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Old 01-08-2010, 11:32 AM   #1
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Default Help Needed: Ex-Landlord Harassment

Hi everyone.

I could use some advice on dealing with my ex-landlord. I recently moved into a new place after fulfilling my rental agreement at the previous apartment. My Mexican ex-landlord still has my $350 USD ($4,200 MXN) deposit and is trying to extort more money from me by over-inflating the cost of things he expects to be fixed or replaced. 99% of his requests are unjustified.

I told him to keep the $350 USD and use it in whichever manner he chooses, yet he's trying to extort more money from me and has threatened me with legal action. He's even claiming that I left his apartment "un-rentable," which is so far beyond the truth that I can't even begin to explain it.

He has called me and a friend a number of times and has sent a few emails harassing me. He even showed up at my new house, uninvited, on Sunday morning at 7:45 a.m. to threaten me with legal action, stating I would pay, no matter what, whether it was to him or a judge or the police. (He actually went searching for my house.)

He's even trying to claim that I need to pay for replacing items in the apartment that weren't there when I first moved in, such as landscaping.

Can anyone refer me to someone who can help me with this matter? The guy is a crook and gives Mexicans a really bad name.

Many thanks!
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Old 01-08-2010, 12:53 PM   #2
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This is an all too common situation unfortunately, it happened to us when we left our first place, and I know it's happened to others too. Most of the time it's just posturing to get as much out of you as they can get away with. I dare say if you pay what he's asking he may well come back asking for more.

What I would suggest (and what we did) is:

First you tell him you do not want him to contact you again. If he wishes to proceed with recovering costs he believes he is owed then tell him it should be dealt with via the proper channels i.e. via a legal process.

Try to make all correspondence written e.g. via email if you can, and keep copies. Log any phonecalls, visits.

If he continues to harrass you then you need to file a Denuncia which is kind of like a restraining order. He'll be arrested if he breaks the conditions and also will be 'chief suspect' should any harm come to you or your property. You'll need to use a lawyer for this. I've long since forgotten the name of the lawyer we used, but Rivergirl recommended him to us - she will know who I'm speaking of if you ask her. It wasnt a cheap process about 5,000 pesos but we never heard from the landlord again after that.

Good luck, I'm sure it will work out OK in the end.
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Old 01-08-2010, 01:41 PM   #3
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Default Thank You!

Many thanks, Steve!

I'm sorry to hear it happened to you, too, and to many others.

I will take your suggestions to heart and have already started documenting calls, emails, and visits.

If you have any other suggestions or referrals, please let me know.
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Old 01-08-2010, 02:52 PM   #4
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Sorry to hear about this...but why am I not surprised? This guy has been a jerk to you since Day 2 (the day after you gave him all your money).

I think the attorney we sent Steve to is one who lives near us, just up the street from the vet over here...that lawyer is a snake, probably just what you need.

I'll dig up the name and will email it to you.
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Old 01-08-2010, 03:08 PM   #5
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Thanks a million, RiverGirl. I could use a snake-like attorney in this den of snakes! (Isn't that what "Cancun" means?) And my ex-landlord still professes that he's a "man of honor." Yeah...right.
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:35 PM   #6
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From my one and only experience while there alone which comes somewhat close, a rental car experience, is there any chance that you may have taken before/move in condition pics and then after/move out condition pics?

I would think that the 1 pic is worth 1000 words saying would be powerful in this situation, especially if the pics are dated. The best of luck to you in resolving this matter.
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Old 01-09-2010, 09:22 AM   #7
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Whiz,

Are you talking about the guy with the gringa wife who is/was so nice? Can she help call off the dog?

Good luck, that really sucks.
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:01 AM   #8
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It looks like there are only two options when these situations arise, spend money on legal consul, or get assertive and risk bigger problems. So long as these sorts of people think that they can get something from you they will not back off. Only when they see that you will fight them tooth and nail before giving them anything will they realize their time is better spent elsewhere.


Edited first post because I spoke too soon... Mexican renters now claim they will pay the rent "soon" so we'll hold off on the skull cracking
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Old 01-09-2010, 12:50 PM   #9
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Yep, TJ, same guy, but the American girlfriend is "whipped" and she just does and believes whatever he does. Couldn't count on either one of them. It was always: "I'm too busy...I forgot...I don't have any money" etc.

Thanks to the rest of you for your suggestions and support. I'm not too pleased with the MX attitude either... Wish they would figure out that if they play fair, they have more to gain in the long run, but they're so short-sighted. Part of the culture of deprivation, methinks.

Each day I'm here in Cancun, I get a little wiser and less trusting. At least, we all still have each other! : )
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Old 01-10-2010, 01:18 AM   #10
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Mexico or United States.........!! Same difference.......!! Many landlords are the same, no matter where you live... Some are nice......and others are snakes....

So, fight fire with fire
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Old 01-10-2010, 08:41 AM   #11
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Eye doc,

You are right but here it is worse. Tenants who have rented more than once are generally of the mindset that when they move their deposit is gone, even if they improve the property while there and leave it in better condition than when they arrived.

My friends move back to the states a few months ago and had arranged for the very nice landlord to give me their deposit and I would get it to them. They were charged 1/2 the cost of a new water heater plus installation, that was installed by the LL when they moved in and the other one quit. They were charged for a week of cleaning based on what muchachas are paid, for water to clean the rugs at a fee exceeding what I pay for 6 months of water use. There was more. Good news is that they got a good portion of the deposit back. They represented themselves however and remembered paying another month of deposit although the written agreement stated otherwise.

Motto - In God we trust; get a lawyer for others.

Before and after, photo and video evidence, dated, witnessed and notarized, may soon become a way of life in Cancun.

As always, I recommend spending the $$ for an attorney to represent you in matters of real estate, business, buying a car, etc. At least your potential future opponent may infer that you are not a pushover. The playing field is clearly not level for Mexicans vs Non-Mexicans.

I still love it.
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