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ZSThomp

Sep 20, 2009, 1:40 AM

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Nightmare in Baja, please help

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Hello all,

I've posted here before, but I'm posting now to ask for help if anybody can help me, or at least to reveal the horrors we've faced. No, I'm not talkin robberies or kidnappings. I'm talking about just wanting to live in peace.
We found online and rented through real estate agents a house in a community south of Primo Tapia. The house is large and beautiful, although very dirty when we first moved in with electrical problems in the house. My partner and I (he, Mexican, and me, gringo and both speak Spanish) moved in and started to enjoy so much the house and the yard. Thanks to our wanting a nice home, we've actually made the house and area look nicer, all within the confines of the owner's wishes etc...
There were some things that happened at the beginning of the lease that left us with a bad taste in our mouth, we felt acosted and like we were treated horribly. As a side note to give you an idea, we couldn't have a phone number of the owners of the house for an emergency because they didn't want to be bothered, yet they had OUR number and of course they lived in walking distance.
We felt horribly initially but between us agreed to complete the six month contract as we liked the house and we didn't need to be friends with the owners anyway. The owners were very nice to my partner in person talking later, and we began to feel that we could let our guard down.
Then this morning, Sat, the real estate rings the doorbell at 930am and delivers a note saying that the owners now need the house so that we need to vacate within 30 days. No reason, no apology for inconvenience, nothing. The contract does say that either party has right to vacate withing 30 days should they want to so we our SOL when it comes to staying in the house.
I feel destroyed, can't sleep and and have never been treated so horribly by landlords in my life, but so much for sueing for emotional distress here in Mexico.
We are quiet people, best tenants anyone could ever want, and these landlords are playing god with our lives. There is so much to the story but I won't say it here. We've had visitors from time to time and it is possible that one of the owners do not like one of these visitors, and for that reason, want us to vacate. We will never know the reason. Anyway, We have been on time with all payments stipulated and have only lived here three weeks for all this to happen!!! Today, when my partner went out to see the visitor to the door, he saw the owner of the rental house come out from the neighbor's yard!! What was he doing there in back? The only thing that is there is dirt, iceplant and a view to our rental house and yard. He gave our visitor a disdainful look and went back to his house. I've never experienced any of this is my own country, and am amazed that it is happening in Mexico with gringo landlords!
I'd like to talk to someone in Baja who knows life here, who knows Mexican laws, or just who is a nice person who could lend me an ear, or tell if I have any recourse here. I don't think I do, but I am so upset by this that I have to find out. I have a US number and an Ensenada phone number. Thank you in advance to those who read this.

Zman


(This post was edited by ZSThomp on Sep 20, 2009, 1:46 AM)



Gringal

Sep 20, 2009, 9:19 AM

Post #2 of 15 (13287 views)

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Re: [ZSThomp] Nightmare in Baja, please help

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For what it's worth....here's some empathy. Many of us have had landlord problems that seem to take over our lives at the time.
My worst was renting a dumpy apartment (in my optimistic yourth) that would depress anyone. I cleaned and repaired and painted until it looked good. Cockroaches still made a daily appearance in the sink. After about a month, the landlady appeared at the door, took a look around and told me it looked so good that it was now worth more, so she'd be raising the rent as of the first of the next month. Couldn't handle that, so moved ASAP. However, I learned a bitter lesson. Landlords can be worse than cockroaches.

My advice would be to go for a good lease next time, written and signed in Spanish and English. Maybe spend some dinero on an attorney so you'll know you did it right. And better luck next time.


richmx2


Sep 20, 2009, 11:32 AM

Post #3 of 15 (13256 views)

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Re: [ZSThomp] Nightmare in Baja, please help

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Zman... the first priority is, of course, to find a place. I sent a private message, with some detailed information from a friend of mine who knows that area, and is able to assess what goes on in that part of Mexico better than I can.

I don't think you have much chance of obtaining a legal remedy, and wouldn't bother. However, unlike the U.S., where if you attach something to the wall, it belongs to the landlord, in Mexico any tenant-installed goods are the tenant's property. This includes anything like fuse boxes, water heaters, overhead fans, etc.

Free advise is worth what you paid for it, I know, but your Mexican partner may have better luck working with Mexican landlords than you would have working with gringos. No offense to the gringo property owners out there, but there are too many absentee greed-heads along the border and everyone gets tarred with the same brush.


http://mexfiles.net
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db52

Sep 20, 2009, 5:16 PM

Post #4 of 15 (13147 views)

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Re: [ZSThomp] Nightmare in Baja, please help

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Well, you mention a six-month contract but then say that either party can get out of it with a 30-day notice. So it's really more of a month-to-month deal, then, isn't it?

It sounds as if your landlords sort of took advantage of you in that you cleaned up the house and yard...and now they are exercising the option to boot you out!

Pretty rotten deal, but you'll know better next time.


Marlene / Moderator


Sep 21, 2009, 7:41 AM

Post #5 of 15 (13051 views)

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Re: [ZSThomp] Nightmare in Baja, please help

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Find a recommended attorney who knows the landlord/tenancy laws and consult with him. The contract doesn't sound legal to me, and tenants have the upper hand under local laws.

If the Baja is like the rest of Mexico in this regard, the foreign landlord needs to get himself legal to rent out his property. Do you suppose he pays taxes on the rental income? He may have some personal business to attend to, to keep himself busy, instead of harassing his tenants.

From what you have posted, it seems he has an issue with your visitors. That's something to think about too, being new to the area and maybe not knowing new friends as well as the local residents do. He, as a foreign homeowner, may have real cause for concern that you aren't aware of. Have you thought of asking him what his concern is about your visitors?


richmx2


Sep 21, 2009, 11:48 AM

Post #6 of 15 (13018 views)

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Re: [Marlene] Nightmare in Baja, please help

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Marlene, well-meant, I'm sure, but these guys have to find a place to live first.

C'mon, the reality is that the landlord -- foreigner or otherwise, legal or otherwise, justified or otherwise -- screwed these guys over, and they should move first, THEN think about a remedy in the courts. Several years ago, having had to leave Mexico City for a time (my father was dying, and I had to return to the U.S.), when I came back, I needed a place quickly and rented a cuarto in Mexico City with the landlord from Hell. Other people wanted my unit, and would have paid more than I had already contracted, so he was going to get rid of me, one way or another. It wasn't a relatively nice place, like the OP describes, but it was convenient for me, and moving is always a hassle.

Sure, there were all kinds of legal reasons I could have held on, but even if I was willing to put up with minor annoyances (the place had a shared kitchen, and the landlord, or one of his buddies, kept swiping my kitchenware), it would have made my life hellish -- Z-man has made reference in previous posts to some physical challenges. I was at the time in pretty good physical condition, but there is always the chance of a landlord resorting to strong-arm tactics, which I had to take into consideration. Of course I moved (found a much nicer place, with a wonderful site manager, and great neighbors, about a block down the street). AFTER I moved, I went back for my deposit.

Whatever the landlord's "issues", they're not going away, and unless Z-man's guests were destructive, it was none of the landlord, nor the neighbor's damn business who he invited to his home anyway. I don't know the area where they lived, but the email I received from a person in Rosario (which I passed along to the Z-man) does, and made suggestions about alternative locations.


http://mexfiles.net
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Marlene / Moderator


Sep 21, 2009, 12:15 PM

Post #7 of 15 (13007 views)

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Re: [richmx2] Nightmare in Baja, please help

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That was sort of my point, when I suggested taking the "contract" to an attorney for a brief consultation. They should find out their rights, as it will come in handy for the next time too. I don't believe they can legally be forced out under these circumstances, and can take their time to find a better place to live. They need time to screen a new area and check places well this time

The real estate agent who placed them should be offering some explanation as to what has transpired, and communicating with both parties so that if something can be rectified, they have the chance. It isn't pleasant for these renters at the moment, but to be forced out in a panic is not right either, and that's what the laws are there for; to prevent this kind of abuse against tenants. Once they leave the house, they can pretty much forget any recourse, but as long as they are in it, legally they have the upper hand. Hopefully something better will turn up soon.


(This post was edited by Marlene on Sep 21, 2009, 12:20 PM)


Axixic


Sep 22, 2009, 10:35 AM

Post #8 of 15 (12938 views)

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Re: [Marlene] Nightmare in Baja, please help

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I agree that the OP should take the contact to an attorney. Most attorneys do not know landlord/tenant law because it usually isn't profitable but the attorney should understand contracts in Mexico. In most states, no lease can be less than a year. There is no legal six month lease. In most landlord/tenant law, if there is an out, like the 30 day notice, the notice must be agreed upon by both parties not just the landlord. If the landlord wants to evict, it will take him at least 6 months to get in front of a judge and the tenant will usually win if the tenant has been paying rent or has a legitimate reason not to pay rent. Since this is a six month lease which is probably an illegal lease anyway, the landlord doesn't have a lease to enforce.

