Thursday, April 16, 2009

Apartment Situation Fixed

So a while back I wrote about the problems we were having with our ex-landlord who didn’t want to give us back the proportional amount of rent that corresponded to the days we weren’t living in the apartment. The whole problem started when her husband “se metió la pata” (got in the middle) and said they weren’t going to give it back to use because the contract say this and that and whatnot. He wrote an email to Christian saying that we were wrong and the contract works like this that and the other. I, being a contract accountant/analyst, took a look at the contract that Christian signed back in July 2007. The landlord’s husband was WAY off and so we wrote them a nice email referring to the clauses in which he was mistaken, etc. He wrote back to my husband still saying they weren’t going to give us the money back, but apologizing for making the mistakes and the huevon even admitted to not even reading the contract. Now this I just find absolutely ridiculous. You do not write to someone, telling them that they are wrong and that the contract is a certain way without even having read the contract. I mean, come on, how can you be such an idiot?!

We didn’t respond right away. I told Christian to wait as I wanted to contact a lawyer to discuss the situation and see what rights we had. Turns out that the landlord was pretty much under default for non-performance as according to the contract so I wrote up this big long email explaining that we had consulted with a lawyer, that they were in the wrong and that we simply want our money back—the money that corresponds to us. I think they got a bit scared because they went to the real estate agent who had originally rented the apt. to Christian and tried to get her in on the situation. The most ridiculous thing about it all was that when this real estate agent wrote Christian, she was talking about things that were nada que ver (had nothing to do with the situation). She thought we were made because the landlord decided to discount $15.000 (approx. $30USD) for the garden that we let die...which was completely untrue because we already had agreed that was fair and not a big deal to us. In any case, we didn’t respond to the real estate agent because she was making shit up and I told Christian to just call the landlord. See, him and F. (the landlord), had always had a really good lessor-lessee relationship (that is until the husband decided to get in the middle). They always did what was fair for both and acted in good faith. I told him to just call her and say that the two of them should work out the situation because, did I mention that at the beginning of the whole thing she had actually agreed to give back the proportional money?! So we knew it was the husband who was causing problems. Anyway, he met with F. at Starbucks and the two decided to meet half way. We said she owed us $XXX, she said she owed us only $X and at the end of the day she paid us $XX. So we didn’t 100% lose, but we didn’t 100% win either. I was fine with the agreement because it wasn’t that much money in the first place, I mean we would have never gone to curt—I just wanted to threaten—and we ended up getting something which is always better than nothing.

My words of advice for people renting in Chile: go by what the contract says so that you are always on the safe side. If it says that in order to cancel the contract you have to give notice by a carta notorial (notarized letter), then do it. It will only make you look better in the event you do have to go to court because you have followed the contract.


Disclaimer—La Chilengüita is a blog created upon my personal experiences and which expresses my personal opinion that in no way represents the views my employer, family or friends.