Letters To The Editor

August 21, 2017 Edition

Rental agents and home owners beware!

Los Cabos has become a ripe target for squatters. The worst offenders seem to be timeshare salesmen, although they are by no means the only squatters today. The con jobs are well orchestrated by people who apparently have a lot of experience, often using Craigslist, un professional "Realtors", and false information. Unfortunately, in Mexico, the renter seems to have more rights than the owner, as the squatter lives rent-free until a court throws him/her out, which can take years.

The system is as follows: The renter needs a place "urgently" for any number of supposed reasons. He (or she) pays for the first month plus a one month deposit. The second month, the renter has excuses for late payments, which might never come. The renter then claims his/her "renters' rights" to stay, even bringing in other family members or using any false excuse. Then, when the owner or agent demands payment, the squatter refuses communication or entry to the premises, and refers further negotiation to a lawyer. If the owner or agent pursues payment, the squatter might find a lawyer who uses legal delays or attempts to extort a payment for the squatter to leave the premises. In the event a judgement is obtained against the owner, appeals may come next.

How to protect the owner? Use a MSL real estate agent. Get honest prior residence references and check them out. Have a lawyer review the rental contract (very important). Take photos of the contents prior to renting, and do not assume that a person’s employment will guarantee character. Reputable timeshares like Villa Del Palmar, Villas Del Arco and Diamante all have employees who have attempted to scam owners.

Adrienne Kenlan

Via email