Lawyerly Defense in Mexico: Host Plot Foiled

My Airbnb rental was reserved for 45 days in central Mexico. I’m still here. But I’m only here because of the intervention of a Mexican lawyer. My host complained when my flight was late. We got past that. My host has a rescue dog (one of the three on the property) and she asked me to photograph the dog. I’m a professional photographer and I said I would. The host said he/she was leaving for Thanksgiving to the US. The host said, “Can you take care of the rescue dog in your apartment while I am gone?” I said, “Okay.” I didn’t want to do it, but being an idiot, I said, “Okay.”

As we marched up to her departure date my host said, “I will be leaving the rescue dog with you for a few minutes every day until I leave so that you can get to know him.” I responded, “No. I know him well enough already and please tell me what I can do about the heat here as there is none.” To her credit a portable heater was brought in. She said when the tank is exhausted call this number and order another. You will pay for it.” I was losing my sense of humor by now. The issue of water came up because in central Mexico one must have bottled water. There was water – again to her credit – when I arrived. As it ran out I asked about more. She said, “I have more bottles here. You can pay me for one.” I didn’t complain.

Then I, who had not smoked for years, smoked. And the host saw me smoke. One instance and boom. She called Airbnb and said, “I want her out.” She emailed me and wrote, “Get out. I’m putting your things on the sidewalk and I am changing the locks.”

I called my lawyer here in central Mexico. Here’s the fun part. I used to live in central Mexico. Yes, I have a lawyer here. And Mexican law is this: someone rents you a place? You can’t be evicted without a court case, period. Forget Airbnb. You have rights in Mexico. So I emailed the host this information and she folded. As it turned out, she doesn’t own the place. She rents it. She sublet it to me. I don’t care. She’s continuing to abuse me verbally and Airbnb, who said it would help me, hasn’t. No shock there either. Airbnb will listen to your complaint and that will make you feel so much better. But it will do nothing for you. I’m not moving until I have to go back to the US. Of course, my time in this place is ruined and a nightmare. But at least I get to tell you that if you are in Guanajuato, Mexico and this happens to you, stay put and find a lawyer. One hour’s consultation and your mind will be at ease. Airbnb is a joke.

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3 Comments

  1. Chris, thank you for your comments. Here in central Mexico with a 12,000 population of mostly Americans and Canadians, I don’t think they think anything at all is wrong.

    Airbnb, as of this morning (and after yet another call from me), provided me with a list of alternative addresses to move to. All will require hundreds of dollars from me unless Airbnb picks up the tab. Will it? So doubtful.

    Airbnb creates a dangerous situation and is damn lucky to still be in business.

  2. What an absolute nightmare!

    People who live in another country and don’t even care enough about that country’s laws to think twice about pulling stunts like this, as if they were back home deserve… well, deserve what they eventually receive.

    Just because one is not at home doesn’t mean that the laws don’t apply. Quite apart from standards of behavior and decency.

    Having been an expat for years, I’ve become totally sick of hearing fellow countrymen totally misbehaving like this, as if their behavior will go a) unnoticed and b) unanswered. Well this is the age of the internet and people online in Bhutan get the message nowadays just as clearly as people in Brooklyn. And their emails read just as well as ours do.

    Stop this ridiculous behavior, expats. You know who you are.

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