We were living in our Uruapan home for a couple of months, when our renting nightmare happened. Property police arrived at our door and asked our Mexican friend to come downtown with them. Little did we know that this was going to lead to moving, for our fourth time in two years. This happened last spring. I am just getting around to writing this post. Partly because the whole experience was a little traumatic.
Mexico is like that. Weird things happen with the law sometimes and all we can do is play along and be good little expats. You learn to live with it or you go home. Let me tell you the rest of the story.
Tips For Moving to Mexico
If you are going to rent a house over $500 USD in Mexico, and you don’t have oodles of cash, you are probably going to need a Mexican citizen to co-sign. We rented four homes thus far and three of them required this. The only reason one of them let us skip this step is because the owner was a friend.
Signing a one year lease is also a common requirement for renters. Your co-signer will need to provide proof of citizenship and other legal documents. We are fortunate to have some great Mexican friends who helped us co-sign for our leases. That is why poor David, our co-signer, had to go downtown with the property police and we stayed home, worrying.
- On a side note: plan on putting down a rent deposit. Sometimes it is one months deposit and sometimes it is two months. It depends on the home, the price, and the owner. Don’t plan on getting that deposit back. A few friends have advised us that if you have a good conscience about the condition of the house, when you decide to move don’t pay the last month’s rent. Your deposit will pay for the rent.
The Renting Nightmare
It was a freaky situation. They took our innocent friend downtown and asked him all kinds of questions. In the end, it was claimed that the lady who rented the home to us was not the owner. The “real owner” wanted us out in 15 days. No charges would be pressed if we did as asked.
My parent’s were visiting us during this whole fiasco. They watched the kids while we looked for a new house and they helped us pack and move. I am grateful for their support but this wasn’t part of our plans for their first visit to Mexico. It put a damper on the end of their vacation and our time spent together.
We lost our deposit. $500 USD down the tube. What a bummer. But it could have been worse! The police could have arrested us and our children, claiming we were illegally living in someone’s home without consent. That would NOT have been good.
The authorities wanted our help in “catching” the lady who scammed us. We wanted nothing to do with it. We didn’t know who the “real owner” was. Unfortunately the Mexican government can be shady. I think all governments are shady. Some just cover it up better than others. But with four kids, and living here as foreigners, we were not taking any chances with our family’s safety. We were moving and leaving this behind us.
Our Fourth Home in Mexico
Thankfully we found another home close by and we moved within 15 days. Actually I think we moved in a week. Trying to explain our sudden move to our “fake owner” was awkward to say the least. The authorities told us not to tell her anything. But we wanted her to know how things were going down. If she wasn’t scamming us, someone else was. We were honest with her. Our family’s safety was at risk. We didn’t know all the details about the home and the owners, but either way, we had to go.
I like our current home. It is not modern and needs some work but I love the layout and the space. Our landlady does not want to pay to maintain the house. But she wants to raise the rent when we renew our lease, because the peso has decreased in value in comparison to the dollar. She wants at least $500 USD for rent. Brad told her we don’t live in the States, we live in Mexico. We pay with the peso.
I hate this part of being a US expat in Mexico but the truth is… many locals think we are made of money. This is far from the truth. We are on a budget, enjoying Mexico’s lower cost of living. Our budget does not include prejudice. We can’t afford to pay more because we are US citizens. However we can move again in the spring, and find a cheaper house at least for another year ;-)
Without further ado, here is our “home”. I didn’t even bother making the house look perfect. Doesn’t that make you feel special? Course I think my cleaning lady, Maria, was here just the day before… Signing off, Tina