Note: This article does not advise or tell anyone to do the unethical actions mentioned in this article. It is a half guest post in a way since someone I know wanted to share their experiences with this but I put down the details into words on here. The purpose of this article is to simply put on paper the different lives and experiences various folks have while living in Latin America. Again, I recommend you don't do anything mentioned here.
Ever wondered how to scam an apartment owner in Mexico?
Though not the most ethically thing to do…
This article will be one of many in the future focused on writing typical “expat” articles beyond “the top 10 Latin songs” or articles of my individual experiences down here…
Where I plan on interviewing folks who live the interesting life down here – be it more degenerate and unethical to the opposite of those working for NGOs and such.
And everything in between!
Though I will be getting on it and writing those type of articles a lot more frequently after January 1st, 2021 once I have run through the remainder of the article ideas I have.
But since a guy I know is leaving Mexico City soon…
A guy named Bryan who I have written about before…
A friend of mine but someone who does not always do the ethical thing I suppose based on something he learned in Mexico City…
Which is how to scam apartment owners in Mexico.
Now, to be fair, his tactic is not really all that unique or sophisticated.
But it does reveal some bigger lessons in Mexico that we will to after we describe his fairly simple technique.
So what the hell does he do and why does he do it?
So Bryan is fairly young – close to my age more or less.
And he does a bunch of stuff online to make money….
Making roughly around 500 to 800 dollars a month more or less.
But does so without working too hard – more or less about one week a month at most of working online.
And the rest of the month to party, fuck girls and enjoy life.
He actually planned on leaving Mexico around this time back to the US but the whole coronavirus situation delayed his plans for a tiny bit.
And is now illegally living in Mexico given his FMM has expired.
Though in Mexico, from what I have learned from others, it seems Mexico only gives a fuck about illegal folks if they are from poorer countries – Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, some countries in Africa, Ecuador, etc…
From the US though, got lots of money and aren’t planning on begging people in the streets of Mexico for cash to get to the US?
Then you cool.
Anyway, that’s another topic for another day….
One that is similar to the topic I wrote about here when it comes to the hypocrisy Latinos have on immigration to their countries…
Bryan occasionally moves apartments every so often.
One of the reasons being is to get free months of rent from time to time.
So what does he do exactly?
Basically, Bryan will approach a landlord about living in their place.
And ideally will look for places that either don’t require any rent payments….
Though he said that those places are not as ideal as they tend to be shittier overall in quality with the apartment owner being more desperate to fill the place with their lower standards…
But maybe he finds occasionally a place that isn’t bad that doesn’t require a deposit or at the very least a very reduced deposit (like 2,000 pesos for a place that cost 7,000 pesos per month).
Or, if the place has a full deposit requirement, then he will ask if he can pay the deposit in different payments (over 2 or 3 usually but sometimes more might be possible if you negotiate and they are desperate).
The second ideal requirement is that it has to be a place that only accepts cash payments…
Because that means that most likely they are not reporting their rental payments from you to the Mexican tax authorities.
And if so, they will be in a trickier situation if they ask you to leave.
Finally, it is ideal that the place doesn’t have a contract as well because when they don’t have a contract and want cash payments then you feel safe in believing that they don’t report the rental payments to tax authorities.
Now that you have found all of that…
And it apparently is easy enough to find down here…
You simply move into the place.
And like I said before, his process is not very sophisticated or unique..
And if they don’t require a deposit, then simply don’t pay the last month’s rent.
Where you can decide not to pay that month’s rent on whatever last month you plan to stay there and get a free month of rent.
And that could be 6 months into staying there for example or whenever.
Now if they did require a deposit….
But you got an agreement to pay it in different installments…
Then you don’t pay any bit of the deposit when you first move in…
But tell them you get paid roughly 30 days more or less after you plan on moving in..
And ask them if you can make the first payment then.
At that point, by the time that payment is required, you simply don’t pay it and you don’t pay next month’s rent.
But he said that your time will be more limited in a place like that because there will be an expectation that you pay the deposit soon enough.
