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Mayan Lake Realty Rip Off

Panajachel...
Level Contributor
19 posts
8 reviews
Mayan Lake Realty Rip Off

We were ripped off for $500.00 by Mayan Lake Realty when I gave Rene, the partner, a cash deposit the afternoon before I hoped to rent a house through them in Panajachel. He agreed that the money would be refunded if my husband did not want to rent the house after speaking to him that evening when my husband came home from work. I called Rene first thing in the morning to say that no, we weren't going to sign the lease for the house since there were far too many stairs and I am partially disabled. We expected to find another house through them as agreed.

Rene had SPENT OUR DEPOSIT MONEY the night before, and did not have it to return it to us. Despite my having a signed receipt stating the deposit was refundable," Francesca (the other partner) refused to return our deposit stating I had "not given them enough notice."

This was outrageous. They are not licensed real estate agents and have stolen money from many people around the lake. The locals and expats who live there know to watch out for them as Mayan Lake Realty pays the owners an agreed-upon amount for rent and gouges the tourists for whatever they can get. The newcomers are non the wiser until they have lived there for some time, and find out how much less the owners had agreed to rent the houses for.

I even tried to take Mayan Lake Realty to court for the return of my "refundable deposit," but they do not list a real physical address anywhere in their advertisements. Without an address, they cannot be served to appear in court.

It is very important that people know to beware of people like these, who fleece newcomers to the area as no one knows any better until it is too late. I am filing a complaint with Century 21 in the U.S. as their behavior is beyond the pale. They would never get a license and be looking at jail time for their fraudulent actions if they were working in the U.S. As a licensed realtor myself for many years, I am horrified as to what they get away with in Guatemala where licensing and complaint resolutions are lax to non-existent.

Other people have been ripped off by them when Rene or Francesca have added pararaphs to agreements that were never there when people signed, or when these "agents" convince people to pay in advance in CASH so there is no record of payments being made (and no taxes / income to report) and no recourse when they take off with your money.

I'm glad that one person had a good experience with this outfit, but I can assure you it is because it was short-term and they didn't know they were being fleeced. I am writing this review to let others be forewarned and find someone else to deal with!

Contact me for more information anytime. I will also give you the name of my lawyer who knows these people very well and can write an agreement that will protect you, the tenant, from them. I should have done this from the very beginning, but they are so "friendly" you would never guess that you are about to get fleeced.

BEWARE. There are many properties for rent on the Facebook pages for Panajachel and Lake Atitlan. Avoid rip-off artists at all costs.

23 replies to this topic
Panajachel...
Level Contributor
19 posts
8 reviews
21. Re: Mayan Lake Realty Rip Off

Thanks... I am just glad that a few people in this forum at least are forewarned. And glad you had some very good points about renting in the U.S. Be well!

Toronto, Canada
1 post
22. Re: Mayan Lake Realty Rip Off

Sorry to hear that Catherine. It turns out that the same thing happened to me with Armand Boissy of Atitlan Solutions. He did nothing to help me get my USD 1000 deposit back when Aquiles Faillace owner of Casa Pachitiya refused to return it under no good reason. I signed a contract with Armand and his Real Estate Agency and that didn't help. Now, to be honest I don't even know if they work together in cheating people or if Armand just cashes his commission and then decides to look the other way, because I have researched in the web and learned I wasn't the first "victim". Last year a woman had a $500 deposit stolen and also another couple who rented the house for a wedding a few years back never got their $1000 deposit. What a bunch of crooks!!

It's such a pity that people can't do honest business

Panajachel...
Level Contributor
19 posts
8 reviews
23. Re: Mayan Lake Realty Rip Off

thomasfbko, I am so sorry and shocked to hear this! I swear, even though it is "easy" to live in this country, where our US Dollars are worth almost 7.5 times what they are in the United States, living without "consumer rights" and watchdog agencies makes doing any financial transaction or any kind of business fraught with danger. I had no idea that Armand was in on these kinds of swindles. I am very disappointed to find this out.

Also BE AWARE that EMAILS ARE NOT CONSIDERED LEGAL IN GUATEMALA. I had one American, Richard Morgan, from Posada Los Encuentros, get me to give him a large payment for rent in advance ($2,000), and then when he did not pay the electricity bill and I had no utilities or water, and wanted to leave, he decided he was legally able to charge me the $2,000.00 USD for the 3 weeks I had stayed there! When I took him to Guatemalan court, the judge said "she believed me, but did I have anything in writing with his signature?" and I said "No, but I had all the emails sent between us and the bank deposit slip when I sent the money in advance."

He had the nerve to sit there and say "Your honor, I never signed anything and I can charge her whatever I want." And legally it was true! However, I finally realized I had sent the money to his US BANK and the laws protect consumers in the states and emails are legal! So I sued him in Arizona, where his business was based (even though he lives full time in Guatemala) et voila! I received not only my $2,000.00 back but additional fines for his underhanded duplicity. HAHAHAHA!

The English speakers here are worse than the Guatemalans sometimes. I don't know who to trust anymore, but know that you don't send ANYTHING by email, and even the lawyers you hire may be in cahoots with the realtors or owners that you are dealing with. I was lucky and careful when I purchased my land from a Swiss developer and all ownership papers and dealings were correct. But there are so many rip-offs, I now don't know who to recommend.

GLAD YOU POINTED OUT OTHERS WHO ARE NOT RELIABLE OR HONEST.

Just give the least amount of money possible and BUYER BEWARE!

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