Property Taxes in PR – Potential Liabilities

February 27, 2017 Leave a comment

Good Morning!!

I hope you had a sublime weekend!

I leave you with this video where you are going to find incredible tools for Real Estate buying or selling!

Expect 2 more parts soon!  Do great!

Truly yours,

Santiago Lampón

 

PROPERTY TAXES IN PR – POTENTIAL LIABILITIES

Hello and welcome to Puerto Rico Legal Video Blog. My name is Santiago Lampón. I am a lawyer and a notary in Puerto Rico. I handle real estate closes week in, week out, all the time, and I am going to cover in this video and I probably have to break it down in three parts. One of the main issues and I am not kidding, one of the main issues we are facing now a days with regards to closing in general and the liability of a seller and a liability of a buyer.

Property taxes. This is a very sour subject in Puerto Rico closings now a days. It has been for a while. In the sense that it has been getting a little bit like annoying little by little. Now it is a very critical item. Property taxes in Puerto Rico very unfortunately are not really organized the way it is handled. The process is very simple and very straight forward and I am going to have to say it works. What doesn’t work is how the system is handled. Property taxes in Puerto Rico have a separate agency which is The Centre for Collection of Municipal Taxes, that’s the translation in English. In Spanish is “Centro para la Recaudación de Impuestos Municipales, and we call it CRIM.

CRIM records work separately than property registry records. They register the same, which property, the characteristics of the property and who the owner is or are, but they have several records on is here. They haven’t been put together or whatever. The problem is for example when you go to do a mortgage if the CRIM records do not match the property registry records you cannot get a mortgage. An example, the meters at the property registry are 800 meters, but when you go to CRIM its 802 meters, 850 meters, 1000 meters. The mere fact that their different you cannot get a mortgage. You need to correct either one, whichever is the correct one. That means you must do certain steps including hiring a surveyor, most likely going to the land permit authority, maybe even to having to execute deed. Eventually you will have to execute a deed if you are going to go to the property registry and you are going to the CRIM registry description is fine then it is fine. Finding old documents of agencies that no longer exist is a huge hassle. So, what I am going to do is I am going to record and by the time you watch this I will have it recorded, a series of videos describing the different issues and indicating some basic solutions.

Unfortunately, I am not going to be able to give you the full scope of solutions though videos. I am just going to be able to present you a little bit of the problem or maybe the whole picture of the problem, I will try, and an understanding of what needs to be done to correct it. By the way I want to thank my client Scott Hardy who presented me with the problem and he then suggested that maybe I should be recording videos about this. He follows me on my page; he is from Candid Real Estate. Scott, thank you.

This was part one of a series of videos regarding the property tax authority assess registration, assessment and invoicing. Those are the three main areas. I am going to be in those three areas. So, expect to see three additional videos. If you have any questions after you watch this video or after you watch the other videos and this time I do encourage you to watch all of them. Please send me an email, the address will appear on your screen or give me a call or just post the questions on this page and I will try to get to it as soon as possible.

Hope you have a great day and again my name is Santiago Lampón, a lawyer and a notary in Puerto Rico. Bye.

Categories: Uncategorized

Liabilities of Foreign and Corporations in PR

February 23, 2017 Leave a comment

Good morning!

I hope you are enjoying and producing a lot this week. I leave you with a video that I think is useful to you, so that with this information you have understanding and thus can act on any situation where you might need to.

Have an amazing rest of the week!

Truly yours,

Santiago Lampón

 

LIABILITIES OF FOREIGN LLCs AND CORPORATION IN PUERTO RICO – TRANSCRIPT

Hello and welcome to Puerto Rico Legal Blog. My name is Santiago Lampón and I am a lawyer and notary in Puerto Rico, this episode I am going to cover the use of LLCs, Limited Liability Companies or corporations or any other kind of entity for purposes of a real estate transaction or to do businesses in Puerto Rico.

