Home > Bravos de Boston, vieques, What is "untitled" property? > Bravos de Boston Titles in Vieques, Puerto Rico – Restriction to Sales and Penalties

Bravos de Boston Titles in Vieques, Puerto Rico – Restriction to Sales and Penalties

December 6, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

On December 2 and 3 of 2010, the Municipality fo Vieques held two meetings for property owners of the Santa María and Bravos de Boston sectors in Vieques.  This post includes the essence of the information presented at these meetings.

I first present a brief background.

The individual properties on these sectors are mostly not recorded at the Puerto Rico Property Registry.  Accordingly, certain deeds were executed whereby individuals were recognized as the title holders for these properties.  Under regulations which existed at the time, the deeds contain certain clauses which mandate that the title holders cannot sell or transfer their properties within a period of 5 years, noting that some deeds contain a longer period of 15 years.  If the title holder wants to sell the property within the restrictive period stated in the deed, the person would have to notify the Municipality and pay a penalty as a condition precedent to the transaction.  Moreover, I am aware of at least one instance in which a mortgage company concluded that such a penalty had to be paid as a condition precedent to issuing the mortgage.  I am also aware of another instance in which such a requirement was not demanded, and the mortgage was approved and disbursed notwithstanding the restriction.

At the meetings held yesterday and today, the Municipality announced that beginning on January of 2011, it would not enforce such restrictions and will not be demanding payment of the penalties as a condition to sales, transfers, mortgages or the like.  Accordingly, title holders will be free to transfer or mortgage their properties without having to request a waiver or authorization from the Municipality.

The Municipality also announced at the meetings, that it will start to perform certain tasks conducive to granting titles in the future, including the engagement of a surveyor and an appraiser, as conditions precedent to entering into a title recognition process.  Perhaps it is too early for the Municipality to disclose the conditions under which it will be granting the recognitions of titles.

There are a couple of items I want you to have in mind on this subject.

First, Villa Borinquen or other sectors of Vieques were not mentioned at the meetings.

Additionally, there are certain “procedures” the Municipality will most likely have to execute and comply with to bring these concessions to fruition.  Since the sales restrictions and penalties were established through regulations, the Municipal Assembly will have to (or must have) approved a regulation consistent with the concessions being announced.  Another regulation will be required for the title process, which means that I expect the Administration to be working on those as well.

Once we ascertain that the regulations come into effect, I will notify you through this blog.

As a final note, please remember that you are invited to post comments or questions.  I will promptly rely to them, if needed, to the best of my abilities and subject to the legal notices/disclosures applicable for this blog.  Also, remember that you may share this article through Facebook or Twitter, and that you are invited to forward the article as you deem best.

  1. Jeff Nicolai
    December 24, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Thank you for the update,
    Do you know when we will be notified on how and when the process will begin? Such as paper work and cost if any. What we will need in general. We applied for title a few years ago but haven’t thought much about until now. Excited about the possibilities.
    Jeff Nicolai

    • January 12, 2011 at 11:20 am

      Thank you for writing. Please read my comment today on this subject. New regulations would have to be approved and a new process would have to be initiated by the current administration. We are all waiting for this.


      Santiago F. Lampón

  2. Christian Soldier
    January 12, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Dear Santiago,
    Happy New Year and thanks for the essays. Keep up the good work; we enjoy them and appreciate your efforts.

    I wish to offer 2 questions that have come up in the course of general property discussions, for your consideration. These questions are not related specifically to your article, but we, and probably many other folks here in Vieques, would appreciate hearing any comments you care to make related to these issues:

    1. Party A owns a solar which is fenced all around, the fencing located corresponding exactly with the plat. Party B, adjoining property owner, builds an addition onto his house that actually touches the fence of Party A. What is the PR law concerning ser-backs required as they apply here in Vieques? How close can one legally build to a boundary? And what remedy could Party A pursue in the case above?