Though how do you convince the landlord that they need to wait before you can pay anything?
Simply tell the landlord that given that you don’t have a local job as you are a foreigner obviously…
That you can only pay by withdrawing money from an ATM obviously.
But that either your card was stolen or somehow someone stole money from it and you don’t have a card to use to pay.
Therefore, your bank account is not available and you need to wait for your foreign bank from the US or wherever to send a new card.
And that could take a month but “we will see when it arrives. I’ll let you know when I am in contact with them, when it is scheduled to arrive and so on.”
Make it seem genuine by asking them the exact address to send it to (that you won’t need).
Send them a message a week later that you talked with the bank and they sent it and it should arrive in a few weeks.
Anyway, you then have a decision.
Either ditch the place by the time the month is over…
Or even the second month of no payment!
As Bryan told me that the longest he went without paying was about two months at one point in a place in Cuernavaca.
And don’t tell the landlord obviously you are leaving – just leave and that’s it.
As the landlord might try to pressure you to give them something of your possession to serve as collateral against the missed month of rent.
Now what if you want to stay longer?
Then ask the landlord if you can work a plan on paying the month’s rent that is coming up.
So say you didn’t pay in July and now you are paying August.
But July is still not paid and neither is the deposit.
Though say you can’t afford July because money was stolen and the bank hasn’t returned the money and won’t.
So you need time to repay it.
Some will take that offer, others may not.
But if they do, then you can stay maybe another month until they start to expect payments of any amount on July or whatever the month was.
And that’s it!
Hearing all of this was a bit comical – like why the fuck wouldn’t they sue you?
But that was the American in me thinking.
Anyway, Bryan claims he never got sued and nobody has pursued anything against him.
In his mind, the reasoning is this..
First, apparently it is quite expensive for anyone to sue him since the cost and process to do so is harder in Mexico.
Second, people sue a lot less down here anyway.
Third, he often tells them that he returned to the US when he ditches and that the money is simply gone.
So they are not as likely to pursue some international litigation against you if you are in another country and won’t be back in their mind.
Fourth, given the low amount owed – maybe 250 to 400 bucks – many will just drop it and count it as a loss.
Fifth, even if you continue to live in Mexico, it can be difficult for them to know where exactly to find you to pursue action.
So what are some bigger lessons behind all of this unethical behavior?
None of which I recommend obviously – just reporting the facts on how people tend to live down here and the different stories different folks have – among the bad, ugly and the good.
I was actually meaning to post this article a long time ago dating back to last summer around July but never got around to it.
This one Facebook post reminded me to write it here....
Where someone is asking why landlords in Mexico only take cash…
And many people, as you can see here, wrote that they are trying to not pay taxes.
So, in a way, I guess you can argue that you are doing a good thing by not paying that month of rent since you are scamming a Mexican citizen who is not respecting the laws.
In some fucked up mental gymnastics if you ever go down this path…
Of course, someone else had a funny but perhaps offensive comment as you can read here…
Saying that Mexico is a lawless country…
And though there are laws in Mexico that are enforced…
It is true that the judicial and legal system is Mexico is quite fucked and not always properly applied if applied at all.
And it’s very easy to fuck people over in this country.
Another thing I want to add as to why Bryan’s scam works – in my theory anyway…
Is not only does it have a certain logic to it..
OK, the debit card isn’t working and you need to wait some time for a new month…
And if they ask if you have other forms of payments?
Bryan says no and it apparently works.
But that another thing to keep in mind is that a lot of folks down here tend to view Americans as having lots of money.
In my words, I would say as “ATM machines.”
Not everyone treats us this way but many do.
And so it is likely that said landlord is going to be more trusting in a situation like this…
Because of course the gringo has money to pay!
He just needs some time because of an inconvenient circumstance…
But it will work itself out because we all know that gringos shit out gold everyday!
And not only that…
No way would a gringo try to fuck over a landlord down here – they are all respectable, fine people!
So, if I had to guess, that probably helps Bryan out also.