The main focus of this video is the protection, protection to the shareholders or to the members of a company. Now when someone looks at why a LLC or company or corporation was created typically it is because they want some kind of distance, some kind of separation between the owners, meaning the members or the stockholders or shareholders, and the business entity with regards to potential liability. In this regards in Puerto Rico when you have a company meaning an LLC or corporation created under Puerto Rico law, not a problem, it is created under Puerto Rico law it operates per se Puerto Rico corporate law and the shareholders and the members are protected, but when you have a company or LLC or corporation created elsewhere, under Puerto Rico law it is called foreign entity.

Now, foreign when I mention this to clients or any individuals that are having any discussion on his subject it is usually interpreted to mean outside of the United States. Foreign for the purposes of Puerto Rico corporate law, means any entity created anywhere other than Puerto Rico. It could be Florida, it could be New York, it could be Canada, it could be France, it doesn’t matter. If it was not created, registered or originated in Puerto Rico it is a foreign entity.

When you are purchasing a property in Puerto Rico or doing business in Puerto Rico, you may do so without registering the entity. You may and you can get away with it, but the truth of the matter is that under corporate law if that entity isn’t registered to do business in Puerto Rico and the official term is ” authorized to do business in Puerto Rico”, if it is not registered under Puerto Rico law the members, the owners of the company are personally liable for any claims against the entity. Yeah, that is the way it is. If a corporation or a limited liability company is not registered to do business, authorized to do businesses under Puerto Rico law, any claim against the company automatically the owners, meaning the members or stockholders are personally liable for such a claim.

It is very simple. Do you have a property in Puerto Rico? It is owned by an LLC or corporation? You rent it or do business in Puerto Rico? Register it. Don’t leave it as a foreign company. Register it and get your authorization to do business in Puerto Rico.

My name is Santiago Lampón. I am a lawyer and notary in Puerto Rico. I hope you have enjoyed this video. If you have any questions you can send me an email and you can post your questions on this page and I will get to it as soon as I can and gladly give you the response that I can. Have a great day.

Categories: Uncategorized

Couples Not Married Under Puerto Rico Law

February 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Good morning!

I hope you had a fantastic weekend with your loved ones!

I wanted to inform you about this subject of couples who are not married under Puerto Rico law so that you can take any actions to prevent inconvenient situations in the future and you are more than ready!

Have an fantastic week!

Truly yours,

Santiago Lampón

COUPLES NOT MARRIED UNDER PR LAW – TRANSCRIPT

Hello and welcome to Puerto Rico Legal Blog. My name is Santiago Lampón. I am a lawyer and a notary in Puerto Rico.  In this episode, I am going to cover what I can only describe as a delicate subject.  It is the subject of individuals who are not married under Puerto Rico law.

I am being very specific. Not married under Puerto Rico law. What do I mean by this?  It could be individuals who are not married at all or it could be individuals who got married elsewhere. The marriage is not recognized in Puerto Rico. So, under Puerto Rico law it would operate as if they were single. What I am focusing on more here are two aspects. Number one when you purchase real estate and number two, something a little bit more personal if one of these individuals is injured or requires medical attention.

With regards to real estate if an unmarried couple purchases real estate in Puerto Rico you have a situation that you are actually forming a partnership. It is a partnership that requires that this individual manage the property pursuant to Puerto Rico law, in accordance with the partnership laws established under Puerto Rico civil code, which means that it is there and whether you are aware or not it applies to your relationship. This also means that for purposes of inheritance you are also going to have to deal with a hereditary process individually as individuals not as spouses. So, it is very important that that this distinction is known for purposes of doing the correct thing, meaning what you want accomplished under Puerto Rico law.

Now on the more personal aspect, imagine that one of these individuals gets injured. In Puerto Rico, hospitals will not blink, if the spouse walks in or the children or the parents of the injured person walk in because the injured person is unable to make decisions but they will not blink at accepting instructions from the spouse. But in the absence of the spouse, under Puerto Rico law, who is going to make those decisions? That is where a living will or otherwise known as health power of attorney comes in handy. You need to have, if you are unmarried and care for each other, you need to have a little will or health power of attorney which follows very standard and precise processes in order to be created in Puerto Rico in order to be used.

