Learning Uruguay

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Renting out your apartment

Posted by urufish on June 18, 2007

 dsc00150-large.jpg (View of Santa Claus parade from balcony)

This a short little post, that goes the other way, our experience with renting out our apartment.

We moved from our Rambla apartment a few months ago to a house.. because I needed more space…  Having lived in a house for the past 20+ years, I just couldn’t adapt to an apartment.  Sorry.  We kept the apartment because my wife is letting me have my way temporarily.  But make no mistake about it, she will go back, if she had to drag me behind her.  Maybe I’ll be mentally feeble by that time and wont notice it. 

We would have put the apartment up for rent when we moved out.  But it’s a penthouse and the day after we moved out, the roof sprang a leak.  Cant be renting out your apartment to someone with it raining on their head.  So we stirred up trouble with the building management.  When we found out the roof was 3 years past the time the roof should have been redone, we insisted.  Unfortunately, just after they removed the waterproof cover, it poured rain.  Our kitchen got soaked.  By the time the roof was done and our kitchen dried out, a month had passed.  We had to get it cleaned up and repaired.  The wood cabinets had to dry out and then go into the shop to be repaired.  Anyway, when that was done, we put an ad in the paper and hung a sign on the balcony.  Over the next few weeks, we got a half dozen serious inquiries and last week, the right couple found our place and wanted it. 

Being on the rambla, it’s not unusual to get a diplomatic customer.  In this case, the husband works for an embassy.  In these cases, the embassy, not the person, enters into the rental agreement with the owner.  If the country is a member of the EC (european common market), they wont sign your contract.  They provide you with their own.  Some clauses are unique to them.  For instance, normally a rental agreement here is for a specific term, like a year or two or three.  If you break it, you still have to pay rent.  Their contract has a provision that if the person is recalled, the contract is null and void.  In normal agreements (as described before), property is put up as collateral or a large deposit is made.  Not so with embassies.  No deposit is paid.  Their signature is collateral enough.  Because of the slow devaluation of the US dollar, it’s common for people to put in devaluation clauses in the lease agreement, usually reviewed and adjusted at the end of each year.  No such thing in the diplomatic community’s contract. 

On the positive side, most owners prefer a diplomatic contract because the embassy is a straight customer.. no tricks. 

One other interesting thing about embassy renters.  Before the agreement is made, they send a team of experts to the property to check it out–to make sure their employee isn’t being taken advantage of –or put at risk.  In our case, they were satisfied that it was a good value for the $, but they wanted a security system to protect their staff.  It had to be installed at our expense.  We’ve been meaning to put one in since we renovated it but never got around to it.  So it was OK with us. 

They’re really nice people.   We hope they like living there as much as we did. 


2 Responses to “Renting out your apartment”

  1. Dominic said


    This entry freaks me out a bit…I am about to buy a studio apartment, fix it up, then rent it out. Hopefully I won’t have any problems in the near future with the roof (I am trying to get in touch with the upstairs neighbor because I think it is leaking a bit of water onto his floor/my ceiling).

    Do you know how I go about fixing this scenario (i.e. going to the I.M.M. to post a formal complaint or something as such)?? Any and all info/ideas would be very appreciated!!


  2. urufish said

    Seepage and humidity are right up there near the top when it comes to purchasing or renting a property. It’s so common that when we went looking for a store to rent last week, one of the places we went had a document prepared that specifically states there is no ‘humidity’ in the bathroom. It’s common for pipes to leak in bathrooms, either in yours, the guy above or the guy beside you and a slow leak creates a humidity stain on the wall or ceiling.

    Not sure if you’re asking about complaining to the IMM relating to this matter or something else. I think most Uruguayans would agree with me that complaining to the IMM, unless it’s dealing with a specific issue that the municipality considers impportant, is a good way to pass the time but dont expect them to do anything. They certainly would have nothing do with leaking.

    If you do run into leakage in your apartment, it all depends on your neighbour. When we bought our condo, the people from downstairs complained our balcony was leaking into their living room. My architect told me to ignore them. Instead of taking his advice, I arranged to meet them with him and inspect their claims.

    They had a large stain in their ceiling where it meets their sliding doors, which is below our balcony. My architect said it was being caused by humidity because they’d installed a double set of patio doors and the humidity was being trapped inside in the winter and accumulating at that point. For USD50, I told them we’d paint their ceiling when we finished the reno and I insisted the architect remove the balcony tiles, put in a new waterproofing membrane and silicone all the joints when done. Dont expect anyone else to do that for you. I did that because we wanted peace for the next 15 years. Even if the stain returned, (which it did of course), we were off the hook.

    In this house here, our neighbours next door spent a fortune renovating the common wall with us but we still get humidity stains coming through the wall every winter. Instead of suing them, we just have our handyman paint that wall every November… costs peanuts.

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