Home > Adverse Possession in Puerto Rico, The Property Registry, What is "untitled" property? > “Titled” vs. “Un-Titled” Property in Vieques

“Titled” vs. “Un-Titled” Property in Vieques

I write this post in response to many requests for information on this subject which is not exclusive to Vieques.   The most recent request was a post by Linda, who I thank for her post of April 28, 2008. 


Linda, here is your response.


In Puerto Rico we have a Property Registry where most of the real estate property is meant to be registered.  The purpose of the Registry is to provide the general public with “title” information about any given lot at any given time.   For additional information, please review my posts of July 2, 2007, Puerto Rico Property Registry and of July 30, 2007, The Puerto Rico Property Registry – How Does it Work posted on this blog.


In the Vieques market, the term “titled property” is used in reference to real estate property which is registered within the Property Registry.  On the other hand, the term “un-titled property” is commonly used to refer to property for which there are no ownership records within the Property Registry,  This has been a long-term tradition within the Vieques market, but new realities propose that–perhaps–these terms need to be either re-defined or at the very least clarified.


Under Puerto Rico Law, “title” over any given property is not exclusively determined by what appears posted within the Property Registry.  For example, a given piece of land may appear within the Property Registry under the name of, let’s say a fellow named Paul, but in reality someone named Gloria may be the legal and good faith “owner” of this property in this hypothetical example.  Gloria’s title is not reflected at all within the Property Registry.  The reason for this is that (in this example) when Paul passed away, his heirs did not see through the proper registration of their inheritance rights and Gloria, not knowledgeable of how real estate rights are transferred in Puerto Rico, signed a private purchase and sales agreement with Paul’s heirs.


This does not mean that Gloria’s title is not valid.  It only means that Gloria’s title is not registered.  Do you follow?  In this example, Gloria has an “un-registered title” which is a more appropriate term to describe this situation. 


This appears to be a common occurrence in Vieques.  At Lampón & Associates we have worked on various situations similar to Gloria’s, and just recently resolved an inheritance situation dating back to the early 40’s, hence turning an “un-registered title” into a “registered title.”


The term used in Vieques to distinguish “titled” versus “un-titled” property is actually–and with all due respect–a misnomer.  Nonetheless, note that I will publicly continue to use the “titled” vs. “un-titled” names, since these are the names generally recognized by the market (for now).


If a property appears in the Property Registry under someone’s name, then that someone has a “registered title.”   If the property does not appear within the Property Registry at all, or it appears under the name of someone other than the individual who is publicly claiming to be the owner, then you have an “un-registered title.”


There is a variant to the above which is property that does appear within the Property Registry under the name of X or Y person or entity, but in reality (or outside the Registry) is under the control of someone else who publicly claims that he/she is the “owner” of the property.  This type of property is also commonly referred to in Vieques as “un-titled property,” a common phenomenon within the Vieques marketplace, and which in this article we have denominated as property with an “un-registered title.”   Note that we are not referring to Gloria’s example, but rather to what appears to be a “conflict” of titles.


This later variant of “un-registered title” would be the kind of property that could benefit from an adverse possession claim as otherwise commented on this blog.  The adverse possession process is further described in my posts of January 24 and April 8, 2008.


The fact that a property is advertised as being “un-titled” ordinarily means that the person who claims to be the owner of the property has not taken the necessary steps to have his/her title registered within the Property Registry.   In this regards, each lot has a particular and distinctive record which, when examined, should yield a degree of potential success when attempting to turn an un-registered title into a registered one.


You may post your questions or comments below.  If you want to comment or inquire about this subject privately, you may write to Blogmaster@LawmponLaw.com and we will do our best to respond quickly to your request.


Have a great day!


Very truly yours,


Santiago F. Lampón



IMPORTANT NOTICE – Please remember the legal disclosure included within this blog.  The purpose of this post is only informative in nature and does not establish an attorney-client relationship with L&A or the subscribing attorney.  You must not rely only on this information to make decisions regarding a situation which you may be confronting, and should engage counsel of your choice to evaluate and assist you accordingly.  Anyone who is considering acquiring property in Puerto Rico (not only Vieques) should seriously consider engaging legal counsel of his/her choice.







