Signing a Rental Contract in Quintana Roo
Although there are laws in place to protect tenants and property owners, Mexican rental agreements have few regulations, allowing a rental contract to be somewhat open to negotiation between the landlord and the tenant.
Once you have agreed on a price and duration of the rental agreement, you should have a contract drawn up with the owner or their representative.
It is not necessary to have the agreement notarized as it is a legal document if the tenant and the landlord have signed the contract. A rental agreement is a private legal contract, and it will grant the temporary tenant use of the property in exchange for a monthly fee.
It is wise to have the contract reviewed by a Mexican lawyer to ensure the contract terms do not violate the Civil Code.
Considerations When Signing a Rental Agreement
- Include the names of the new tenant and the owner of the property.
- It is important to verify the owner of the property, check the landlord’s information. Request their ID, the property deed and a statement from their property taxes.
- If the rental agent is not the owner, make sure they have a Power of Attorney on behalf of the owner.
- Is there only one owner? If the property is co-owned, you will need authorization from both owners. There have been instances when a tenant pays the deposit and first month’s rent only to find out the person offering the property had no right to rent the property out.
- The property’s location and legal description should be included in the contract, as well as the legal land use and zoning codes.
- State which utilities are to be paid by the landlord and which by the tenant.
- Include an inventory list of the rentals contents. A tenant and landlord should document and report any pre-existing damage to the property or contents.
- Keep all of your receipts.
- Never leave your passport with the landlord.
- Include the duration of the lease.
Typically rental agreements are six months to one year, although you may come to a different agreement. Once your lease has expired you may continue to use the property under a tacit renewal meaning, once the contract expires, the tenant may continue to pay rent and remain on the property. Ideally, both parties should agree on a contract renewal within 15 days of the lease expiry date.
What if This Property is Sold During My Lease?
In the case a property is sold while you are still under a rental contract, the tenant will continue to pay the same rent to the new owner until the contract expires.
What Happens if I Break my Lease?
You will lose your deposit. Any other agreements or penalties will be documented in your contract.
The Civil Code describes which circumstances would allow you to leave without penalty
For example, the landlord does not fulfill their obligations stated in the contract.
The landlord may terminate the contract if the tenant is abusing the property, using the property for other activities not specified in the contract or refusal to pay rent. A tenant may not sublet the property without permission from the owner.
As an expat in Mexico, it may be a good idea to request a Diplomatic Clause in your long-term rental agreement. If your situation were to change causing you to break the lease due to your employment in Mexico, or immigration issues you may want to have an agreement included in the contract.
In the case of death of the tenant, the spouse or common-law spouse, children or another relative of tenant will have the right to remain with the rental agreement until it expires, provided this property was considered their home during the tenant’s occupancy.
Landlord and Tenant’s Obligations per the Civil Code
- Provide use of the property to the tenant.
- Maintain the property in good condition.
- Pay for major repairs, and maintenance.
- Pay for improvements to the property.
- If the owner has future legal issues with the property, the landlord must compensate the tenant.
- Be responsible for hidden defects on the property.
- Return of deposit to the tenant should be specified in the contract.
- Must offer the right of first refusal to a tenant with a minimum five years, in good standing should the property be put on the market.
- Pay rent according to the contract; the law specifies certain extraordinary circumstances in which payment of rent may be suspended
- Maintain the property in good condition.
- Use the property as stated in the contract.
- Notify the landlord if the property needs repairs.
Depending on the contract between the tenant and the owner, the damage deposit is equivalent to one month’s rent and due back upon leaving the rental, provided there is no damage to the property and the utility bills are paid in full. Once your contract is complete, and you are leaving the property, it is a good idea to request a letter from the landlord to confirm that the obligations of both parties have been met.