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  • #273043


    Hi all, This is an update to posts i wrote back in December,
    My wife and I (shes Brazilian im English) bought an Apartment in Natal in 2008 through a Brazilian/Italian agency called Proffessionecasa, its a tiny 1 bed apartment close to Ponta negra, when we bought the apart , the agency had a sister company called Lisa Imobilria which we were told would sort out our needs while we were in europe and would rent the apart temporaria basis,
    The Lisa ageny had not bothered to rent for the first year and only in the 2nd year did we get some temporary rentals, this is when it all started to go downhill, Nobody ever bothered to stay in touch frm the agency we always had to ring and email and ask constantly “Hows the flat doing any rentals yet , have you got our Paperwork.
    We finally saved up for a family Holiday to see the wifes family, and went to Natal,to our amasement the flat looked 25 years old not 5/6 years old , everything we paid for SofaBeds Covers Pots Pans and Doors on a unit the agency charged us 600 Reais for was broken with no doors and it was filthy proof that no one had botherd to clean it, although the agency said they paid a man to clean it (Nonsence)
    But to add insult to injury we find out just beforecoming to brazil that an Invador had moved into our flat with no contract and the agency owner blamed it on a former employee allowing this person to rent ,this individual bounced 2 cheques with the so called former employee paid no Condiminum for 4 months and no rent for 13 months, my wife questioned why the agency owner had not contacted a lawyer to evict the Invador, all we got was more excuses it was some one elses fault, thats not all.We finally get some paperwork from this arsehole to find out three years ago he did rent and did not pay 2000 reais into my wifes account
    just to recap as its a long post sorry for that but i have to get it off my chest as it sometimes causes argument between my wife and I ,
    -Agency shuts down all communication apart fron us chasing constantly
    – 12months rent roughly 12000 reais
    -Rent not disclosed 3 years ago 2000
    -4 months condiminum owed
    When we finally got to Natal my wife and i were cleaning and buying new stuff for the flat, i was painting walls (On my holiday) we finally got our sit down meeting with this charlitan/scumbag of an agent who was trying his very best to hoodwink my wife
    Basically he said he was going to pay everything back, years rent Condi charge 2000 reais embezelled and guess what hes done , the cheapest thing of all , one thing paid the IPTU 500 reais and guess what hes refusing point blnk to pay anything else.
    Im f**king fuming this guy has played us for fools, we also know we left it to long to visit brasil and deal with this
    I suppose my question is should i get a brasilian lawyer involved, how much would it cost, and is there a chanceof getting our money back.

  • #273047


    is the invading person still present, or has he been removed?

  • #273080


    WOW! What a d*ckhead! I am somewhat cynical/accepting of “Brazilian-ness” (meaning that I have accepted that the vast majority of them are opportunistic lying liars and thieves!).

    I would say – beware the “Brazilian Black Hole”. This happens when we from the west try to impose our morality/understanding/rules on some aspect of Brazilian society, thinking that we will get the same result that we would in our home country! What usually happens is that we get sucked into an intricate web that we will never get out of. If your wife is from an upperclass/rich family, she would need to use her connections to put pressure on the rental agency. If she is not from one of those families and you try to sue the rental agency, you will lose a LOT of time and money, waiting for something to happen. But if you know some people in the legal system, the problem can be solved relatively quickly! The legal system for the average person here is notoriously slow and inept, though, because no one gives a f**k!
    Home invasions are a tricky subject, because it is VERY difficult to get people to leave the property legally! It would be better to enforce whatever brand of “jeitinho brasileiro” you are most comfortable with to get the person out :-)
    In your situation, it is best to accept your losses (because if you persue damages and you are not physically in the country to apply pressure in the right areas, you will end up frustrated and out even more money)!!. Also, does your wife have any friends or friends of friends that you could rent to, who could just pay directly into a Brazilian account?
    Sorry to hear the news!

    bamabrasileira2015-02-12 14:16:29

  • #273100


    If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from my time in Brazil so far, it’s that you can’t trust Brazilians. I know most of us have Brazilian wives / husbands, family etc, but I wouldn’t trust a Brazilian as far as I could throw him / her. When you instruct someone to do something or they are offering a service, you might find that;
    1. They will say one thing and then go away and do something totally different.
    2. They might not do anything at all.
    3. If they do something, there’s a good chance that it will be a totally incompetent job.
    4. Companies / people think that the general population can be treated as fools.
    5. They will try to squeeze as much R$ from you as possible.
    We paid 2 guys to fit a new washing machine. They wanted more money than we had agreed to pay them. They then left without testing it and when we switched it on, the pipes were leaking. We had similar problems when our bathrooms were refurbished.
    To be fair, they guy who decorated our apartment did a pretty good job.