Propiedades “con-título” vs. “sin-título” en Vieques


Escribo esta columna en respuesta a muchas peticiones que he recibido solicitando información sobre el tema, el cual no se limita a Vieques.  La petición más reciente la recibí a través de ViequesLaw.com de parte de Linda con fecha del 28 de abril de 2008. 


Agradezco a Linda por su petición.   Linda, aquí está tu respuesta. 


En Puerto Rico tenemos un Registro de la Propiedad en el cual se pretende que se registren la mayor parte de los títulos en Puerto Rico.  El propósito del Registro de la Propiedad es proveer al público en general información sobre los títulos de las propiedades en cualquier momento dado. Para información adicional debes revisar mi columna del 2 de Julio de 2007, El Registro de la Propiedad de Puerto Rico y la del 30 d Julio del 2007, El Registro de la Propiedad de Puerto Rico – Como Funciona ambas publicadas en ViequesLaw.com.


En el Mercado de Vieques, el uso del término “titulada” o “con-título” al referirse a una propiedad, se refiere a una propiedad que aparece registrada en el Registro de la Propiedad.  Por el contrario, una propiedad la cual se describe como “sin-título” se refiere generalmente a una propiedad que no aparece en el Registro.  Esta ha sido una tradición en el Mercado de Vieques, pero quizás los nuevos tiempos y las nuevas tendencias hacen necesario que dichos términos sean revisados o al menos aclarados. 


Conforme a las leyes de Puerto Rico Law, el “título” sobre una propiedad no se determina exclusivamente a base de la información que aparece en el Registro de la Propiedad.  Por ejemplo, un terreno podría aparece en el Registro, digamos que a nombre de alguien llamado Pablo, pero en realidad hay una persona de nombre Gloria quien públicamente y de buena fe reclama ser la dueña de esta propiedad mientras que su “título” no aparece en Registro donde está a nombre de Pablo.  En este ejemplo hipotético, la razón para la discrepancia es que cuando Paul falleció, sus hijos no llevaron a cabo los trámites de herencia y Gloria, quien no estaba informada sobre como se traspasan títulos en Puerto Rico, compró la propiedad sin estar pendiente a registrar su título en el Registro de la Propiedad.


Lo anterior no significa que el título de Gloria’s no sea válido.  Lo único que significa es que el título de Gloria no está registrado.  ¿Comprendes?  Según este ejemplo, Gloria tiene un “título-no-registrado” el cual es un término más apropiado a la situación descrita. 


Esta parece ser una situación común en Vieques.  En Lampón & Asociados hemos trabajado en varias situaciones similares a la presentada en esta columna.  Por ejemplo, recientemente resolvimos una situación que data a los años 40, lo cual resultó en que un título No registrado se convirtiera en un título registrado.  O sea, la propiedad pasó de ser “sin-título” a una propiedad “con-título” usando la jerga actual. 


Los términos “con-título” y “sin-título” usados en Vieques realmente son, con mucho respeto, término incorrectos de acuerdo a la realidad legal.  Si una propiedad aparece en el Registro bajo el nombre de una persona, esa persona tiene un título registrado.  Si la propiedad no aparece en el Registro o aparece bajo el nombre de una persona distinta a su verdadero dueño, entonces esa persona tiene un título no-registrado. 


Existe un tipo de situación en el sentido de los títulos no-registrados que amerita comentario.  Esta es la ocasión en la cual aparecen en el Registro como dueño X ó Y persona o entidad, pero que en la realidad (fuera del Registro) hay una persona quien públicamente manifiesta y entiende que es el titular de la propiedad.  Este tipo de situación es a la cual regularmente se refiere en Vieques como una propiedad “no-titulada” y que en esta columna denominamos como “título no-registrado.”  Toma nota de que no nos estamos refiriendo al ejemplo de Gloria, ya que en este ejemplo aparenta existir un conflicto de títulos.


Este tipo de propiedad podría beneficiarse de un proceso de expediente de dominio para reclamar lo que formalmente se reconoce como “prescripción adquisitiva.”  El proceso que tiene que ver con este tipo de situación es objeto de otras columnas que escribí para este espacio, los cuales tienen fecha del 24 de enero y 8 de abril de 2008.  