    2. If the Police enter my property without my permission, and without a Warrant, I can demand that they leave because they are “trespassing.” However, I have heard several stories here in Vieques about a car full of “inspectors” from either the municipality and/or ARPE or both (always unclear!) rolling onto someone’s property without any reason, and proceeding to walk all over the property taking photos, threatening fines & penalties of various nature, and just generally being abusive and authoritarian. Is this legal in PR? If so, we are the proud owners of a totalitarian regime here, with various agency employees able to trespass at will onto, over, around and through our private properties. 3rd-world indeed! If this kind of behavior is not legal, what kind legal justifications do permit government “officials” to enter private property, and what recourse do we property owners have if we are illegally invaded?

    Any insights you care to share with us about these important and common situations will be gratefully appreciated by all Vieques property owners.

    Thanks again, and all the best!


    • January 13, 2011 at 4:23 pm

      Dear Christian:

      Thank you very much!

      They are both very good questions which I will use to write a couple of articles, or perhaps more, on these subjects. Nevertheless, here are some quick answers and comments.

      Yes, there are rules about the distance of constructions in connection to the property lines. Generally speaking, constructions “right up to the line” are seen as illegal, but there are exceptions too broad to discuss here. With this in mind, there is one thing you can do to immediately understand if this construction you may be referring to is legal or not: does the neighbor has construction permit? The mere absence of a permit makes the construction ilegal perse, but it does not mean that he/she is without remedy to make things right.

      On the property/privacy issue, I have to say “no way Jose” to that.

      The Electric Power Authority may enter if there is a servitude and for an emergeny, and also the Water Company, again for an emergency. No doubt that if the Police is following a fugitive or suspect, they may also pursue such an individual or enter if they have motive to understand that a crime is in progress withn the property. A fireman for sure if he or she believes there is a fire.

      Others? They need to request and obtain permission to enter and, generally speaking, do not have the power to invade your property. If they request access and it is denied, they need to go to Court.

      I once was at my house and suddenly heard a noise in my backyard. I was a law student at the time and had read the case about the emergencies and right to access. As I walked into my backyard, a big electric power authority truck was there. When I inquired about the entering into my property, the fellow immediately used what he believed was the magic word or password: “is an emergency.” I then explained to him that I was aware of the case, that I understood there role with regards to service, but that the door to my house was not far away from the backyard and that a mere courtesy call would have been welcomed. I also impinged upon him that the word “emergency” has a very specific definition and invited him to, please, just be kind next time around. This guy got it and was kind enough to apologize.

      To me, when an officer or representative of the government uses threats to try and justify his or her actions, it is an automatic indication that something is clearly wrong. I respect the tough jobs many public officers or representatives have.

      It is hard to generalize in a post like this when someone may or may not have the right to enter private property for an “emergency”, but there is no way that lack of civility can be justified or even recognized under the law.


      Santiago F. Lampón

  3. Christian Soldier
    January 15, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Estimado Lcdo,
    Thanks very much for your response; I, and certainly many other readers, look forward to being further enlightened by your related articles of the future. Please indulge a couple of follow-on comments:

    Re. legal set-back from boundaries: looking forward to some clarification in your future article if possible. We hear, for example, that no permit of any kind is required in Vieques for a structure smaller than 20 X 20, (true or not?); and one supposes that a building permit would not be granted for a building proposed to touch an adjoining property boundary…in an administratively perfect world. On the other hand, offenders hardly ever freely supply the details of their permits or lack of same to offended neighbors! So one thirsts for knowledge of the details of the Rules prior to going to court. If you can discuss some of these details and the exceptions at length later, it will be most appreciated.

    Re. the issue of property rights and uninvited ARPE/municipality “officials” — of course no right-thinking citizen would want to restrain any public service type company/agency from resolving a bona fide “emergency” existing on or near one’s property, with or without basic social graces.
    A specific concern of Vieques property owners, however, is whether or not we can be invaded, threatened, and harrassed by ARPE and/or municipal employees on our property without our permission or consent. I think you have clarified that question without any “wiggle room” and I hope the ARPE/municipal employees reading your website will take heed or understand they will see us in Court!

    Thanks again for your generous expenditure of time and energy on behalf of Vieques property owners!

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