Are foreigners allowed to purchase and own property?
Foreigners are allowed to purchase and own property 100% with the exception of beachfront property which I will explain next. Here iin Costa Rica, foreigners have the same property rights as Costa Ricans.
Can Foreigners own beachfront property?
Costa Rica’s beachfront property is concessioned property which means it is not allowed to be privately owned because the government has ruled it public. You never have 100% ownership rights when purchasing concessioned property because you are “leasing” it from the government and this falls under maritime zone law.
The first 50 meters at high-tide and then the next 150 meters of land are considered concessioned. Buying concessioned property is not out of the question but when you do purchase it, you are agreeing to that the government is allowed to seize the concessioned at any time it would like. It is important that your attorney advise you of your rights because there are different zoning terms.
Land use rights can range anywhere from 5-40 years. Purchasing beachfront is actually leasing property from the government and when your lease is up, you will need to reapply to continue this lease with the government. It is not 100% guaranteed your lease will be renewed and all can be lost.
What is the Folio Real Number?
The Folio Real is the number that is associated with your property which is in the Public Registry's computer system. This number identifies and distinguishes it from other properties in Costa Rica. There are three parts to each registered property. The first number indicates which province the property is located in; the second group of six numbers is the property's main number and the third number how many owners the property has had (ie. 5-246135-000). If your property does not have a Folio Real number, it is not a clean title.
The Folio Real system is centralized in theoffices of the Public Registery (see below). During the due diligence conducted by your lawyer, he/she will perform a title search which will show all the information on the property which includes the area, ownership, boundaries, location, mortgages and if there are any liens against the property.
What is the Plano Catastro / Survey Plan - Cadastral?
The Cadastral Office holds the property surveys in Costa Rica and these Plano's can also can be found at the Registro Nacional (Public Registery) and at the municipality where the property is located. The Plano Catastro is also known as the survey plan, is the recorded / titled property. The Plano is a detailed survey of the property boundaries,, Folio Real number, size, ownership, and the date it was registered.
Can I Check on my Property in the National Registry?
At any time you would like to check your property, you can access the National Registry http://www.rnpdigital.com/index.htm. The Public Registery of Properities is the Costa Rican goverment which compiles all the property deeds, as well as proetecting the rights of the legal prperty owners.
When you go to the Registro Naciional you can right click on your mouse and translate to English.
- Select Sistema de Certificaciones y Consultas Gratuitas (does not translate) – Left side, middle of the page.
- First time uses will need to Register -Registrase por Prmera Vez- , left side of page. Once you have completed the registration, you will receive an email, follow the link and create your user email/password on the left side under Ingreso para Usuarios Registrados.
- Select Consultas Gratiutas
- There will be a list of Consultas for Beienes Immuebles (Real Estate).
- Select Consulta por Numera de Finca to obtain a certified property. You will need to enter the number of the Province Provincia which is the first number of the Folio Real number on the plano catastro, the folio number of the property, middle numbers of the Folio Real number on the plan) and the number of the property right “derecho” which is the last 3 digits of the Folio Real Number.
- Click Consultar consult and the certificate with the property information will be located.