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Feuding with your Landlord? – Baja Legal Advice

 Here is a refresher on your rights
and obligations regarding leases

 

Civil Code for Baja California

ARTICLE 2272.- A lease consists of the agreement between two parties which reciprocally agree to, on one part, to allow the temporary use and enjoyment of something, and the other to pay for that use and enjoyment a price that has been agreed.

A 99 year or 30-year lease? Nonsense!

A lease may not exceed ten years in properties intended for housing; Fifteen for commerce, twenty for industry and up to thirty years in rural areas, including ejidos.

ARTICLE 2275.- Subleasing: A tenant may sublease a property only if he has such right specifically granted in the contract or a later or if the landlord later allows it in writing.

ARTICLE 2282.- The lease agreement shall not be rescinded by the death of the landlord nor that of the lessee unless otherwise agreed by the parties.

ARTICLE 2283.- If during the term of the lease, for any reason there is a change of ownership of the leased property, the lease shall remain in effect as initially agreed. With regards to the payment of rent, the lessee will have the obligation to pay the new owner the rent specified in the original contract.

ARTICLE 2296.- If at the end of the lease there is a balance remaining on behalf of the lessee (for example, because of improvements), the lessor shall reimburse the lessee immediately, unless the Landlord has some actions against the Lessee;

NOTE: Neither the Civil Code nor Jurisprudence provides additional definitions as to what should be understood as the balance remaining on behalf of the lessee.

ARTICLE 2297.- The Lessor shall pay for the improvements made by the lessee:

I. – whether as agreed in the contract, or subsequently, authorized;

II.- If such improvements were useful improvements and due as a consequence of neglect by the Lessor and the Contract is rescinded;

III.- When the contract is signed for an indefinite term, if the landlord authorized the Lessee to make improvements, before the end of the lease, the tenant may counterbalance the cost of such improvements based on the number of such costs incurred in by the Lessee.

ARTICLE 2298.- Improvements shall be paid by the landlord, even if it was agreed in the contract that the improvements would remain on behalf of the leased property.

ARTICLE 2321.- In leases which have lasted over five (5) years and when the tenant has made significant improvements to the leased property and as long as the Lessee is current in the payment of rent, to be preferred over any other person interested in renting the property.

Also, a Lessee shall enjoy the first right of refusal if the owner of the property plans to sell it.

The Federal Civil Code, with regards to the increase in the price of rent, determines the following:

Article 2359. Once a lease is expired or nearing its term, the Lessee, as long as current with rent, will have the right to extend the lease up to a year. The Lessor may raise the rent up to 10% with regards to the previous rent, only if the landlord is able to demonstrate that rents within the area have shown that increase. Landlords will be exempted from the previous obligation to renew the contract if they need to live in the property.

Article 2448-D In those contracts in which the amount of the monthly rent does not exceed 150 general minimum wages currently in the Federal District, the increase may not exceed 10% of the amount agreed upon as monthly income.

This means that if the income of the rent is less than 150 minimum wages ($73.04 pesos per day), which is approximately $10,956 pesos ($645 dollars by calculating a $17.00 pesos per dollar), the increase should have a cap of 10% per annum; however, if the monthly price of rent is greater than $645 dollars, the increase will be mutually agreed by the parties.

In conclusion:

A Landlord cannot legally and unilaterally terminate a lease agreement nor change the terms of it such as increasing rent, as long as the tenant is current with the monthly rent, also, if the owner wants to sell the property, the lease agreement shall subsist, and the new owner must honor the contract under the same terms and conditions set forth in it, also remember, the sale of the property without the tenant being given first right of refusal may cause the sale or lease to another person to be voided in a Court of Law.

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Rafael Solorzano
Attorney at Law / Licensed Exclusively in Mexico
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