  • #273101


    Hi all , just to recap the Invador stayed for 13 months in flat but the agent only bothered to get him out with 2 weeks to go before we came to brasil (He finally employed a Lawyer he knew according to him ) , we later found out that the agent tried to get the electricity cut but this invador moved his wife and new born baby in with him (according to agent ) and this is supposedly a crime to evict a wife and new born.I dont know what to believe, all i do know is that my little brazilian investment has been the worst decision of my life , No rental, Were still paying out 260 p/month condi, elect, gas and sundries.
    Looking back i wouldnt have done it,
    I just need to think is it worth going to CRECI to report this agent and Will i get a result if i have to employ a lawyer also do we have to physically be in the country to purse as bambabrasileira says
    i would dearly love to sue this agent as he has taken us for a 16,000 reais ride when he is at fault and not fit to be an agent in my opinion , He did say he was going to pay back over time and then did the opposite and made one payment (The cheapest) never to be heard from again.

  • #273102


    Just a thought about Brazilians doing Business, or those ive dealt with when buying that flat
    -They could not wait to get our money transfered at that point nothing was to much trouble
    – When moneys handed over the service gradually goes south untill you are constantly chasing them
    -When you finally see/catch them for what they are , its to late because everyone knows that lawyers are not cheap in any country Brasil or otherwise
    -and most frustrating its so damn expensive for our family to fly to Brasil to even deal with these issues.

  • #273111


    I would guess, Ben, that the agent was making money off this (charging rent to the guy). I would go after him. Not everything runs like this- it sounds like the problem is him. Everything conveniently happened right before you got there, it sounds like he has been basically stealing from you all this time. I think you should talk to a lawyer and see what the lawyer can do as your proxy, and at very least try to recover what you lost and sue for damages as well.

    (yes yes, i know that the northeast is a different country and etc etc but i don’t think this thing happens to everyone. sounds like they specialize in fleecing gringoes.)
    also, I don’t think it costs anything to report him to CRECI, you could do it by email, but i think it will have a bit more punch if you wait for your lawyer to draft a letter to go with your complaint.

    3casas2015-02-13 06:54:20

  • #273112


    Be careful; even if a judge rules in your favour, then the agent might state that he has no assets and therefore can’t give you any money. Apparently this happens a lot. Also, the judge might grant a certain amount of time for the agent to pay the money, which can be months or even years.
    My cousin is a lawyer and she said that these cases are notoriously difficult. The agent might tell a tribunal that that he did everything he could to remove the squatter from your property, but he couldn’t because he had no legal right to do so. He might even be able to prove it; if he has ‘contacted lawyers’ and ‘sent letters’ etc on your behalf and kept records, He might be able to convince people that it wasn’t his fault. I know this sounds negative, but it’s the kind of crap that people pull here. This kind of bullsh*t can really muddy the waters.
    Trying to sue someone long-distance won’t be easy, especially when you’re dealing with the legendary Brazilian bureaucracy and incompetence.
    Make sure you get a good lawyer. I wish you good luck. You must be fuming.
    Tiredforeigner2015-02-13 08:26:23

  • #273126


    This is a tough lesson. Learn from your experience and move on. I agree with these posters:

    Tiredforeigner: “Be careful; even if a judge rules in your favour, then the agent might state that he has no assets and therefore can’t give you any money. Apparently this happens a lot. Also, the judge might grant a certain amount of time for the agent to pay the money, which can be months or even years.” AND
    “Trying to sue someone long-distance won’t be easy, especially when you’re dealing with the legendary Brazilian bureaucracy and incompetence.”
    3Casas: “Not everything runs like this-…” but I would add a caveat: It is not uncommon for those who can easily be taken for a ride. Someone like you. Sorry.
    I would definitely report this corretor and his company to CRECI. It will take some time to write up a clear and concise complaint, but it is something. Call the CRECI in your state and ask what to do.
    I suggest that processing this corretor will more of an expensive pain than it would be worth, especially since you do not reside in Brasil. Why take another expensive risk and waste more money? In spite of the fact that you have obviously been ripped off, the justice here can be quite convoluted, even with a competent lawyer. You do not mention what or if you have a contract for the corretor/manager for services. You have a lot of holes in a prospective case, and people like this corretor are slick operators.
    Perhaps you can get some monetary restitution from him, but this is doubtful. Liars rarely suddenly start telling the truth; they do, however, specialize in rationalizing and promising.
    Finally, do what you seem to already be doing: Take repossession of your place. Put it back in shape, and figure out what to do next. Do not let your condominium maintenence fee lapse for too long either. If you have the title registered in your name and the IPTU up-to-date, congratulate yourself on getting back what is rightfully yours.
    Move on, and hopefully you can still devise a way to make this property a little profitable, or at least, not a free ride for crooks.
    Good luck with developing a new management plan, and most importantly, don’t let this totally spoil your holiday. Life is too short.

    Grads2015-02-13 15:32:46

  • #273136


    Grads, I have a question for you. When a condominium is built and sold, who pays for the condo fees for the unsold inventory? Have the builders worded it in some way in which they aren’t responsible for all the units they hold?

  • #273138

    kevin owen

    The builders are responsible for the condo fees on unsold flats.
    Could you imagine a situation in a block with 50 flats and perhaps only 10 sold, those 10 people being responsible for the upkeep of the whole building.
    Quite often here a plot of land will be sold for flats that will be built on that land. The plot owner may swap it for 6 flats. They are always very keen to sell before the block is ready so that they don’t have to start paying 6x condo fees. Sometimes good deals to be had.

  • #273139


    Hm. interesting, they must do something sleazy up here, because there is no way these builders could be paying the full condo fees.

    There is a building just up the street from us that has 1 occupant, a friend of ours talked to them and they were working on getting caixa financing certified or whatever they call it.
    They must have sold off other units before building, but there are so many virtually vacant buildings around here! At night, you can see they are either completely black, or one-two lights on, while other similar sized units next door might have 30+ lights on. These are 20 story buildings, so 1-2 lights is not normal.
    That kind of expense must add up very quickly for them, profits of course are high, but if you have 50% of your building empty, paying those fees for a year+ is going to start to hurt. It’s not an expense you can ignore or push out.
    I wonder if any of these condos will take action on their builders if they start to fail to pay? That would be interesting to watch!
  • #273140


    ditto w/ kevbo. The constructor is responsible for the condo fees of unsold units; HOWEVER, while some constructors/incorporators conduct business honestly, some bend ethics to the max. I think that the most important thing to watch out for on in-process/new/any condo is the status of the property register, including any liens/liabilities of the owner/builder. I am often amazed with how much property is bought and sold in Brasil without clear title availble to the new owner. Can be a good deal perhaps, but certainly a risk. I know of some projects where the apartment owners still don’t have their title 15 years after the project was completed. Many units have been sold and bought over this time without title registrations.

    The money flows anyway, and actual ownership is a matter of paper…
  • #273141


    Welcome to Brazil, a country where scamming takes on a whole new meaning. I wonder if some of us are paying attention?

    Hunter Peak ….. ? HUNTER PEAK ….. ?

    38 Special2015-02-15 00:40:23

  • #273150


    What’s the in-joke about Hunter Peak? Did he get ripped off?

  • #273151


    [QUOTE=Tiredforeigner]What’s the in-joke about Hunter Peak? Did he get ripped off? [/QUOTE]

    I don’t know …. Why don’t you ask him?
  • #273152


    I did not get ripped off…just a troll trolling…..sadly our friend 38 even reached out to me via facebook the other day. A sad case, it seems he has truly lost the plot.