So be aware. There are significant distinctions, if you are going to do real estate transactions, I am assuming notary, get explanations about it and be sure that you have this information for now and for the future.

I hope you have enjoyed this video. My name is Santiago Lampón, a lawyer and a notary in Puerto Rico. You can email me your questions and post them on this page or give me a phone call. Have a great day.

Categories: Uncategorized

Land Subdivision Part 3

February 15, 2017 Leave a comment

Good morning!!

I hope you had a great Valentines Day with your loved ones!!

This is part 3 on Land Subdivision, the last of this series of videos. This is very useful data on subdivision of land that I think can be useful to you when you want to buy.

I hope you keep having a fantastic day!

Yours,

Santiago Lampón

LAND SUBDIVISION PART 3 – TRANSCRIPT 

Hello my name is Santiago Lampón. I am a lawyer and notary in Puerto Rico and this is the third part on my land subdivision series of videos. I will give you, you will see access to the video number 1 and you will see access to video number 2. You can link through this video without closing this one. You don’t need to necessarily go back and watch those two to understand this one but it is good that you watch them all. At the end of the video you may be able to post some questions if you have it.

In the two videos, I spoke   about the land.  In this one I am talking about the structure. In Puerto Rico law, just like almost anywhere else in the world we have what you probably know as condominium law. It has a different name in Spanish, I am not even going to go there, but we do have our condominium law. We also have some variations of condominiums law, but when you have a structure sitting on top of a land and that structure has different apartments or living areas so that I don’t limit it to the name of apartments, it is important that you have to comply with applicable law with sub divisions. As it is the case with land, if you purchase, let’s say you have 4 apartments and you purchase one of those 4 apartments. If you purchase that apartment and it is not properly registered as individual units at the property registry you actually bought a percentage interest on the whole land. Not the apartment, the whole thing. That means that besides being partial owner of the whole thing, you are also partially liable for the whole thing and there are some serious implications   with regards to liability under Puerto Rico law.

The other thing is how much did you buy? if you pay $100,000 for each apartment and they are 4 apartments so you purchase 25%   because there are 4 apartments and your purchase one. What was the value of the asset? What was the value of the corporation? What was the value of the partnership? (Whatever the name it was) How much did you put into i. It becomes more complicated than just this one apartment, 4 apartments, I bought one 25% easy.

If you are buying into a property with somebody else, you are a partner. If you are buying into a property and the proper segregation documents or land subdivision or apartment or a structure subdivision documents are in place, then you are buying that apartment and maybe perhaps a share of the common elements or everything like the road going into the building belongs to everybody, it’s not only one person owning it. So be very careful with that. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy it, it doesn’t mean you can do the transaction it just means you must be a little bit more careful. I hope you have enjoyed this video. My name is Santiago Lampón, A lawyer and a notary in Puerto Rico. Remember you can post your questions or your ideas at the end on this very same page and I hope you have a great day.

Categories: Uncategorized

Property Lines and Setbacks- in Vieques

February 13, 2017 2 comments

Dear reader:

I recently participated on the show BETTER TOGETHER which airs the first Saturday of every month on Radio Vieques. During the show, I shared information on the subject of PROPERTY LINES AND SETBACKS focused on properties in Vieques.

Here is transcript of my presentation during the show. I hope you enjoy it, and please let me know if you have any questions.

Yours,

Santiago F. Lampón

==============================

Hello and I am glad to be back on the program to present you with information about the legal aspects of purchasing, owning and selling real estate in Vieques.

My name is Santiago Lampón and you may find more information about me and about legal aspects related to Vieques by visiting http://www.ViequesLaw.com.

This episode I am covering issues related to property lines, specifically what can be done and what cannot be done if you are planning to do an addition or build a new structure in your property in Vieques.

