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When the Landlord Refuses to Make Repairs to the Leased Premises

What Does The Law Say About It?

Not a week goes by without me receiving several calls or messages having to do with Landlord abuse, among which failure to make timely and proper repairs to the property, pocketing the security retainer, among others.

This is a common and recurring scenario: Your landlord required you to pay thousands of dollars in cash upfront for either a 1 or 2-month rent payment plus a security deposit when leasing the property. Just as they hand over the keys, you are rushed o sign the lease and skip a “Move-In Inspection,” of course. After you move out, no matter how many days you spend scrubbing the place, the landlord does its own walk-through, conjuring any discrepancy they can muster in the place. It doesn’t matter if the discrepancy or rubbish existed when you moved in or not.

You are then kindly informed in a letter that they are going to go ahead and hang on to most – or all- of your deposit to compensate themselves for the numerous expenses they have incurred because of you. Then again, you have no pictures or documentation to prove the damage. They may even charge you full price for brand-new painting or carpet that you stained. Either way, your cash is kept in their pockets.

Most of these tactics are not legitimate. But they already have your money. They’ve set up a system where they are their own inspector, judge, and jury.

Do you think you have no recourse or leverage? Think again!

Thus the question is what are the tenant’s rights, please read below.

Civil Code for Baja California.

ARTICLE 2290.- If the lessor does not comply with making the necessary repairs for the use to which the thing is destined, it will be up to the lessee to rescind the lease or occur to the Judge so that he narrows the lessor to the fulfillment of his obligation, through the procedure specified by the Civil Procedures Code.

ARTICLE 2291.- The Judge, according to the circumstances of the case, will decide on the payment of damages caused to the lessee for failure to make the repairs.

ARTICLE 2295.- The lessor is liable for defects of the leased premises that impede the use of it, even if he had not known about them or the issues that occurred in the course of the lease, without the lessee’s fault. The Lessee may request the decrease of the rent or the termination of the contract, unless it is proven that he had knowledge before concluding the contract, of the issues or defects of the property.

Lastly, I am not a trial attorney, I help with advice, with drafting/negotiating a fair lease, just make sure to do the paper trail before you clear out of the property, some of these nasty landlords are crafty, they want you to vacate the property, take over, pocket your deposit and on to the next victim, these predators must be stopped!

The only problem with taking the landlord to Court is that legal fees to obtain the security deposit and damages may pretty much leave you where you started, landlords know that that is why they navigate the system with a very high rate of success.


Rafael Solorzano
Attorney at Law / Licensed Exclusively in Mexico
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