  • #273156


    My theory is that he is from Joao Pessoa, and lost his shirt in The Great Coconut Plantation scam of ’09 and is now trolling Brazilian forums in the hope of finding someone he can off-load his 300 square metres of Prime Coconut Plantation to. LOLLOLLOL

  • #273216


    I own a half dozen producing coconut trees. I give away Green coconuts to friends.

  • #273217


    [QUOTE=GreatBallsoFire]I own a half dozen producing coconut trees. I give away Green coconuts to friends. [/QUOTE]

    Hunter Peakwill be growing coconut trees soon (as a means to making a living) if he does not plan smartly for his and his child’s future. America First World NC vs Third World Brazil? Wake up my friend and do the right thing.
  • #275115


    Some clarification on condo fees in Brazil
    Some posts here might give the impression that these fees (which can be outrageously high) merely go down the drain. If everything is on the up-and-up, they are merely the shared expensesof the condominium (common property).
    One typical item is utility bills for the common areas/services. For instance, electricity and water for the entrance, public corridors, garage, etc. Quite often, two-thirds of the expense are for payroll, due to Brazil’s abusive social charges and statutory employee benefits. An average apartment building will have at leastone general caretaker (zelador), three doormen (porteiros) working in shifts, and one janitor (faxineiro). Headcount may mushroom if additional amenities/security is provided. Other items are elevator and general maintenance, fire insurance, land tax on common areas, intercoms, security system, it’s a long list.
    Of course, as the condominium grows in size and luxury, this list can get much longer, and the figures on the right column can increase exponentially.
    I’m writing this to warn foreigners who come to Brazil, and who will live in condominiums about the sharp variation that may take place in such fees.
    Instead of a lengthy explanation, I’ll give you my personal example.
    The building where I lived before had 20 apartments, two per floor. The “garden” in front of it was about 75 m¬≤/800 sq.ft in area. The apartment itself where I live now is only 5% smaller in area, however the building has 84 such units, four per floor. The garden in front is about 2,000 m¬≤/21,500 sq.ft in area. This should give you a general picture, actually two of them.
    My point here is that now I pay about one-fifthof what I used to pay in condo fees (about the same level of services), because there are about four times more people to share these expenses, many of them unavoidable, no matter how much one tries to cut costs.
    So one important point to consider when buying/renting a condo unit in Brazil is how many people will be sharing the common expenses. One unit per floor may be a quite expensive luxury, especially in lower-rise buildings.
    I’ve skipped countless other details, however I advise to check not only the rent, but also the condo fees before buying/renting a condo unit in Brazil.
    Answering the OP, if only one or just a few units are occupied in a building, the shared expenses will be typically low. Think of how few trips per day the elevator will do with not so many people living there, and extrapolate it to the other expenses. The builder will have their own staff going there and do any maintenance work required.
    If the builder fails to pay the condo fees, the condominium as an entity may sue them and seize one or more units as payment for the accrued debt, if the figures match. The condominium may then rent/sell these units to cover the expenses.

  • #275122


    I would say head count amounts to very little in terms of condo fees for these larger complexes — 20 units is a pretty small building.

    The buildings in Natal are probably 80-100 units, charging 300-500 per month in condo fees.
    The 5 people you mentioned @ R$800/month * 2 for benefits is $8000/month. While 80* 500 = R$40,000, clearly a very large disconnect. These buildings don’t offer any other services.
    The money is generally used for repairs, and if 2/3rd’s is being used for salaries, you’re in for some very expensive bills in the future! Maintenance is very expensive and large ticket items like re-tiling a building will create a huge one time assesement to the owners.
    I suspect though, that some of these new buildings have “contracted out” to some 3rd party to manage them. That 3rd party is probably pretty closely related to the building company, and they’re probably charging an arm and leg for services. Although I’ve never looked into the books of these complexes, I would find it hard to believe they’re spending 40K a month without dipping their fingers in there :)
  • #275128



    The money is generally used for repairs [/QUOTE]
    Yes it is, first one is like 2-6 months after the keys are handed over as the construction is so badly done that whatever you bought already starts to fall apart.
  • #28214

    Mark Dixon

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