Buying Property in Leon close to the Beach - Coastal Law Issues?
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Dec 14, 2012 8:25 AM Last Post By: PurpleRose87
Dec 9, 2012 2:44 PM
Buying Property in Leon close to the Beach - Coastal Law Issues?Hello Everyone,
My boyfriend and I are thinking of buying property in Nicaragua especially the areas of Las Peñitas/ Poneloya in Leon and we have been a bit confused with the coastal law issues we've been reading about. Can anyone explain this a little... how many meters from high tide on are permitted to be used for construction?
Is the government really expropriating lands around the area? How safe is it to buy property in nicaragua? Do we have to be super concerned abou it being taken from us in the future?
Responses from people on the ground greatly appreciated!
Dec 10, 2012 5:07 AM
1The coastal law specifies that all land up to 50m above high tide line is public property and cannot be built upon. The law was not made retroactive, so you can buy property with closer structures that were built prior to the law's passage.
The current government is not expropriating property, but there was a lot of land expropriated by the Sandanistas is the 1980s, and as a result there were many property title disputes thereafter once democracy was restored. However, it is possible to purchase title insurance for Nicaraguan property and to transfer title. Coastal property title is actually less likely to be disputed since the large part of the expropriated land was agricultural redistribution.
I can refer you to a Nica legal firm that manages title search and transfers.
Dec 10, 2012 8:26 AM
2Thanks for responding guys! What is the name of the legal firm you mention la_vache? In our reasearch of the Poneloya area we ran accross several people that said the area is part of the indiginous community of the Sutiavas, does anyone know anything about that? Apparently you also need permition from the Sutiavas to purchase land there and to build, whihc basically means you need to pay them extra taxes and if you don't they are legally capable of claiming your property as theirs. Apparently, there are a few cases now being disputed in court and it seems the judges will chose thee community's side and not the investor's.....
The more we research the topic the more complicated it seems, as we keep hearing about foreign investors that have had their land taken away or are battling the courts to keep what they bought and have developed......
Dec 10, 2012 8:38 AM
Dec 10, 2012 8:55 AM
4Battling in courts, might as well battle Darth Vader...courts in Nicaragua, is a oxymoron. When the powers that be (corruption as well) deems it time to take the land, poof, its gone. There is a reason Foreign Investment in Nicaragua as far as real estate/land is at a standstill the last several years. Of course, they can just trump up some charges and throw you in jail, saying the cash you used, was from drug laundering...
Its endless. Land Registry, even with a straight up law firm, is a minefield. Claims can trump law.
Or this poor chap, another gringo that ruffled the wrong feathers in SJDS.
Or this resort owner south of SJDS-
and some food for thought.
Dec 10, 2012 7:53 PM
Dec 11, 2012 5:31 PM
6We bought one manzana of lake front property on Ometepe Island. The beach is public property, but we can buy a lease from the local mayor's office if we want to build a little gazebo or something on it. We cannot build a permanent structure on the beach. The coastal law applies to Ometepe Island, too, although we are on a huge lake. We cannot put a fence around our beach, but we have a fence about 20 ft. from the beach that surrounds our land.
I went to Nicaragua by myself and bought our property without a real estate person. A friend of mine went to the lawyer's office with me to help me translate. The total cost of a title search, the deed, and filing the deed with the court was less than $100. Our property taxes are $20 a year. We had a survey done through the local mayor's office, so we could pay our property taxes. Basically, they brought a long tape measure and measured the perimeter of our property where the fence line is located. It was an easy process once we were assured that we had a legal title to the property. But, for several other people, they bought cheap land without a proper title and are having major issues. Find a good lawyer and take a local with you to the lawyer's office. If the property is too cheap to be true, chances are it doesn't have a legal title. Best of luck...we love the Las Penitas area.
Dec 12, 2012 5:19 AM
7One of the things to look out for when buying property in Nicaragua is something also present in other countries: a scam. Expats, while many are honest, decent people, also include those who left their home countries due to criminal activity and some are involved in selling real estate to foreigners. Look before you leap. In the case of new condos, I would want the complex up and running before I bought....meaning people live there full time not just for vacations.
Aside from that, and I don't want to make a political fight here, the person who now is president of Nicaragua was once a proponent of land expropriation ala Fidel Castro. I have heard about a policy he once favored where a rental tenant who paid rent for a certain period of time would take the property from the owner. It was presented as a great help to the working class. Instead, renters were evicted before they reached the time frame. I met someone who lost his apartment that way.
Dec 13, 2012 10:43 AM
8Here's a list of legal firms that has worked with ECI and Gran Pacifica homeowners:
Arguello Pereira Law Offices:
Tels: 22708008, 22707318
Costado Este Enitel, Planes de Altamira
Castillo & Castillo Asociados:
García & Bodan attorneys and Counselors at Law
I suggest you visit with a reputable lawyer and conduct a thorough title search before any purchase.
Dec 14, 2012 8:25 AM
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