If you have decided that finding a job in Cancun and the Riviera Maya is for you, the next question you will probably consider is where you are going to live. Some job seekers may wish to find an apartment before they arrive to work in Cancun while others are happy to wait until they land on Mexican soil to start the process of finding the right property for rent in Cancun or the Riviera Maya. Here is some guidance to help you make your decision.

  • Should you secure an apartment before you arrive in Cancun?

    As a general rule, local landlords targeting Mexicans and foreigners earning Mexican wages will not advertize in English online. That means the properties you are likely to find from Internet searches will be those targeting vacation rentals and tourists with higher monthly rental fees. However, if you speak Spanish, you can check out the online classifieds such as Vivanuncios, which lists properties all over Mexico, including Cancun and the Riviera Maya. For this website, you will usually have to call (in Spanish) as posters do not tend to leave their email addresses.

    The majority of apartments for rent in Cancun are not listed online but can be found in local classifieds or identified by the “Se Renta” (for rent) signs around town which feature an email address or telephone number. Therefore, for long-term rentals you may be better off waiting until you arrive in Cancun or the Riviera Maya, finding something temporary first.

  • Avoid rental agent fees

    By calling property owners directly, you can avoid paying rental agent fees and the higher rates that target tourists. You may also be able to negotiate a lower monthly rent for committing to longer periods of time or by paying 6 months or a year upfront - you can usually get about 10%-15% discount on the quoted price if you pay in advance. Don’t be afraid to haggle; it is part of the Mexican culture. You can also check with neighbors about how much they are paying, so you get an idea of what is reasonable.

    Even if your Spanish is poor, it is worth calling as many landlords speak English. However, to get the best deals and to avoid the “foreigner rates” (which can be 15% to 25% higher than those quoted to Mexicans) ask a Mexican friend or a work colleague to call on your behalf and join you when you view the property, pretending that they will be renting the property. That way, you might be able to avoid paying the “gringo” price.

    Another tip to negotiate the best prices is to arrive during the low season, which is usually September - October. During this time, you will catch landlords at their weakest and have a wider selection of great properties to choose from.

  • How much will you pay for rent?

    Generally, your rent will count for about one third of your monthly salary, maybe less. Apartments tend to range in price from $500 to $1200 dollars if you find a local landlord, and around $3,000 dollars if you want to live in the hotel zone with access to a beach. Living outside of the city will provide lower rental prices, but higher transport costs. Try, if you can, to secure your rental price in pesos so that your rent does not fluctuate so much with the dollar-peso exchange.

  • Things to take into consideration when finding a rental in Cancun and the Riviera Maya
    • You will need to pay a deposit, which is usually one or two months rent.
    • Almost all landlords will ask you to sign a rental contract, usually before a notary public which can cost you between 1,500 to 2,000 pesos or more.
    • It is very difficult for you to be evicted from an apartment in Mexico, especially without a contract, which is why landlords are so cautious.
    • Make sure you keep a signed copy of the furniture inventory when you move into the property.