Below is a link to an article I recently published at http://www.PuertoRicoLegalBlog.com site about a new development relevant to titles in Vieques.
Santiago F. Lampón
Any town in Puerto Rico or practically anywhere in the World, is not truly in the business of acquiring and selling land for a profit. Accordingly, any acquisition and subsequent transfer of land by a government entity must serve a public purpose. Vieques is not the exception.
I approach the practice of law in a very practical way. I focus on results, and in the real estate business the most sought after result is a registered title. Accordingly, we are on the lookout for items that get in the way of recording a title. Whenever we are dealing with titles that come from or emanate as a result of government action, the item we are most on the lookout for are so called “sales restrictions.”
Whenever a government entity sells or transfers land to an individual, one thing they are trying to avoid is the purchase and subsequent sales of that land by speculators, meaning people who buy the land for profit. The challenge becomes, then, identifying who is buying the land out of necessity versus the one who is buying the land with the sole or main purpose of making a profit.
In comes the “sales restriction” condition or clause incorporated into most government deals.
A sales restriction encumbers a given property for a set period of time. The terms of the clause or condition need to be expressed through a deed executed by the seller and the buyer of the property, and the deed containing the condition needs to be recorded at the Puerto Rico Property Registry.
Ordinarily, such a clause or condition follows this pattern:
- If the buyer (owner) of the property wishes to resell the property in X amount of years from the date he or she acquired title from the town; then,
- The buyer (owner) will pay the town a certain amount of money established in the clause or condition, or established as a matter of law or through a City Council Ordinance or regulation. This amount is seeing as a “penalty” and its payment (or release from) is a condition precedent to a closing.
- The seller pays the penalty and he or she is then free to sell the property. The new purchase and sales deed would reflect that the penalty was paid.
Of course, if the purported sale is going to be executed after the term for the sales restriction has expired, the sales restriction would be extinguished and the owner is free to sell the property as he or she wishes.
The Town of Vieques has been issuing titles for lots in Villa Borinquen and Bravos de Boston for many years, most of them with conditions establishing sales restrictions. Various terms have been in effect throughout the years. At some point in time the sales restrictions would extend for 15 years and, at times, they extended for 5 years.
If you want to know if your title has such a condition or restriction, all you do is read your deed (carefully) and you will recognize if such a language is present by comparing the contents of your deed to my summary (1 to 3) above.
The sales restrictions could be removed or revoked by approval of the City Council and with the Mayor’s consent to the approval.
On October 27, 2010, an ordinance was approved by the Vieques City Council which was subsequently validated by the Mayor, allowing for the removal of certain sales restrictions for some titles granted by the Town of Vieques as laid out in the ordinance. Nevertheless, the removal of the restrictions is not automatic. The Ordinance mandates that the property owner coordinates that the Mayor signs a deed validating the removal of the sales restriction, and the deed must be filed at the Property Registry.
As with any ordinance or regulation, the City Council has the power to revoke its prior actions at any time, hence rendering the authorization to remove sales restrictions null and ineffective. This would meant that sales restrictions would continue to be in effect and cannot be removed.
Of course, for those properties that the deed cancelling the sales restrictions were executed and filed with the Property Registry before the ordinance is cancelled, the removal of the sales restriction would be permanent.
Gypsy García Córdova is the President of the Vieques City Council. Today, January 26, 2016, he made some declarations regarding the town’s financial condition in attention to a newspaper article recently published on the subject.
Here is the unedited statement which he made available in English and which I reproduce unedited and with his permission.
Very truly yours,
Santiago F. Lampón
STATEMENT BY MR. GYPSY GARCÍA CÓRDOVA
“Referring to today’s publication in which the Mayor Emeric makes tax issues dire warnings, I would like to clarify some points which I refer ahead.
“The Municipality of Vieques closed its fiscal year in surplus in the last three years, duly certified by the Comptroller’s Office.
“Currently the Municipality of Vieques ended an accumulated debt of $ 6 million dragging of the past 15 years, today January 2016 the accumulated debt is $ 0.00
“By order of Law under the leadership of former Governor Sila Calderon (2001) an annual subsidy of about $3 million for Vieques, that due to the government’s fiscal crisis have not met with Vieques, as yet they have not made many citizens with their tax refunds. Therefore, a municipality of Vieques being limited financial resources, this situation could affect the continuity of work of many employees.
“That said, it does not mean under any circumstances mismanagement of finance, overdraft or the proposed annual budget of the municipality that is still in effect until 30 / June / 2016.
