renting an apartment
These apartments rent for USD $350 to $500 per month.
It is unusual to find a furnished apartment but they do exist. Normally nothing is included, not even light bulbs (Europeans will fully understand this – it’s the same system). Sometimes a fridge and stove might be included but again, this is unusual.
Finding an apartment is difficult as generally there is no central listing other than the newspaper Novedades in Spanish. If you phone the landlord be prepared to speak Spanish and know the street names or areas so you can find the place.
We usually get emails from people moving here and after getting familiar enough with them, we can recommend various apartments or houses to rent. This is a real time saver and we charge USD $100. We can take pictures of places to rent or you can drive around with one of us looking at them until you find one you like.
Here is a 2 bedroom apartment that I found for two Canadians that were moving here. The rent is MXP 4,000 a month and includes electricity, water/sewage, and it is furnished (unusual) but has no phone line.
The location is perfect as it is right beside the popular Market 28 in the city. A 6 month contract was drafted for a price of MXP 1,200. Pictures of the apartment are on this page.
Cancun Assist charged USD $100 for finding the apartment, translating at the notary public, and generally negotiating the deal. That covered our expenses.
There are a few things that might seem strange that it is best you know. For example, almost every landord will ask for a contract and they will have a notary public (which in Mexico is also a lawyer). The notary will draft up the paperwork. The cost will be anywhere from MXP 900 to MXP 1,200 which you will pay. The landlord will also ask for a deposit which is typically 1 or 1.5 times a months rent.
One of the major problems is that the notary will not notarize the contract if you don’t have an FM3 work/retirement permit (federal law). This limits your search to only those landlords that will accept a non-notarized contract. So 80% of all apartments you find cannot be rented by you. (Sep 2001) However, recently this seems to have changed. I have seen many Notaries that will accept your tourist visa and process the lease. I have changed my opinion on the importance of getting the FM3 as soon as possible.
It is extremely difficult in Mexico for a landlord to expel you from an apartment. If he/she does not have a valid contract with you then the authorities will not help the landlord. Now you know what is going through their heads!
Unlike most countries, you don’t have to put a deposit on the electricity or phone when getting connected. Thus the landlord gets stuck with the bill if you suddenly leave. That’s the reason for the deposit and the notary public contact spells out legally that you are responsible. It makes it easier for the landlord to withhold the deposit if there is a problem.
The contract also makes things easier to figure out if there is a dispute. It spells out exactly who is responsible for what.