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LegalKnowledge
LegalKnowledge, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 24856
Experience:  10+ years handling Legal, Real Estate, Criminal Law, Family Law, Traffic matters.
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I live in new Mexico. I was renting a home from an individual

Customer Question

I live in new Mexico. I was renting a home from an individual under a 6 month lease. when I signed the rental agreement it was average, stated monthly rent due date and the 25 late fee after the 5th. I paid all utilities except water. I lived alone there with my 8 month old old son. also I was aprox 5 months pregnant. The landlord however every single month if rent was due and the following morning came and I had not paid him he would walk into my yard and disconnect the water completely. no toilet shower etc I couldn't even make bottles for my baby. He would leave nasty letters each time on the front door. one time I was hospitalized due to pregnancy complications and upon returning from the hospital I went home to no water and letters demanding to inspect the home the following day. he noticed a old vehicle in my dads yard and continued to threaten to evict me unless him and my dad came to an agreement with my dad selling him that car. he left a letter about that also. I lived there 5 months and I have 14 letters from him. 8 are stating he shut off the water and it remains off until the late fee is paid etc.... Than in the middle of my fourth month he left another letter I came home too saying he quits and is closing the home park. gave 20 days saying he will have all power disconected and the park fenced off. which he did luckily my parents helped me move. he never returned my deposit either. im curious isnt it illegal to some point him disconnecting th e water etc.....and what could I do in the situation, also what is the time tlimit to pursue such a case.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 4 years ago.

Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help solve your problem.

Good morning. I certainly understand your situation and concern. Yes, it is certainly illegal what he did. The landlord can not use self help to evict you or to demand rent be paid. Any relief or remedy sought, would have had to be obtain through the court. You should certainly keep the letters, evidencing his action and to support your testimony, about what he did. The court could take action and fine him, if you file suit. Your security deposit should have been returned within 30 days after you moved out or the landlord should have provided you with an itemized list of any deductions and returned the balance, if any. If he failed to do this, he may have waived his right to do so and would need to return the full amount. If he fails to do so, you would have to sue him to recover, in addition to any other damages which you suffered, as a result of his actions. If he turned off the power and water and you were forced to move, you could try and recover the cost in doing so.


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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

is there a time limit I have to pursue this

Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 4 years ago.

4 or 6 years, depending on the cause of action.

Injury to Personal Property: 4 years

Contracts: Written, 6 years

Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 4 years ago.
Hi Sarah.
I just wanted to follow up and see if you had any other questions or needed me to clarify something. I am here to help, so please let me know. Thanks!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

legal aide in new Mexico told me that he could have to pay a certain amount for each month I can prove he disconnected my water. but my vehicle burned down and I lost the letter from them..could you explain what they were telling me by chance

Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 4 years ago.
They were likely telling you that court could fine/sanction him for his actions, which were illegal. If you do not have any written evidence (i.e. the letter) you still have your testimony and that of any other witnesses, who observed his actions, to prove what he did.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
When a landlord "unlawfully removes or excludes the tenant or willfully diminishes services to the tenant by interrupting ...heat, running water, hot water, electricity, gas, or other essential" service, the act provides the tenant with powerful legal tools. A tenant may move back into the dwelling, or move out. Either way, the act recommends that the wronged tenant be awarded three months' rent, or three times his actual damages, whichever is greater, plus the cost of his legal action.
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 4 years ago.
Yes, that is what I stated above, in regard to the illegal conduct of the landlord. You would need to sue to recover for this, as well as for the return of your security deposit.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Do I need to hire an attorney? Or if o just take him to claims court does the judge usually do these things? Im sure a lawyer for suing him for the damages etc.... Is more expensive than what I could possibly be awarded..
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 4 years ago.
You can do it yourself if you wanted to. Moreover, as stated above, it is possible that you would be awarded attorney fees, so if you retain counsel, he would have to pay for it.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Is it more than likely to not be awarded anything like how it states being awarded twice the months rent for each of the months the landlord made the home inhabitable with out having legal representation? Could u plz tel me yhe best steps to take. To not only recover my deposit but fo disconnected utilities and forcing me to move out before my lease . Than il be done bugging you, sorry& thanks
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 4 years ago.

Based upon what you stated above, it does sound like you have a good case and chance of recovery. You want to be able to obtain all the money you can from the landlord. As such, if you are not very familiar with the court system, it is in your best interest to retain an attorney and have them represent you. They can try and get the Judge to award attorney fees and based upon the actions of the landlord, there is a chance for this as well. The attorney will know what causes of action to raise and how to proceed on the case, acting on your behalf. On Monday, you can likely set up a consultation with a few attorneys, to talk about the facts of the case and see what they will charge for representation in the matter. The last thing which you want to do, is handle this yourself and run into problems and/or not recover what you are entitled to.

Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 4 years ago.
Hi Sarah. I just wanted to follow up and see if you had any other questions or needed me to clarify something. I am here to help, so please let me know. Thanks!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

is there a certain type of lawyer?I live n a very small town

Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 4 years ago.

It is a civil litigation case, so any attorney would likely be able to handle it. In an ideal situation, you can find an attorney that handles landlord/tenant disputes in real estate but if not, then general litigation. Please let me know if there is anything else and I would be happy to answer it. If not, please remember to rate my help with 3, ,4 or 5 faces, so I can get credit. Thank you!

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