Renowned Mexican actor Leonardo Garcia made headlines this week upon revealing he was recently evicted from his luxury apartment in Mexico City’s upscale Polanco neighborhood over alleged fraud. The case underscores the complex laws around property purchases and tenant rights in Mexico’s capital.
Garcia claims that after acquiring the property, he discovered hidden defects requiring him to not only invest significant money toward the purchase, but also unexpected repairs. However, the real estate firm, Guillén Rivera, asserts Garcia did not finish paying off the apartment and therefore legally regained rights to repossess it.
Failed Renovations Led to Lawsuit
After sinking funds into renovations, Garcia initiated legal action against Guillén Rivera to recoup alleged overpayments, saying he paid “more than half” the apartment cost. However, the company not only refused repayment but kept 65% of the total purchase value — justifying it as ‘rent’ since full payment was incomplete.
Garcia decried the move in a public statement: “In what civilized country do you buy a house, they sell it to you damaged with defects of origin and, after that, what you gave as payments they take it away from you for rent.”
“I am dumbfounded, I am impotent. All the money I paid, we did everything that is done legally”, he continued.
Notably, Garcia claims to have received no formal notice about the eviction beforehand.
Mortgage Delinquency Carries Steep Penalties
According to financial experts, delays in mortgage payments often incur default interest and credit score impacts. This means mortgage holders who default face penalties exceeding 5% of the initial amount — significantly raising the debt burden.
Beyond financial penalties, mortgage delinquency also risks legal action like lawsuits and property seizures. After three months of nonpayment, a debt is considered legally delinquent. Following six months, lenders can initiate foreclosure on collateral assets like homes, possibly forcing property auctions.
Facing these outcomes, experts urge mortgage holders to negotiate with lenders before reaching critical junctures. Options include mortgage renegotiation, loan modifications, refinancing, and property sales to avoid forfeitures. Government assistance programs also exist, along with lender support for customers facing hardships.
Tenant Protections Against Evictions
In Mexico’s capital, tenant rights received a boost in 2019 amid reforms strengthening protections around evictions lacking proper court orders. Specifically, Article 60, published on February 8th in the Official Gazette of the Federation prioritizes conciliation and mediation prior to forcibly removing residents.
Current Mexico City laws also safeguard renters by emphasizing rights like:
- Required consideration of peaceful alternatives
- Adequate compensation for losses
- Judges must grant hearings preceding any eviction
- Authorities must ensure rehousing within 15 kilometers for evicted persons lacking resources
It remains unclear whether Garcia can regain his former residence. But the case puts an international spotlight on the country’s evolving property and tenancy laws. For now, the actor continues battling to recoup his investment and search for a new home.