Setting Up and Furnishing a Home 

Some insights into the peculiarities of setting up a home in Mexico City...

Appliances

Newcomers to Mexico City who will be renting their accommodation might be surprised to find that appliances such as refrigerators or washing machines (known as electrodomésticos) are often not provided by the landlord. New or remodeled rental houses or apartments are more likely to come with all of the appliances that one might expect – older properties are less likely to offer these, and newcomers should be on the look out for an indication of whether electrodomésticos are included when searching for rental properties (this may be described as semi-amueblado).

Even when electrodomésticos are included, newcomers should also be aware that certain appliances are fairly uncommon in Mexican homes. Clothes dryers are not rare, but they are relatively expensive to operate. For this reason, many people tend to take advantage of the climate in Mexico City by hanging their clothes to dry. Most apartments or homes will have an area de lavado or washing area outside the main apartment – it might be an attached patio or balcony, or could be an area on the roof (the azotea). For those who are planning to ship their appliances to Mexico, note that dryers are often powered by gas rather than electricity. If planning to ship appliances from Europe, bear in mind that Mexico´s electrical current is between 110 to 120 volts.

It is also relatively uncommon to have a dishwasher provided in a rental unit. Again, dishwashers are easily purchased in Mexico City, but many older properties and even some newer ones will not have a space designated for a dishwasher in the layout of the kitchen. Landlords may be willing to remove existing cabinets or to extend countertops to accommodate a dishwasher, but this is very likely be at the tenant’s expense.

“Flying” Furniture

Many newcomers to Mexico City will find themselves living in apartments, which presents particular challenges at moving time. Older apartments will have elevators, but many of these will be too small to accommodate modern appliances, queen size beds or larger pieces of furniture. Sometimes, these larger items will have to be carried up stairs by the delivery crew. However, when the staircase is too narrow, or the item too heavy, it is not uncommon to have items “flown” up the outside of the building using ropes. Some buildings may have pulleys or hooks installed for this purpose, but more often this will not be the case. Typically, windows or balcony doors will need to be removed in order to bring items through.

If is seems likely that items will need to be “flown” into an apartment, this should be communicated to the delivery team in advance to ensure that the necessary equipment is available – this will include not only ropes, but also appropriate packing materials or coverings for furniture. Generally, the delivery fees charged by department stores will take into account whether items need to be carried up stairs or “flown” into an apartment. It is customary to tip delivery people taking into account the considerable effort required to carry or “fly” furniture.

Repairs and Improvement

Generally, renters or buyers take possession of a property “as is.” When purchasing property repairs or improvements at the owner´s expense can only sometimes be negotiated as a part of the purchase process. Renters have 30 days to bring necessary repairs to the attention of the landlord. This does not guarantee that repairs will made, only that the tenant will not be liable for them, or for any damage caused by reported defects. Most commonly, tenants who want non-necessary or esthetic improvements made – for example, new paint, cleaned carpets or updated fixtures – are expected to do those at their own expense. Most commonly, tenants who want non-necessary or esthetic improvements made – for example, new paint, cleaned carpets or updated fixtures – are expected to do those at their own expense. It is not uncommon for tenants to update fixtures (lights, shower heads, curtains) and then reinstall the originals when they leave.

Renting a Furnished Apartment

Furnished accommodations are not as common as unfurnished, but do provide an alternative to shipping or purchasing home furnishings. Look for references to rentals that are amueblado and bear in mind that semi-amueblado very often refers to the fact that electrodomésticos only are included. If there are items in the apartment that are not necessary, it is often possible to negotiate their removal with the landlord.

When renting a furnished apartment, it is very important to ensure that a thorough inventory of all items (including their condition) is made, ideally with photographs.

Further Information

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