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sammi

squattersin costarica

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What are the laws as far as owning a house and not being there at all times? Or in the progress of making the move? Sammi

 

 

It is always in the best interest of a property owner to have someone watching the property in their absence. That can be a friend, a management company, or someone employed for that purpose. Squatters would likely be the least of your worries compared to vandalism or theft for the area you are going, IMHO, and possibly no more a threat than where you live currently. For your own peace of mind, take the proper precautions and have someone keep an eye on your place; check with your lawyer or real estate agent or a trusted person who can give you additional info for your area. When I am not in CR, that is what I have done and thus far it has worked out well.

 

Buena Suerte!

 

PS: I believe the answer to your question is 3 months.... If a squatter is on your property more than 3 months the process to get them off becomes much more complicated.

Edited by lvlazarus

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Make sure you have a written contract with whoever watches your place. Stories (urban legends?) say that sometimes the person you have watching your place can *become* your squatter - and you don't know about it until it is too late.

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What are the laws as far as owning a house and not being there at all times? Or in the progress of making the move? Sammi

Squatting problems vary by location, in general. Some locations are less likely to have squatting and others are more likely. I saw a squatting problem on the beach south of Quepos where a family moved in, built a shack and began living on an American's land in his absence. When some other Americans tried to get them off, they refused. Finally someone came with a gun and threatened to burn them out. They left. That was 12 years ago. I don't know if it's gotten better since then but I've heard that the laws have changed some to make it harder for squatters, easier for landowners.

 

That said, the bottom line is, no matter where you live you should have someone check your land/home regularly, walk the land at least ever few months to insure there are no squatters or thieves stealing stuff.

 

I had a nice new wire FENCE stolen from my land. Not sure who did it but it shows that even in a good area, there are thieves.

 

The bottom line is you have to have someone you really TRUST to walk your land every couple of months, at minimum and it would be best to even have two people who don't know each other, that way one can check up on the other.

 

And like someone else said, anyone who watches your land or works on your land or keeps cattle on your land, etc. etc. should be made to sign a contract stating that they must get off whenever you say they must and that they have no rights of any kind to your land. This doesn't have to be an attorney-written contract, as long as it's in more or less correct spanish and they sign it. My attorney said the courts are very lenient with accepting person-to-person contracts - they don't need to be written in legalese and such. He encouraged me to write my own and that's what I did.

 

What we did was hire a caretaker that was recommended to us by the former owner and we pay him just 750 colones an hour, 4 hours a week to look after our land. Occassionally we pay him extra for extra services like chopping weeds over the whole parcel of land. Then I have another friend go up there every so often to check on it, too.

 

No matter where your property is, it is best to have someone trustworthy to check on it for you at least once every 2 months.

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Squatting problems vary by location, in general. Some locations are less likely to have squatting and others are more likely. I saw a squatting problem on the beach south of Quepos where a family moved in, built a shack and began living on an American's land in his absence. When some other Americans tried to get them off, they refused. Finally someone came with a gun and threatened to burn them out. They left. That was 12 years ago. I don't know if it's gotten better since then but I've heard that the laws have changed some to make it harder for squatters, easier for landowners.

 

That said, the bottom line is, no matter where you live you should have someone check your land/home regularly, walk the land at least ever few months to insure there are no squatters or thieves stealing stuff.

 

I had a nice new wire FENCE stolen from my land. Not sure who did it but it shows that even in a good area, there are thieves.

 

The bottom line is you have to have someone you really TRUST to walk your land every couple of months, at minimum and it would be best to even have two people who don't know each other, that way one can check up on the other.

 

And like someone else said, anyone who watches your land or works on your land or keeps cattle on your land, etc. etc. should be made to sign a contract stating that they must get off whenever you say they must and that they have no rights of any kind to your land. This doesn't have to be an attorney-written contract, as long as it's in more or less correct spanish and they sign it. My attorney said the courts are very lenient with accepting person-to-person contracts - they don't need to be written in legalese and such. He encouraged me to write my own and that's what I did.

 

What we did was hire a caretaker that was recommended to us by the former owner and we pay him just 750 colones an hour, 4 hours a week to look after our land. Occassionally we pay him extra for extra services like chopping weeds over the whole parcel of land. Then I have another friend go up there every so often to check on it, too.

 

No matter where your property is, it is best to have someone trustworthy to check on it for you at least once every 2 months.

Thank You for your advice. Just looking to get out there. Maryann

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