20% of Dominican Republic’s land still has no titles

DominicanToday.com - Around 20% of Dominican Republic’s land still has no titles and is in the hands of individuals, according to National Titles Registry director Wilson Gomez. “Here there’s a huge number of apartments built by the Government for 30 or 40 years which have yet to be titled.”

The official however affirms that the Dominican Real Estate Jurisdiction has advanced since 1997, when an organization and cleanup process began, supported by a US$32 million Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) loan and RD$8 million in government matching funds.

Gomez said the jurisdiction is undergoing a second stage of reinforcement with an investment of US$10 million. “This has involved not only the physical improvement, with equipment and technology, but also the training of the personnel.”

He said the system is a constant struggle which in addition to training, the employees must provide “opportune and efficient” service to citizens with the idea that the Jurisdiction “not only protects the legal security, but must also expedite the dispatch of operations.”

More than 240 Titles Registry employees work two shifts to organize the physical files on real estate property and another team handles the digitalization of the information to facilitate consultations.

The physical files are preserved in a high security facility separate from the building that lodges the Land Jurisdiction in the downtown sector Centro de los Heroes.

“What was here before were many rats and much dirt” Gomez affirms, noting that it’s one of the main sources of government revenue, with RD$8.0 billion collected last year through the 3% from transferences, which include sales, exchanges, donations and properties which changed hands in kind.

“People can undervalue their properties, but the Internal Taxes Agency conducts its evaluation and that’s what’s used to pay the taxes,” he says.

“In the first term of president Leonel Fernandez (1996-2000) we took the initiative when a penthouse in the Bella Vista sector, which was sold for 70,000 pesos and we went there (to Internal Taxes) and raised that we couldn’t sign that because we would appear as accomplices and the proprietors had to pay.”

As to property title security Gomez said since 1997 the preparation of formats began in England and are now done in the United States.

“From that time a forged certificate hasn’t been done,” he says, although he acknowledges that the criminals are always looking for formulas to cheat.

He blames most land litigation around the country to the abandonment which the Jurisdiction was subjected to for years, which he said was serious and is confident that its cleanup will continue.

NOTE FROM DOMINICAN WATCHDOG:

Don't buy land in the Dominican Republic which has not got a title, don't pay any money upfront to any real estate agent or seller, but use Stewart Title Guarantee Services. Read more in our Property Guide.

 

Go back | Date: 02 Nov 2009
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