreement;
- Households, where one or more individuals have either: a) qualified for unemployment benefits; or b) experienced a decrease in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which include:
- Job loss;
- Job furlough;
- Closure of place of employment;
- Reduction in self-employment compensation;
- Job loss and/or wage reduction due to requirement to be quarantined based on a diagnosis of COVID-19; or
- Other pertinent circumstances leading to financial hardship;
- Households where one or more individuals within the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability;
- A household income at or below 80% of area median income as defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development;
- Have a current primary residence in a housing unit in New Mexico;
- Have documentation to demonstrate delinquency on rental housing costs, utilities and other costs; and
- Have made their housing cost payments through March 31, 2020.
Applicants will be required to provide documentation showing:
- The applicant is renting a residential dwelling
- That the applicant lives in NM
- That the applicant has been indirectly or directly impacted by COVID-19
- The at least one household member is at risk of homelessness or housing instability
- Documentation showing the applicant’s household is under the Program Income Limits
An application for rental assistance may be submitted by either an eligible household or by a landlord on behalf of that eligible household. In general, funds will be paid directly to landlords and utility service providers. If a landlord does not wish to participate, funds may be paid directly to the eligible household.
Applicants may apply through the online application portal (turquoise “apply today” button on right side of window), call 1-833-485-1334, or download and submit the application via email at Info@RentHelpNM.org or mail to DFA, 407 Galisteo, Santa Fe, NM 87501, Attention: ERAP. The application process is open through August 31, 2021.
Renters across the state are eligible for this program — except for residents of Bernalillo County (outside of Albuquerque city limits), Dona Ana County, and those who live in a pueblo or tribal area. Those two counties, as well as tribal governments, will administer their own Rental Assistance Programs.
- Bernalillo County Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Program
- Dona Ana County Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Program
Help for Homeowners & Landlords
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s site also includes resources to help homeowners, renters, and landlords navigate various financial hardships related to the pandemic: