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Frequently Asked Questions About Renting in Mexico

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About 60 percent of expats who live in Mexico rent their homes and many of you own properties that you rent out. I receive many questions each month about renting, so today I will answer a few of the frequently asked questions I have received about renting in Mexico.

End of Tenancy Cleaning

Question: If a tenant leaves the property in a different condition to what it was originally, can a landlord ask for money from the deposit to cover the cleaning and what is the best way to obtain a quote?

Tenants are expected to return the rental property back to the landlord in the condition it was initially let.

So, if the property is in a worse state of cleanliness than it was at the time of move in, aside from general “wear and tear,” the landlord may be able to deduct cleaning costs from the tenant’s deposit.

This being said, landlords cannot charge tenants for end of tenancy cleaning outright. Under the Civil Code, landlords cannot request that tenants organize and pay for professional cleaning at the end of a tenancy.

Deposit disputes regarding cleaning or damage can be easily resolved if an Inventory and Check-Out Inspection are carried out. Recording the condition of the property before and after the tenant moves in will clearly show any damage or deterioration. Without these documents, tenant damages can be extremely difficult to prove, and also difficult the recover the deposit.

Question: Are utilities’ inspections a legal requirement?

Electrical and gas leak inspections are not a legal requirement for landlords, but it is highly recommended that tenants request one before moving in.

Advice on Right to Access

Question: My landlord states she/he has the right to visit the property surrounding the house I have rented, anytime she chooses, without notification, because she is not visiting the dwelling itself. Is this true?

If the surrounding area is part of the rent, she/he need a good reason and must let you know at least 24 hours prior, or less if it is an emergency. Tenants have the right to “quiet enjoyment.” This simply means they have the right to live in their property without unexpected visits.

If a landlord intends to visit her/his rental property or arrange a contractor to stop by, she/he must give their tenant a minimum of 24-hour’s notice in writing.

In this circumstance, if the “surrounding area” was included in the initial property advertisement and is being let to the tenant along with the dwelling, then the landlord should give the tenant notice before visiting, as stated above.

Accessing a property is not limited to the building itself. It includes all the gardens and any other grounds or areas included in the tenancy agreement.

Landlord Advice on Property Inventories

Question: Do I need a property inventory even if my property is unfurnished? Are there any benefits or would I be wasting money?

A common misconception amongst landlords is that an inventory is only required if you have furniture in your property.

We recommend a professional inventory and schedule of condition be carried out at all rental properties – furnished or unfurnished.

The inventory is a record of your whole property’s condition – not just the furniture. This includes:

  •  Light switches and plug sockets
  • Kitchen and bathroom fittings
  • Light fittings and shades
  • Curtains and windows
  • Carpets and floors
  • Walls and doors
  • Garden furniture, fencing and ornaments

Every last detail should be recorded and both you and the tenant should sign to say you agree on the final inventory. We would also recommend making a note of the utility meter readings and their locations.

The idea behind an inventory is to protect both the landlord and the tenant and prevent possible disputes when the tenancy comes to an end.

An inventory is extremely beneficial should any damage-related deposit disputes arise. If the tenant leaves your property in a bad way and the landlord wants to claim the costs from their deposit, the inventory (along with mid-term or check-out reports) will support your case.

Guarantors

Question: My Realtor has told me that I need a guarantor to rent a property. Could someone tell me what a guarantor is?

A guarantor or “rent guarantor/co-signee” is someone who will pay the rent on your behalf if you are unable to pay it.

This can be anyone – perhaps a friend or relative – who lives inn same city. They don’t need to be a homeowner, but they do need to give their consent before you put them forward as your guarantor.

Whether you need a guarantor or not is usually determined during the tenant referencing process. This involves a credit check, an employment and income check and a reference from your previous landlord. (There are some professional agencies that will act as guarantors for a flat fee.)

Of course, some tenants will be unable to meet the credit requirement, but instead of being declined they will have the option to put down a guarantor. Their guarantor must meet the income requirements and will be liable for the rent or any damage costs should the tenant be unable to pay.

Landlord ID checks

Question: I want to lease out my property but the real estate agency has asked me to show ID proving I own the property? I feel like they don’t trust me. Is this normal procedure?

Yes, it is. When advertising a property, rental agents will ask the landlord for proof of ownership. This is to protect landlords and tenants from fraud and illegal subletting. This verification is an extra level of security, not just for the agent, but for every landlord out there. Without asking people to prove who they are, a landlord’s property could be listed without them knowing.

Before renting directly from an owner/landlord, ask for:

  • Photo ID – such as a driving license or passport
  • Proof of ownership – such as a mortgage statement, title deed or land registry certificate.

Some landlords are surprised when asked for this. It’s important to remember that this is a normal process with your best interests in mind – not a personal doubt of your integrity!

Tenancy Deposits

Question: Hi, I am a new landlord and would like some help. Where should I store my tenant’s deposit?

It is not a legal requirement to put your tenancy deposit in an escrow account, but it is recommended. There are a couple of certified escrow institutions in Mexico.

At the end of the tenancy agreement, you must return the deposit within 10 days. If there is a dispute, the deposit will be protected by the escrow account until it’s resolved.

We recommend you have an attorney look at the Lease Agreement before anyone signs it, to avoid any unnecessary complications.

If you have questions about renting your property in Mexico or your rights in renting a home, you can contact me at dianac.lawyer@gmail.com.

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