Learning Uruguay

Every day brings ????

Rented an apto in Pocitos

Posted by urufish on May 28, 2007

This is a followup to the Renting an apartment in Pocitos (below)…  Today was the day we were to sign the lease. 

I was at the bank at 13:00 to pick up the cash for 6 months rent.  The deal was we paid a $6K (first month) deposit at pre-lease signing.  Then we pay the first 6 months at lease signing (cash please).  At 6 months, we pay the next 6 months.  This continues as long as we rent the apartment. 

Our lawyer came to the house at 13:15.  Our lawyer is a close family friend.  She never lets us sign anything unless she is there.  She reads it first, slowly…. She always asks questions.  She always scowls.  Today was no different. 

We met the renter at her lawyer’s house, a block away from Punta Carretas shopping.  The renter is a she.  She’s a German ex-pat.  Lives in one of the several Solymars East of the city.  Her lawyer was there.  Her agent was there.  The lawyer’s wife was there.  Could be she was also an escribano.  Not sure. 

While our lawyer read the lease, my wife talked to the other side about small things.  Then our lawyer asked questions.  Then we signed the lease, every page, 3 copies.  We also signed the list of ‘things’ in the apartment.  This was 3 pages long.  And guess what.  This apartment is unfurnished.  They list things like wall plugs and switches, door knobs, windows, closet shelves.. you get the idea… 

At the end, it was time for me to pay the first 6 months.  This is a male dominated society.  I was playing the part.  My first question is what happens to the $6K deposit.  The answer came visually.  The lawyer took it out of an envelope and gave it to the real estate agent.  Turns out she was our agent… unkown to me.  That was her commission.  I got one of those ‘I’ve been whizzed’ feelings, and I did what I always do when that happens, smile at the ‘whizzer’…

I say what’s going on here.  Their side explains that when we called the agent, it was ‘our’ agent..  She placed the ad.  The ‘agent’ for the renter is actually the lawyer.  He gets his $6K (one month rent) and she (ours) gets her $6K.  I’d love to hear from others out there if they ever heard of this before.  My ‘whiz’ detector is still buzzing.  Always something new to learn here…   Anyway, the choice was to pick up my marbles and go, but upon immediately weighing all the pros and cons, I decided to get even later on.  I will. 

I gave the lawyer the 6 months rent.  He took out $6K and gave the renter the balance. 

Then we did some more small talking.  I was scowling now.  We took the keys and left.  Tomorrow we go check it out. 

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5 Responses to “Rented an apto in Pocitos”

  1. Brazzie said

    Irv, I am not so sure you were whizzed. For sure the process seems to lack transparency, but I don’t think you were taken advantage of, necessarily.

    My understanding is that in Uruguay the buyer and the seller (or the renter and the landlord) pay equal commissions to whoever the agent is. If there are two agents, half goes to each one. The key is understanding who your “agent” is. Again, I think in Uruguay whoever helped you locate that apartment gets the commission.

    In the case of rentals, I think the percentage is based on a year’s rent. Please correct me if I am wrong. I would like to know these things for sure.

    Here in Boston, the system is similar and the renter pays one full month to the agent, in addition to paying first month, plus 1 1/2 months deposit. Since monthly rents of USD 2,000 and above are common, you need to have USD 7,000 handy when signing. Not to mention proof of means etc, etc.

  2. urufish said

    Good to hear that there is a place on this planet, other than MVD that has this setup. I come from Toronto where the person getting all the money (the renter or seller) pays for everything. The rentee or purchaser doesn’t pay.
    We just put our apartment for rent in Sunday’s paper. Now we are the renter so we’ll see how this plays out from the other side.
    Like I said, we had no agent that I was aware of. We called to an advertisement in the Gallito. We figured it was the renter’s agent.

  3. futurexpat said

    Wow, this is just astounding to me. I live in Chicago. You want to rent an apartment you pick up a newspaper and look in the classified ads. The ads have been placed by the landlords. There is no agent. You give the landlord a call and set up a time to go look at the apartment. A landlord with a lot of properties will most likely have a rental agent working for them, but they are paid a salary by the landlord to show the apartments and write up the leases. They are not working on any sort of commission.
    If you like the apartment you submit to a credit check, which costs less than $50. You put down one month’s rent as a security deposit and pay the first month’s rent. Your security deposit earns interest which must be paid to you annually. There is no agent. There is no “key money.” There is no paying six months in advance and then having no leverage over the landlord if the roof leaks, etc.
    My enthusiasm for living in Montevideo has cooled considerably.

  4. Brazzie said

    Irv, I am assuming that when you mentioned $6K, you meant Uruguayan pesos, which translates to around US$240.

    Futurexpat, it is so hard to evict a tenant in UY (and so hard to collect rent) that landlords can be seem paranoid. I’ve heard stories of landlords requiring a year or more in advance payment from people with no credit history in UY. This can make it hard to become a casual expat in Uruguay. Cheers

  5. urufish said

    yes.. pesos.. $6K USD/mo for an apartment in Montevideo??? Hahaha.. the building across from the GC in PC with the round corner balconies.

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