Roswell property owner fed up with problem tenant

ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – A Roswell landlord says her tenant is trashing her property and he hasn’t paid rent for months. The property owner, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she’s been told she can’t do much about it. It’s been a problem many people are facing since the pandemic started.

“It really has caused a fire hazard with the weeds grown up and I understand that they are growing up through that fence. I had pipe fencing and goat wire on the inside,” said the property owner.

Her frustration has grown over time as she just wants to be able to sell the property and focus on her recovery as she had fallen ill earlier this year.

“I was getting my property ready to sell and then I got real sick and then had to fly out here to Tennessee for the surgery at the end of February and he came right after that,” she said. 

When her life took an unexpected turn, she decided to rent the property and allow a tenant to live there on a six-month lease. Now, four months after that lease ended, he’s still there, and things are getting out of hand.

As part of their rental agreement, the tenant was to take care of the property and the attached pasture in exchange for reduced rent but there has been no care. The property is now in a state of disarray.

“It was supposed to be my retirement home. It’s a three-bedroom, two-bath house. It has six acres, water rights, nut and fruit trees. It was just what I always wanted and intended to stay there for the rest of my life until I got sick,” she said.

Now, even the county is unsure how they can help. New Mexico still has an eviction moratorium in place. Basically, landlords can’t evict tenants for non-payment of rent if a person is impacted financially by the pandemic. The landlord says that isn’t the case here, and the tenant is just taking advantage. It’s not just about money but also the work he promised to do.

However, county officials say they aren’t sure how to handle it. “This issue with her and her tenant is new to us, we don’t have a case similar and we haven’t had a precedent case in this matter,” said Louis Jaramillo, Chaves County Planning and Zoning director.

County officials say they’re basically in a wait-and-see mode. Some states have resumed evictions but the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled earlier this year the moratorium here would remain in place. They didn’t set a time limit.