SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Some state lawmakers are trying to help people who are having trouble paying rent, but some said it would come at the cost of landlords. The sponsors said before the eviction moratorium put in place because of the pandemic, many New Mexicans struggled to find ways to pay rent. Now they said they want to modernize our tenant-landlord laws.

“We strongly believe the best social program we have is a stable home and that keeps kids in school, that keeps parents stable,” said Rep. Andrea Romero (D- Santa Fe). “This keeps you in a place where you know get up and go to work every single day so if you have stable and safe housing that’s affordable that’s basically your building block for life.”

The bill’s sponsors said they want to eliminate some sources of income that they say discriminates. They want landlords and other rental places to accept vouchers like veterans assistance, child support, social security income, inheritance and other forms of money as rent money. It also extends the time before people can be evicted for not paying rent, from three days to two weeks. Landlords who oppose the changes said it would put the financial burdens on them.

“There’s inequities that we’re creating that people aren’t taking into account,” said Chuck Sheldon with the Apartment Association of New Mexico. “So you want to help somebody but it should not be at the cost of and deterrence of everyone else. We need to work together so it’s both equitable to landlords and tenants.”

Landlords say they are worried some of the changes could make them miss out on getting paid for longer periods of time, which would put the financial strain on them. They also worry that some other changes might make it harder for them to kick out bad tenants.

The bill should be next heard in the House Judiciary Committee. The eviction moratorium is still in effect for people who can prove they can’t pay rent because of the COVID-19 public health emergency.