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How an Ecuador Expat Landlord Evicted His Deadbeat Tenant

Landlord Dom agreed to a short-term rental after he got a recommendation from a friend of his for a tenant seeking to move into his rental on a one-month verbal agreement.

Problem was, after a month, the tenant refused to leave and refused to pay more rent.

Dom’s research found that the tenant would have 90 days to vacate after a landlord files the necessary paperwork seeking eviction before being forced out by the police.

In most U.S. states where a rental contract exists, the landlord would be obligated to maintain utilities in the rental unit during the eviction proceedings.  Habitability.

But this was Ecuador and there was no contract.  The tenant was not paying for services or anything.

What Dom did was to cut off the tenant’s utilities one by one -- water, electricity, Internet.

The tenant vacated one day after all the utilities were cut off.  That was just six days past the originally-agreed rental period.

Source: ecuadorrealestate.org's Dom Buonacami in a letter to his subscribers.

Dom’s takeaways on short-term rentals as a result of the deadbeat-tenant incident:

1.  Don’t rent to walk-ups.

2.  Get online payment upfront from any short-term renter.

For longer term renters, he says to have a written contract in place from the start.

  -- cccmedia

What Dom did was ILLEGAL in EC!  Sorry....I wish it weren't!  :>(((

Ronwatral :

What Dom did was ILLEGAL in EC!  Sorry....I wish it weren't!  :>(((

A judge in Ecuador would have to decide on the legality, although that’s not actually going to happen.

Expats and would-be Expats who are not attorneys conversant in the Spanish-language landlord/tenant laws of Ecuador do not have the standing to evaluate the legality of Dom’s scenario with any authority.

Short-term renters -- and this was supposed to be a one-month rental -- do not necessarily enjoy the same protections as long-term renters with a written lease.

As a practical matter, these deadbeats are possibly so broke and so in-the-wrong that the likelihood of them taking Dom to court is about zero.

cccmedia in Quito

As a practical matter, these deadbeats are possibly so broke and so in-the-wrong that the likelihood of them taking Dom to court is about zero

You re obviously not a landlord....willing to take the chance  ;>)))

Ronwatral :

You’re obviously not a landlord....willing to take the chance.

I don’t know how you came to that conclusion.

I landlorded for years in Connecticut not all that long ago, and eventually realized it wasn’t for me.

I owned and managed an apartment house in Danbury and for years also had a tenant named Bob in the basement apartment at my residence in another Fairfield Country town.

Bob was a freelance woodworker living financially month-to-month, and when he ran into unexpected medical expenses and couldn’t pay me the rent, he turned pugnacious. 

Bob decided that I was in the wrong when I started eviction proceedings against him that October.  The eviction process spanned the Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday season.  Bob dragged things out by filing adversarial claims with the court and managed to stay in the apartment for four months while paying no rent.  The courts up there in chilly New England didn’t evict during the holidays.

Unlike Dom’s tenant in Ecuador, Bob had a long-term written lease.  I knew that violating his rights by cutting his utilities would have put me in legal jeopardy.   He got free heat, electricity and water for those four months as well.

So my hands were clean in the matter right through the court date.  The judge’s first comments to Bob in a pre-court hearing in chambers were:  “You realize you’re going to have to move out, don’t you?”  Bob had no viable case.  The judge gave him until late January to vacate and Bob used up every bit of the time remaining.

----------

I would never landlord here in South America.  Too many things are stacked against you.  It was tough enough in Connecticut, with deadbeats, filling vacancies, re-habbing expenses and (in the Danbury apartment house) a spreading bed-bugs issue. 

I have since noticed that such things don’t get mentioned in the international living-and-investing magazines that promote purchases of rental property in foreign countries.

I sold the Connecticut apartment building for a loss in a 2008 ’short sale'.

cccmedia in Quito

Moderated by Priscilla 4 months ago
Reason : comment removed - flamming post

Actually, I'm in a similar situation as that described "dead-beat- tenant". My landlord promised to clean and fix the premise before I would move in. That was an oral agreement: I pointed him things, that need to be fixed before September 1st, 2016. I've have paid him 1st month rent and the security deposit. He did not do anything. On Sept. 6th, I started to clean the property. Soon I have realized, the house is full of rouches. So, I fumigated the property, fixed the things in the house. Along the way discovered, that one bedroom is not livable, because it has a mold. The landlord did not disclosed me any hidden problems of the house. I told him from the start, that if I clean, fix, it costs money. He constant told me "no hay problema". So fixed, fumigated, cleaned the house and presented him the bill, the costs I'll will subtract from the month's rent for October. He has got furious, pushed me to sign the contract, that I "rented" the house in clean, fixed, livable conditions" . I did not agreed with that clause and did not sign the rental agreement. He accepted my partial costs and insist, I still own him for the month of October. (The dispute is $100, I did not paid him for the month of October, my cleaning, fixing costs were $270. 6 days of the September were not livable, because the house was not fixed, cleaned, so 6 days I did not live in the house although the landlord promised, I can move on September 1st into the house.
He has my deposit money and pushes me out of the property, because I did reduced the rent for October "not informing" him about my costs. That is the lie. He knew from the start what was to do, and I was waiting for him to full fill his promise.
I made pictures, I made "move-in" list. Everything I did presented to him. Now he exclaims, that I'm sick of "Over-cleaning" and that I've moved into perfect house.