The assumption local folks have about him and his ability to work things out in the next month.
Plus, given that the landlord isn’t paying any taxes most likely on this…
They are in a more difficult situation to kick you out…
As this person named Zacil pointed out here…
“He’s avoiding taxes, luckly for you he can’t sue you or evict you bc he has to present proof that he’s paying taxes.”
Meaning then that the landlord is in a bit of a tight spot in terms of how to handle your situation mixed in with the assumption from before that you, being the rich gringo, can resolve it most likely.
On top of all of that, I’d say that given the covid situation, landlords in Mexico are more desperate to find people to move in as so many people have left…
Perhaps making it easier for Bryan to find desperate landlords who don’t want a deposit or who have minimal deposits or deposits that can be paid over time.
But when asked on that – he simply said that he has done this dating back to over a year ago.
So who knows.
Either way, if you are ever aspiring to fuck over tax evading criminals in Mexico who own apartments..
I guess this is a way to do so!
Not very sophisticated or complicated…
And definitely not ethical..
And not recommended to do under any circumstances as I’m not encouraging anyone to break the law…
This is just the story of one individual I know down here who does this.
But to end this article on a positive note….
How to Stop This Scam
Not a fan of scams myself…
I figured I might as well offer tips to the country of Mexico on how they can stop this from happening in the future.
First, get better at collecting taxes from landlords so they are not in a tight spot if this happens to them.
Second, improve your legal process for suing people.
Third, make it harder for people to just disappear after doing this where the landlord can more easily find the person who left without paying that month’s rent.
Fourth, to the landlords – don’t assume all gringos just shit out gold and always have money to spend. We ain’t millionaires.
Fifth, always require a deposit obviously in full and be careful on agreeing to deposits being paid over several payments.
And perhaps require – always – that they have references obviously.
I asked Bryan if he ever had to give references to landlords – you know, previous landlords that he might have scammed.
And he said that he is new to Mexico and doesn’t know anyone – which is bullshit obviously.
But now that I have put in at least some morality into this article by talking about some obvious advice landlords could take to protect themselves from this...
I now want to explain the purpose of this article.
First, as always, I like to talk about crime and scams in Latin America.
All of my other articles that focus on this topic are focused on Latinos doing crimes....
Like this dude who tried to mug me in Mexico City...
Or this cop who demanded a bribe from me and threatened me with jail if I didn't pay....
And, outside of Mexico City, this cocaine dealer who ran over a gringo in in Puerto Rico...
Or this time here where this Dominican pimp wanted to kidnap me and/or possibly stab me.
Or when I wrote in detail how this group of Cuban dudes are scamming lonely men on the internet.
And speaking of apartments....
There's this article that focuses on apartment scams against people looking for a place to rent in Mexico City.
So, in a way, this article is not only showing the scams that can be brought against apartment owners instead...
It also reveals a true fact that it's not just Latinos who can be shady down here.
You got plenty of gringos as well who do shady stuff down here for sure.
This is the only individual I know who is a gringo that does shady stuff...
But if you want a more well known example involving prostitutes and a taxi driver who threatens people in Medellin, Colombia....
Second, I suppose this article might help a rare Mexican or Latino landlord in knowing that some gringos might try to get a free month's of rent without even having paid a deposit.
I suppose it's not likely any Mexican or Latino landlord will read this but who knows -- maybe it helps someone.
But it's in the same way I hope my other articles on crime help make gringos aware of possible threats against them down here.
Third, I enjoy writing about the different lives of other folks who chose to live in Latin America and also the lives of local folks.
Be the good, bad or ugly.
And is something I intend to do more later in the future.
And finally, this article will hopefully teach you all a lesson about an interesting fact about life in Mexico and other Latin countries in my experience...
Which is that apartment contracts -- even if he had used them more often -- don't mean shit down here.
When it comes to apartment owners fucking you over or you trying to fuck them over...
It's very unlikely any real consequences will happen unless we are talking very large sums of money at risk.
Either way, that all.
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