El hecho que una propiedad sea anunciada con “sin-título” regularmente significa que una persona quien reclama que es el dueño de cierta propiedad, no ha tomado los pasos necesarios para registrar su título bajo su nombre en el Registro de la Propiedad.  En ese sentido, cada propiedad tiene sus características propias, las cuales una vez sean analizadas deben reflejar el potencial de éxito en el caso de que su “titular” desee registrar formalmente su título.


Puede colocar y publicar sus preguntas o comentarios al pie de esta página.  Si desea hacer comentarios o preguntas en privado, puede enviar un correo electrónico a la dirección Blogmaster@LawmponLaw.com y con mucho gusto haremos lo posible por atenderlo rápidamente.


¡Que tenga un gran día!




Santiago F. Lampón



ADVERTENCIA IMPORTANTE – Por favor, al considerar esta información tenga en mente el propósito de publicar estas columnas según expresado en nuestra sección de “legal disclaimers” encontrada en este espacio.  El propósito de proveer esta información es meramente informativo, y su lectura no establece una relación abogado-cliente con L&A o el abogado que suscribe.  Usted no debe descansar en esta información para tomar decisiones con respecto a situaciones que pueda estar confrontando, y debe considerar el contratar a un abogado(a) de su preferencia para que evalúe la situación y le asesore con respecto a la misma.   Toda persona que desee adquirir una propiedad en Puerto Rico (no solamente en Vieques) debe considerar la contratación de un abogado(a) de su preferencia.

  1. Fernando
    May 6, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    In regard to the topic of untitled vs. titled land: if you acquire a tract of untitled land from someone who claims ‘ownership’ by means of an ESCRITURA PUBLICA DE COMPRAVENTA Y SUCESION DE DERECHOS, I understand that a process with the Municipality’s Planning office may commence toward ontaining title from the Municipality. How does this process work?

  2. Fernando
    May 8, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Mr. Lampon, thanks for the response on my question. You are very right; that is precisely the steps described to me at the PLANNING OFFICE when I inquired. So, basically, we should just ‘follow’ the Planning Office’s steps to avoid any future headaches by having them (the Planning Office) recognize ‘our title’…!
    At the end, we should not ‘wrestle’ with them since they are the AHJ (AUTHORITY HAVING JURISDICTION) am I right????

  3. May 8, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Dear Fernando:

    Thanks gain for blogging at ViequesLaw.com.

    You do not have to wrestle with them to protect your rights. What you need to do is: (1) understand which are your rights, which depend on the trajectory of your land and of the previous owners and your actions while in possession in light of applicable law; and (2) proceed in a manner in which you protect your rights while not accidentally giving them away.

    It is a delicate situation, but is also easier to handle with the right information at hand. The more you know the better you will be.

    Truly yours,

    Santiago F. Lampón

  4. May 19, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    Mr. Lampon,

    I have read your website and it is indeed very informative. I have a question with regards to my parents who are living in Vieques Puerto Rico (Monte Santo). My mom and dad moved to Vieques four years ago and they are living in my grandparents home where my mom was the inheriter. They registered the home, paid all the fees, and did everything according to Vieques law . My concern is that they have not received any title, deed, or document to state that the process is complete. When my father calls the office to inquire on the title, he receives the same response “this process takes years to accomplish.” I am not sure exactly what the procedure is to receive the document (if any). My mom has copies of all of the materials she submitted as well as copies of the payments they made for the process to be complete.

    Anything you can tell me would be greatly appreciated.


    Wanda Vasquez

  5. May 20, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Dear Wanda:

    Thank you for your comment!

    Some properties in Monte Santo are already registered with the Property Registry under the name of individuals like your parents. Others are not. From your post I think you are referring to the later.

    I disagree with the statement about theprocess taking years. It is mostly a matter of contacting the right individual and reach with him/her the appropriate level of agreement, and understanding completly what is needed in order to complete the process. In this regards, the individual who is following up on behalf of your parents must be aware of this and that it is a matter of communicating the right information in the right way.

    I hope this helps. If you need more information, please contact me at 787-273-6767.

    Warm regards,

    Santiago F. Lampón

  6. June 8, 2013 at 12:45 am

    It’s really a great and useful piece of info. I’m happy that you simply shared this
    helpful information with us. Please keep us up to
    date like this. Thanks for sharing.

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