What is right of possession property
This is a question we get all the time, and if you have heard of rights of possession land in Panama (ROP) you are probably wondering how “to cook and eat this”. In this post we will explain in very simple words what this is.
What is right of possession property
In Panama there are many, in fact the word many might not cover all the untitled properties out there. Right of possession refers to the rights a person has aquired over a property because of the occupation of it. The occupation covers: mantaining the property clean or pay someone to do so, build a structure or live on site, put a fence around the property and preferably have a sign saying Private Property.
Since people have different opionions about the same topic, if you go online you will find hundreds and even thousands of posts and\or comments about this subject, some will be negative and some might be positive, matter of fact most could be negative because when people have a bad experience is when feel the need to tell everyone about it. You find this even with attorneys, some of the will not do transactions of any kind if it involves ROP and many of lawyers help clients buy and sale this type of property all the time.
In our experience, we have bought ROP many times and never had any issues, not one single issue with the purchases. But, we always made sure that the seller was the actual owner of the property, in other words the person we were making the payment to indeed had possession over the land we were buying. This can be acomplished by making them privide documents that back up the possession such as certifications from local authorities, declarations from withnesses, etc, and of course we went around and asked the locals if so and so is the owner of the property.
If you are interested on ROP property, research is the key
If you asked me : what is better and or safer, ROP or titled property? we would need to see every case separately. In the particular of Puerto Armuelles, we have done lots of research, we pretty much know each area of town. if you buy rights of possession the next step for sure is to actually get a title for the property, it is very important to know where the title process has to be done, you have to be clear on the fact that some titles are more difficult to obtain than other depending of where the property is located.
Lets use 3 neighborhoods in Puerto to give you examples of where and how titles are done:
Titles in Las Palmas are done in the Municipality of Puerto, this is because the entire neighborhood is actually on titled finca owned by the city and when a titled is applied for, you are actually getting your property cut out of the mother finca. There are some steps to follow but in this post we are not going into detail about them.
Corazon de Jesus
To apply for title here, the appplication goes to Anati, this area is government land and this titles take more time to obtain, plus it is needed to do use an attorney.
In this particular part of town most properties are Right of possession over a titled property owned by a corporation controled by the Morgan & Morgan Law Firm. In order to apply for title it is needed an attorney because it is not a regular title application but a civil lawsuit. This process may take up to 2 years (could be more or less time).
If you are looking at other areas a surveyor is the best person to tell you what type of property you are dealing with and where the title will have to be applied for.
In our experience ROP is safe to buy as long as purchased from the correct owner. Even if a deal looks very good, do not give downpayments to hold the property until you or your attorney have seen docuements that back up the possession.