Busing Banderas Bay: Cautionary Tips for Vallarta’s Rental Market

I have little knowledge of rental conditions in other cities, and Vallarta may be unique with their large tourist and snowbird population but until we find that one magical place, we are house hunting every year.

There are many “agents” out there with places to show you. There are several Vallarta and area FB pages for rentals and they are extremely helpful in identifying potential homes for rent.

Avoiding History

Last year we had secured a house in the Fluvial area. Ten days before move-in the landlord sold the property. We scrambled and found a house that was suitable but the location was terrible; we have been counting the days until we could move.

 Buyer Beware

During this year’s search for a rental, we viewed a house near Costco.

The house was undergoing extensive cleaning, repainting, and maintenance. We were asked to picture the house in its final condition.

We both saw the potential, a huge house, a private walled backyard, plus a view from the master bedroom balcony of the mountains, and fields. Let us not forget the banana tree in the backyard with a water fountain and the interior open-air indoor garden. It was in a gated “coto” with 24-hour security and a pool.

We agreed to talk it over and get back to them. The rental agent phoned us that afternoon, we made an offer which he accepted, then arranged to meet the next day for a second viewing. We scrutinized the place for any and all issues we wanted to be included in the lease.

We sat down to cover a list of issues including security deposit and payment details. The price had gone up by a thousand pesos! The agent then informed us they required a six-month deposit in order to finish the work on the house and have it ready in time.

Red Flags

A six-month deposit? At this point, I didn’t even know the agent’s last name. I refused the price increase. I asked for a few days for reference checks. I knew someone who knew his reference, and the result; “To be honest, we have not had very good experiences with him. I don’t really trust him.”

I asked a former landlord if he was aware of the gentleman and his company; “never heard of him”.

My wife posted on the FB rental forum, inquiring if anyone had experiences with company “X” or persons “Y” or “Z”. Person “Z” even shared the post. By the next day, we had our answers, several cases of lost deposits and bad experiences, plus no pleasant experiences reported.

Fighting Back

Thank you social media, for responding to our request for info, and to the people who provided references. Yea to me, for having the common sense to check this guy out.

As I prepare to send this article in, there is a post on FB and someone is interested in “the” house. I hope they check references.

What would you do to protect your money?


Create an app to track rental properties and landlords/agents with complaints or issues against the properties. I would pay for an app like that.

I, however, have devoted my retirement to having fun, each and every day, and have no time for anything resembling work (other than finding a place to live). I am passing this idea along to an entrepreneur to take it and run.

I am fed up with hit and miss when trying to rent a place.

Bottom line, minimum, furnished, two bedrooms, two baths, full kitchen with oven, on/near a bus line, close to Downtown.

Bruce Howells on Email
Bruce Howells
Bruce es un canadiense jubilado, que junto con su esposa Velma, tomó una "mulligan" en la vida y escapó del frío de Canadá y se instaló en Vallartazona. Cumpliendo un retirosueño de no conducir más, Bruce utilizará transportatio públicon para recorrer la bahía y contar sus historias aquí. Consejos e itinerarios bienvenidos. Correo electrónico: busbanderasbay