I'd take it to an attorney and have the attorney call the landlord. The attorney can bluff his/her way through the conversation explaining all the trouble the landlord has created for himself. If the landlord is a foreigner, and I couldn't find that in the OP, the landlord is in trouble if he did not get permission to rent property or he has not paid Hacienda taxes on the property. I wouldn't have the attorney bring that up if the landlord is Mexican but maybe he could hint at it.

Most importantly, an attorney will not charge very much to intervene with the landlord and the tenant should cut off all communications with the landlord and have conversations go through the attorney.


Marlene / Moderator


Sep 22, 2009, 1:59 PM

Post #9 of 15 (12918 views)

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Re: [PamelaDelafield] Nightmare in Baja, please help

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I agree with the advice given, however, to clarify about the contracts please note that each State has it's own laws in this area. They may be similar, I'm not sure. For example, in Sinaloa the recognized legal lease is 3 years but if rent payments are current, you automatically get the 4th year option. It holds water in court. If anyone is buying a property with renters in it, this is the area to check before signing on the dotted line. You may not get access to your new property for a long time.

Foreigners make up all sorts of contracts between themselves for varying lengths of time, in English. Who knows how the courts would rule on those, but if such an agreement doesn't contain contradictions to the State laws, they probably are okay. The one month notice clause is very suspect.

The most important thing a qualified attorney who works in landlord/tenancy area told us, is that a contract with a foreigner cannot be outside the time-frame of their Immigration status in Mexico, or it is not legal. This could be the reason for the 6 month contract given the OP. This is the length of a tourist visa. It can be changed later if and when his immigration status changes, or can be renewed every six months if he has a new tourist visa.

Hopefully everything will work out for them.


Brian

Sep 22, 2009, 3:32 PM

Post #10 of 15 (12906 views)

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Re: [Marlene] Nightmare in Baja, please help

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The San Diego Reader has run this story about the rental situation in Baja, specifically the area between Tijuana and Rosarito:

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/...me-where-cheap-rent/

Brian


(This post was edited by Brian on Sep 22, 2009, 6:09 PM)


Axixic


Sep 22, 2009, 3:53 PM

Post #11 of 15 (12898 views)

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Re: [Brian] Nightmare in Baja, please help

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In Reply To
The San Diego Reader has run this story about the rental situation in Baja, specifically Tijuana:

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2009/sep/20/home-where-cheap-rent/

Brian


The advanced editor lost my whole post and since two minutes have gone by, I forgot what I wrote and can't rewrite it. I won't use the advanced editor again.


(This post was edited by PamelaDelafield on Sep 22, 2009, 3:56 PM)


don pedro


Sep 24, 2009, 6:40 AM

Post #12 of 15 (12795 views)

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Re: [PamelaDelafield] Nightmare in Baja, please help

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richmx2 gave you the best advice. take everything you put in the place with you and find a new house. english leases are not valid in mex,btw.
all the rest is moot. stough happens and not only in mexico. why dwell on it and waste your time making yourself more miserable
http://chapalamexicoinfo.createforumhosting.com
naivete is a chronIc disease and by its very nature;the afflicted never know they have it.-SNORK!

(This post was edited by don pedro on Sep 24, 2009, 6:41 AM)


Manuel Dexterity

Sep 24, 2009, 7:24 AM

Post #13 of 15 (12784 views)

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Re: [don pedro] Nightmare in Baja, please help

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english leases are not valid in mex,btw.


Contracts in English are valid in México.


ZSThomp

Oct 9, 2009, 4:06 AM

Post #14 of 15 (12514 views)

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Update!

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Hello all,

This is just an update for anyone that cares on our situation. We moved out of the La Mision house and got all our deposit back!! Oh and after I posted the last time, we came home one time and the owner was there with some fulano and when asked what he was doing there, he told my partner "F*** you!" We called the police, went down to the delegacion and they made a report. Later several police including el comandante followed us and went to their door to tell them to stop harassing us. It was an ugly situation but hopefully it put the fear of you know in them.
Now we are renting a great trailer almost oceanfront in Rosarito, closer to the linea, closer to everything. I feel better. Thank you so much to everyone for their kind posts and helpful information. I appreciated it so much!!!

Zman


bournemouth

Oct 9, 2009, 7:15 AM

Post #15 of 15 (12504 views)

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Re: [ZSThomp] Update!

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Glad to hear things worked out for you - and glad that you got the deposit back.
 
 
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