Press Release

Española Tenants File Federal Lawsuit Against USDA and Corporate Apartment Landlords for Unlawfully Terminating the Community’s Only Affordable Housing

USDA and Landlords Violated Federal, State, Civil Rights, and Landlord-Tenant Laws, Compromising Several Families’ Stability and Safety

Española, NM—Yesterday, current and former tenants asked a New Mexico federal district court to require the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and former and current owners of the La Vista Del Rio Apartments (LVDR) to stop illegal rent increases and evictions, and enforce the affordable housing requirements at the property, including making necessary repairs to keep the housing safe and habitable. The illegal termination of the USDA program at LVDR and illegal actions of the landlords resulted in several Española families becoming homeless or forced into housing they cannot afford, losing important tenant protections, or subjected to uninhabitable conditions. NM Center on Law and Poverty and National Housing Law Project are representing current and former tenants in Chavez v. Vilsack.

“I was happy living at La Vista Del Rio because it was affordable and close to my family. It needed some repairs, but I thought the landlord was supposed to help us. Instead they told me they were closing down the building and I had to leave my home. I was worried because I saw how they closed down the Santa Clara apartments and people had nowhere to go,” said former LVDR resident Susie Trujillo. “My daughter helped me get into a different apartment. My rent is now one hundred times more than what I was paying before. Instead of protecting us, the USDA completely abandoned our community.”

“Our strength as a state comes from our deep roots that create tight knit communities spanning generations. The illegal actions of both the apartment complex and the USDA left this community to make the impossible choice of having to forego other basic needs to pay exorbitant rent increases or leaving Española altogether because there is no affordable housing left. We cannot allow New Mexicans to be pushed out of their homes and communities,” said Wolf Bomgardner, Economic Equity attorney with the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty.“The USDA and landlords must be held accountable to protect the affordable housing that helps rural communities thrive.”

For years, La Vista Del Rio’s out-of-state corporate landlord, Bosley Management Inc., ignored state mandated landlord-tenant laws by denying requests for maintenance and security at the apartments, despite collecting millions of dollars in subsidies and rent from the federal government and tenants. In 2023, the USDA illegally allowed La Vista Del Rio Apartments to exit the Section 515 program, a federal loan program that provides affordable housing in rural areas. Despite legal requirements that it be maintained as affordable housing, Bosley Management Inc., sold the complex to investors and sent illegal notices to tenants advising that the landlord was closing the property. Bosley Management, Inc. is being sued by other tenants for failing to maintain the only other affordable housing complex in Española, leading to an illegal condemnation of the building. Because the USDA never held LVDR accountable to their legal obligations in the Section 515 program, 121 tenants were forced to choose between living in disrepair, leaving their community, or being homeless.

“With few options for affordable housing, USDA’s failure to enforce its preservation laws threatens the stability of rural communities and has already resulted in the displacement of families in Española,” said National Housing Law Project Managing Attorney Natalie Maxwell. “The government has a responsibility to help correct the power imbalance between landlords and tenants. We expect an immediate resolution that helps keep the lowest income tenants in their homes and protects communities of color from displacement.”

La Vista Del Rio’s new owners and managers, Villas De Avenida Canada, LLC, are now pressuring the remaining tenants to enter into the Rural Development Voucher program, effectively relinquishing their existing protections from unaffordable rent increases and eviction. The new owner has also refused to make necessary repairs to the remaining tenants’ apartments despite illegally raising rents and renovating the now  vacant units that are being offered at “market-rate” in the building.


Federal law imposes prepayment restrictions on USDA properties financed prior to December 14, 1989.  Under the prepayment restrictions, if USDA determines that the prepayment does not have an adverse impact on minority housing opportunities, but there is no alternative affordable housing in the community, the owners may prepay the loan subject to use restrictions. These use restrictions are intended to protect the residents of the property as of the date of prepayment. Despite the fact that Española’s population is more than 85 percent people of color, USDA approved the unlawful loan prepayment. At that time in 2023, the only other available rental unit in Española was a single room in a mobile home for $1000.

Affordable housing programs that protect tenants and help rural communities thrive are critical to New Mexico’s housing stock. New Mexico, like much of the United States, is struggling to combat a housing crisis where there is an extreme shortage of affordable housing and tenants lack protections from landlord abuse. In 2022, inflation increased in New Mexico at a record 9%, the cost of housing increased by 20%, and New Mexico experienced the highest increase in chronic homelessness in the nation, up 57.6% from the previous year. While illegal business practices by corporate landlords run rampant, New Mexican families are priced out of the communities they’ve been a part of for generations.

The full text of the complaint may be found here.

Read the press release here.