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Precautions for buying Costa Rica Beach Front Property

Precautions for buying Costa Rica Beach Front PropertyCosta Rica beachfront property has certain restrictions that you should know about before you purchase because it is located in the Maritime Zone or ZMT.

When buying Costa Rica beachfront property, you should ask our affiliate beach real estate agents. Second, you should use any of the closing attorneys our affiliated real estate agents recommend.

But the following blog is hopefully useful so before you purchase Costa Rica beachfront property in the Costa Rica Maritime Zone, you will be more knowledgeable than you were before, which will help you in your due diligence.

Costa Rica beachfront property in the Maritime Zone of Costa Rica has certain restrictions that you should know about and we also want to tell you about the precautions you should take before purchasing land in the Maritime Zone.

A canon

Although local governments will collect a land use tax known as a canon from occupants of land located in the maritime zone it does not mean that a concession has been granted.

As such, the payment of a canon is simply a recognition of the right to possession. This, in turn, doesn’t give you any rights to build on that land. Learn more about this here.

Precautions for buying Costa Rica Beach Front Property

No granting of concessions

Concessions for maritime zone beach property in Costa Rica cannot be granted to:

  • Foreigners who have not been residents for at least five years
  • Companies with bearer shares
  • Foreign companies based abroad
  • A company set up in Costa Rica exclusively for foreigners.
  • A company with more than fifty percent foreign capital (ZM Art. 47)

Concessions can be forfeited

Concessions on a maritime zone beach property in Costa Rica can be forfeited for the following reasons:

  • Failure to apply for an extension of a concession in a timely manner
  • The forfeiture of rights by the interested parties
  • The death or legal absence of the concession holder with no heir
  • Not abiding by the established obligations of Article 51
  • Cancellation of the concession (ZM Art. 52)

Precautions for buying Costa Rica Beach Front Property

Cancelation of a concession

The ICT (Costa Rica Bureau for Tourism) can cancel a concession on maritime zone Costa Rica beachfront property for

  • Nonpayment of the yearly canon or royalty
  • Breach of contract (e.g. use of the land for purposes other than those expressly stated by ICT)
  • Violation of the ordinances of the law that grants the concession
  • Impediment of the use of the public right of way
  • Other causes that this law establishes (ZM Art. 53)

All in all, an investment in Costa Rica beachfront property regulated by the Maritime Zoning Law requires extra caution and thorough investigation. The reality is that ambiguities exist within the written law, so that as regulations are created and amended, rights to property may also change.

There are no guarantees and there is no foolproof way around the law. Even if you get a concession, there are no guarantees that the concessions will be renewed or that the price of the concession or the yearly canon will be within reason.

Accept the risks

The fact remains that you are not purchasing a beachfront real estate, you are leasing it. When you buy, you must be willing to accept that risk. Also, see information about squatters in Costa Rica.  Because in certain cases a foreigner has made it through the concession process only to lose all or a portion of the property later to squatters.

Due diligence

Make sure your closing attorney does your due diligence:

  • examines the Municipality Records,
  • verifies the seller’s ownership status,
  • and also verifies general tax and leasing records.

Keep in mind that if you are opening a business on the beach, it may be worthwhile for you to have a concession. Then you want to make sure the local government will allow you to have the business within the maritime zoning.

Looking to purchase Costa Rica beachfront property like a beach home or beachfront commercial real estate? We advise you to purchase titled land outside of the Maritime Zone. Or contact our affiliated real estate agent in the area you are looking to buy.


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Ivo Henfling

Ivo Henfling started the American European Real Estate Network Costa Rica in 1996 and has grown it into the largest Costa Rica MLS with thousands of up to date property listings for sale and for rent. Ivo has written hundreds of articles about real estate and living in Costa Rica for The Tico Times and other online informational sites.

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