The uses allowed for any given property vary in accordance with the classification given to an area or even to a specific property in what is generally known as the “land use map” for that area. There is a land use map for Vieques with detailed information for all the areas, both residential and commercial. There are numerous other categories throughout Vieques in addition to residential and commercial, but I am going to limit my comments today to these two.

The land use map would be the very first source of information you would have to review to understand what you could or could not do with your property. If your property is classified as a residential property, any project you wish to develop would be limited accordingly. If your property is classified as a commercial property, there are requirements as well but they are less restrictive than those for residential areas.

One common issue I find in my practice regarding residential properties, is the number of family units within any given property and even within any given structure. If the structure is sub-divided into apartments, the land permit authority could easily determine that your intended use is “commercial” in nature though the property is designated or intended to be used as a residence in a residential area.

Moreover, if the property or the land are–arbitrarily at times—seen as commercial in nature regardless of its classification, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority can charge higher commercial rates.

The use allowed for a property also establishes the requirements for the property line setbacks. For example, the setbacks required for a commercial property located in generally known commercial areas are less restrictive than setbacks for residential areas.

The setbacks include the construction of walls along property lines, the windows on the walls near the property lines and other uses like swimming pools, terraces, gazebos, etcetera.

If you are planning or looking at performing any type of construction, here are the steps I suggest you take:

1. You will need to gather a copy of the deed you signed at the time you acquired the property. While a photocopy will do, it must show the seal of the notary who performed the transaction.
2. The property tax ID number will also be needed. Nowadays, the digital maps which the property tax agency manages are very useful and informative.

Now to the most important part of the process:

3. Have your property surveyed.
4. Engage and engineer who has experience applying for and processing construction and use permits.

You want an engineer who has experience in dealing with permits & surveys specific to your building project and land use. This is critical.

You should demand a written proposal. The professional must state in writing, specifically, what they will be doing and the fee for that work, and if expenses are included or not.

I want to emphasize my suggestion about doing a survey of your property. There are many benefits. First and foremost, if there is a problem with current property lines or setbacks, you can start handling these problems now before you build a wall, or an addition, etcetera. Don’t wait to find out when you are selling your property where its boundaries are. This could inconvenience your prospective buyer or simply take too much time to fix which could result in your buyer losing interest.

An additional benefit would be that a surveyor usually notifies the neighbors that he is doing a survey, and announces the day and the time he will be performing the work. This gives the neighbors the opportunity to show up and find out if everything is in order or if there are any discrepancies to what they each thought were the correct property lines.

A final note on this would be the description of your property at the Property Registry. Nowadays, buyers have become more savvy about what to expect regarding a registered title. More often, I see buyers performing surveys prior to committing themselves to purchasing a property. Properties previously surveyed give potential buyers more certainty and more confidence to acquire such a property in comparison to one that has not been surveyed.

In my experience, peace of mind comes from having the correct information and knowing it. Surveying your land before starting any construction and having the proper professionals represent you in the permit process are two key steps in that direction.

If you have any questions about this subject or have suggestions for future shows, visit my page http://www.ViequesLaw.com and send me a message.

I hope you have a great day…And enjoy your property life in Vieques.

Categories: Uncategorized

LAND SUBDIVISION PART 2

February 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Goog morning to you!

I hope you are having a fantastic week. As I promised you here is the second part of my series on land subdivision. I hope it is useful to you and you enjoy it.

If you have any questions do not hesitate on letting me know.

Truly yours,

Santiago Lampón

 

LAND SUBDIVISION PART 2 – TRANSCRIPT

Hello my name is Santiago Lampón. I am a lawyer and a notary in Puerto Rico and this is part 2 of my video series regarding the subdivision of land and assets, meaning the structure sitting on land in Puerto Rico. I am a lawyer and a notary and I welcome you. Remember or bear in mind that at the end of the video you can ask any questions that you have regarding this subject.