“The administration and its Mayor Mr. Victor Emeric, has been very diligent and responsible with its economy and fiscal health. In fact, due to the strong media pressure the central government will make a partial payment to the Municipality to ensure employee payroll this week, as it undertook to identify funds as soon continuity.
Gypsy I. Garcia Cordova
President Legislature Vieques
Please read the invitation below which I forward on behalf of the Vieques Conservation and Historial Trust. If you want more information about the dinner or would like to attend, please call 787-741-8850 or send an e-mail to email@example.com or visit the website www.vcht.org for more information.
Very truly yours,
Santiago F. Lampón
Dear Members and Friends:
The annual Trust dinner, “Celebrating Vieques”, is being held at El Blok on Saturday, February 6, at 6:00 P.M. This is a major fund-raising event. Your generous support is needed and appreciated.
This year, the Trust will honor three persons who have made exceptional contributions to our community and our mission:
Ellen Parker – Trust Volunteer Award
Eva Bolivar – MANTA Volunteer Award
Barbara Hyland – Jade Condor Award
Please join us on February 6 to celebrate the Trust and the contributions of these individuals.
Estimados miembros y amigos:
La cena anual del Fideicomiso, “Celebrando a Vieques”, se llevará a cabo en El Blok el sábado 6 de febrero a las 6:00 P.M. Este es un importante evento de recaudación de fondos. Su apoyo generoso será grandemente apreciado:
Este año el Fideicomiso horará a tres personas que han contribuido excepcionalmente con nuestra comunidad y nuestra misión:
Ellen Parker – Reconocimiento como Voluntaria del Fideicomiso
Eva Bolivar – Reconocimiento como Voluntaria de MANTA
Barbara Hyland – Condor de Jade
Acompáñenos el 6 de febrero a celebrar el Fideicomiso y a estas personas y sus contribuciones.
Carlos Day is a musician born in Buffalo to Puerto Rican parents
He (of course) considers himself Boricua.
Carlos has been recording videos on his abilities as a musician. He plays the guitar, the bass, can play congas and the piano; but his two most amazing abilities in my opinion (and I am not a musician), are the trumpet and his fabulous voice.
Carlos recently distributed through Facebook his lively performance of a classic known and enjoyed by all across all ethnical and religious backgrounds.
Hence, here it is from Carlos Day (and me) wishing HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all!!!
2015 marks the 10th anniversary of my first business trip to Vieques.
Sunday, March 15, 2005 was that day. The Bravos Beach Hotel and Bananas was where I held my first meetings.
The fact that I was doing these meetings while wearing Bermuda shorts and on a Sunday, had a significance I fully did not comprehend at the time. Nevertheless, by the end of the year I was completely sumerge in learning about and understanding the legal issues all lawyers study while in law school, but only a few enjoy the opportunity of practicing with in real life.
And I have to say that I have never looked back!
Working in Vieques has been a blessing. It is challenging but fun: sometimes gruesome but always rewarding: almost never disappointed, but certainly always satisfied with another well done closing, or another title fully recorded or all kinds of legal work completed.
I began this blog in 2007, July to be specific. Many of you have been with me since the beginning; but newcomer or not, I am thankful for your follow and for everything you do to keep us enjoying our relationship with La Isla Nena.
We all wish you the best always, and I hope to see you soon in Vieques. I will be around and I hope you are too.
With much appreciation,
Santiago F. Lampón
With the help of a company called Studio98 I have created a new webiste for my law firm Lampón & Associate. You may access the site through the http://www.PuertoRicoLegalBlog.com or the http://www.LamponLaw.com domain names.
In the Puerto Rico Legal Blog site I have also incorporated a blog dealing with general real estate, business and inheritance law issues particular to Puerto Rico. This has been my baby project for the last few months and it is now just about done.
This blog dealing exclusively with Vieques will continue. As a matter of fact, our presence in Vieques has increased during the last two years, to the point that I have added another lawyer to our team. Ms. Limarie Mendez is now a full time member of L&A and, together with and under the direct supervision of lawyer Hildamar Rodríguez, is leading the effort of keeping up with the increasing demand for services emanating out of Vieques.
The blog I have incorporated into the Puerto Rico Legal Blog website is free and I would like you to go, visit it and read some of the articles. If you like it, you are invited to subscribe for free.
I want to clarify that the articles I publish at Puerto Rico Legal Blog will not be published within this Vieques Law Blog. Also, the articles I publish here will not be published in the other blog to avoid duplicative notifications.
As a final note, I am always looking for ideas for articles I may publish. Please let me know through a comment below or an e-mail, about any idea you may have for an article.
Very truly yours,
Santiago F. Lampón