Hi guys !

I would like to comment about official land use (uso de suelo oficial) and its importance.

If you are considering to buy a property, asking the current owner for this document, from the local municipality, could save you time and money.

After checking a land, a farm, a house, a building, you could do quick numbers to make your decision. Maybe you could ask your lawyer about any legal detail involved. Then, you could buy it, but you could also get something you didn´t expect.

According to different regulations, there are lands where you are not allowed to build or, if a building is there already, you are not allowed to build an extension or to rebuild the whole thing because the land is in a forbidden zone.

Some of them are protection areas for forests, rivers, creeks, beaches, wells, etc. They could affect part of the property or the entire land.

Let´s see a prior case I dealed with. A client asked me to design and build a new house for him. His father took part of his own property, where the father´s house is, to separate a new lot for his son. The street, close to San Isidro de Heredia, is a well known neighborhood (Calle Chaves); there are many houses built in the area and even some other are still being finished now. My client grew up there and he expected no problems for his project.

Before doing the job, I recommended my client to ask for the land use about his lot, because of the situation I explained, and because it is a requirement for the building permits, anyway. After asking, the municipality in charge doesn´t allow him to follow the procedure for permits because the land use says that the lot is affected by a well´s protection area according to SENARA (the governmental office in charge of underground waters).

Obviously, something was wrong, because the municipality authorized permits for other buildings recently, but the problem was for my client, because he must fight to demand permits for his house due to Muni allowed to build those houses pretty close to his spot.

Other very common case is lots in agriculture areas. Probably you would be allowed to build a 10% of the land size in just one building, but probably you bought that land expecting to build more, or several buildings in the same farm.

So, the land use would show limitations for building or using the place. I strongly suggest to pay attention to this detail before deciding anything about buying a property.

Hasta pronto. 

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