In the previous video, I discussed the subdivision of land without permits. Now I want to discuss once the land is subdivided, what can you do. Fortunately, under Puerto Rico law you can go back, meaning you can go to the property to the land permit authority and that’s just my translation of the name, I am not even going to try to give you the correct name for language purposes. You can file, backdating the permit so that then you can do the property so you can do the proper segregation. It is important that’d you are going to segregate land or land has already been segregated without the permits, that you use a licensed surveyor. When I mean licensed surveyor I don’t want you to undermined that requirement. Make sure that your surveyor or the one that you are thinking about engaging is licensed. It is important that a license surveyor and perhaps in conjunction with a civil engineer becoming both, because if you segregate land just because you think it is better to segregate it that way you may be creating something that is unsellable under the market or at market. I do mean it is not sellable legally speaking. What I mean is it is unsellable because you are not going to be able to find a buyer who wants that property with those peculiar characteristics.

And there are quite some requirements, if there is a creek or flow of water within a property land is very important. The connection to the neighbors, the enter and the exiting up to the property whether existing access or access that needs to be created. So there are quite a few subjects that need to be considered plus you may need to give away some land for the benefit of the municipality or for the benefit of road access or other situations. You never know if a projected power line is going to be built through there, if the pipeline is going to… you never know. So, it is important that you comply with the correct procedure.

I hope you have enjoyed this video. My name is Santiago Lampón, a lawyer and a notary in Puerto Rico. If you have any questions you may post them on this page and I will get to them as soon as possible. Have a great day.

Categories: Uncategorized

Land Subdivision in Puerto Rico Part 1

February 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Good morning!

I hope you had a great weekend and that you are doing well in life!

I have a video regarding Land Subdivision and it is only part 1, so do expect 2 more parts that cover this deeper.

I hope you have a fantastic and productive week.

Truly yours,

Santiago Lampón

 

LAND SUBDIVISION PART 1 – TRANSCRIPT

Hello and welcome to Puerto Rico Legal Blog. My name is Santiago Lampón. I am a lawyer and a notary in Puerto Rico and this is the first of a three-part video post regarding the sub division of land and properties including the structure in Puerto Rico.

You can listen to each one of these three parts individually. You don’t need each one of them to have the whole track, to understand the whole concept to listen to all three of them, but if you do it will be even better. At the end of each one of these posts you can place or make your questions with regards to what you have heard or if you have any other ideas about any another subjects that come up as you listen to this posts.

This first part I am going to be talking about a common issue that I face in my regular practice, real estate practice and it is the subdivision of land mostly by family members. You have the father, the mother and they have children and as children grow up they get married and parents go head and say why don’t you take that little piece of land over there and you build a house for you and your wife and children, my grandchildren and you have these subdivisions without complying with the formalities of applicable law. Interestingly enough, they are able connect electricity, they are able to connect water to this new property, to this new household, they even build fences around it but when the time comes when they want to do mortgage or they want to sell the property it is not properly registered at the property registry because it lacks the necessary land, subdivision permits.

The interesting thing is that you can walk in there and you can see everything seems all right. In Puerto Rico, you are supposed to have a permit to connect water and electric. How they manage I don’t know but many years ago, it was very formal. Now a day it has become more formal but it is very important that the following: Number 1, if you subdivide land without the proper permits that is illegal. Number 2, without the proper permits you cannot execute the proper deed to have it properly registered at the property registry.  Number 3, if you don’t have it properly registered, if you don’t have the permits, you cannot get water, you cannot get electricity and then it becomes a problem when it is time to sell the property.

If the elders passed away without doing all this process beforehand. The problem becomes even a little bigger. So, if you are selling property or you are purchasing property or you have a big lot that you want to subdivide so that you can sell the smaller lots and make money, make sure you follow through with the proper permits or if you assuring real estate that the seller has the proper permits.

 

I hope you enjoyed this video. Remember I will be posting a couple more videos on this subject. My name is Santiago Lampón, a lawyer and notary in Puerto Rico. You can ask your questions and I want to wish you a great day. Thank you.

Categories: Land Subdivision
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