What are my rights regarding eviction if I put money into the property?

UPDATED: Jan 12, 2012

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What are my rights regarding eviction if I put money into the property?

I’m a month-to-month tenant with a verbal month to month agreement. I have lived there for over 10 years and although I have only paid 3 1/2 months of rent over this time period, the owner told me that as long as I kept up the place, he would deal with the non payment of rent. I have made significant improvements to the home, and now he wants to evict me because his daughter is moving in and I refuse to move. How long does he have to give me (days) notice to leave? And can I just refuse to move based on my contributions to the improvement of the property?

Asked on January 12, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New Mexico


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, an oral (or verbal) agreement for tenancy is treated as an oral lease, even when the "rent" paid is maintenance. An oral lease may be terminated by either party, landlord or tenant, on 30 days notice, for any reason. Therefore, the landlord can give you 30 days notice to leave, then evict if you do not. Having put money into the property does not give you any rights: in this case, that money (and any effort/work you did) was your rent. Having "paid" it is why he let you stay here this long; but rent, once paid, has no continuing effect on future occupancy.

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