Now I'm afraid that he can cut on the services, so I'm very watchful when is the first day to pay the utilities.

I would like to ask you, what I should do in my situation?

I discussed informally my situation with the attorney. She told me, that following the ecuadorian law, I have 3 month to look for another home to live. Even I do not have a written rental agreement, the oral agreement it is also protected by law. Following the rental agreement tradition, I can live two months without problem, because he has my two months security.

Thank you for your attention and any suggestions.

(Sorry, for my English grammar)

newinquito :

Actually, I'm in a similar situation as that described "dead-beat- tenant". My landlord promised to clean and fix the premise before I would move in. That was an oral agreement: I pointed him things, that need to be fixed before September 1st, 2016. I've have paid him 1st month rent and the security deposit. He did not do anything. On Sept. 6th, I started to clean the property. Soon I have realized, the house is full of rouches. So, I fumigated the property, fixed the things in the house. Along the way discovered, that one bedroom is not livable, because it has a mold. The landlord did not disclosed me any hidden problems of the house. I told him from the start, that if I clean, fix, it costs money. He constant told me "no hay problema". So fixed, fumigated, cleaned the house and presented him the bill, the costs I'll will subtract from the month's rent for October. He has got furious, pushed me to sign the contract, that I "rented" the house in clean, fixed, livable conditions" . I did not agreed with that clause and did not sign the rental agreement. He accepted my partial costs and insist, I still own him for the month of October. (The dispute is $100, I did not paid him for the month of October, my cleaning, fixing costs were $270. 6 days of the September were not livable, because the house was not fixed, cleaned, so 6 days I did not live in the house although the landlord promised, I can move on September 1st into the house.
He has my deposit money and pushes me out of the property, because I did reduced the rent for October "not informing" him about my costs. That is the lie. He knew from the start what was to do, and I was waiting for him to full fill his promise.
I made pictures, I made "move-in" list. Everything I did presented to him. Now he exclaims, that I'm sick of "Over-cleaning" and that I've moved into perfect house.

Now I'm afraid that he can cut on the services, so I'm very watchful when is the first day to pay the utilities.

I would like to ask you, what I should do in my situation?

I discussed informally my situation with the attorney. She told me, that following the ecuadorian law, I have 3 month to look for another home to live. Even I do not have a written rental agreement, the oral agreement it is also protected by law. Following the rental agreement tradition, I can live two months without problem, because he has my two months security.

Thank you for your attention and any suggestions.

(Sorry, for my English grammar)

I've read somewhere that Ecuadoreans "aren't litigious", and if there's any truth to that it's because lawyers here don't like going to court.

Your lawyer is correct you do in fact have 3 months to find a new place. And I think you should do that because you don't want to experience bad vibes. Having said that, you are obligated to pay the rent until then and the landlord is obligated to return the deposit as stipulated by your contract.

The only way to ascertain your deposit is returned is by a lawyer. Preferably a competent lawyer who can communicate with landlord and put the issue in perspective.

There are no short cuts and it will cost you either way. If your Spanish is good you can try a public attorney for free but I'm not sure such is available for such disputes but I know such service applies to other civil matters.

Also understand that the lawyer if you choose to hire one can solidly work with what is actually stated in the contract. So if the landlord agreed to you fixing the place and the expenses being deducted from the rent it should have been stated in writing. Otherwise it is murky.

I believe everything you told us, New In Quito.

However...

Based on many years as a tenant and as a landlord (in the U.S.), I firmly believe this about landlord-tenant problems...

Any time you can settle or fix a difficult problem for a hundred bucks or less, it's worth taking the hit.

Think about the improved relationship, no need to consider going to court or seeking a reliable attorney. Not having to move again, immediately.  Not losing sleep over whether the landlord might cut off the utilities.

If you can chalk it up to a different culture and/or to experience and put it behind you, you'll be ahead of the  game compared to how things now stand..

----

In the municipality of New City, in Rockland County, New York, during Y2K, my landlady T------ Lutz was so nasty .. that when a longstanding leak problem in my roof got worse, she refused to do anything about it.

I had the county environmental office give her a call .. which frightened her so much that she fixed the problem the same day.  (Of course, it doesn't always go so smoothly in Ecuador.)

The next year after the lease was up and I had vacated the apartment, Lutz deducted a hundred dollars from my security deposit to pay herself back for personally cleaning a toilet.

I knew that her keeping the hundred was not kosher -- she would have had to hire another person to work on the toilet to make the deduction proper -- and was an overcharge, to boot.

But I was glad to cash the returned/reduced security-deposit check .. and move on.

That way I never had to deal personally with that unpleasant landlady again.  For my peace of mind, that decision was a no-brainer .. and well worth $100.

cccmedia in Quito

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