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Right of Possession

An iguana taking some sun.
Now that we know the first 50 meters from the high tide line is deemed public land, what about the other 150 meters? Well, as aforementioned, about 5% of the coastal land available is titled but the rest falls under the category of "Right of Possession" land. The government ultimately "owns" this next 150 meters, too, but is willing to authorize and transfer in favor of the interested party the temporal and, or "renovaval" (in Spanish) rights to possess it. Terms of "Possession" aren't set in stone and terms can range from 5 years to 30 years depending on the location of the land.

Bright country home near Volcan Poas.
Once you are appointed as the beneficiary of the "Right of Possession" it is yours to keep or to sell. Most originally owned "Possession" land has been purchased and you will most often be dealing with an individual, not the Government, when purchasing this land. If you purchase "Right of Possession" land, you are forced to abide and continue with the terms of the original "Possession". Assuming you follow and obey all the terms of the "Possession" agreement, your "Possession" will automatically renew itself upon its expiration. It is possible to renew or exchange your possession for different terms but the process is very lengthy, somewhat costly and requires the assistance of an attorney whose specializes in Realty.

Concession Land

Costa Rican Banana plant.
So, now you own the most incredible Beach Front property you could ever dream of and it's "Possession" land... Now what? Is it time to build your dream home? Maybe, put in a small restaurant and bar with a few cabinas? Perhaps, you can finally put in the quaint little Bed and Breakfast with the pool? Well, the first thing you have to do is decide what you want to do with the land. Let's, for example, say you're building your dream Bed and Breakfast. Some "Concession" types are "Hotel", "Restaurant/Bar", "Personal Home", etc. The next step would be to start applying for your "Concession".

Contraloria Building seen from La Sabana.
The Government still owns your land and you have purchased the "Right of Possession", so, now you need to let the government know what you intend to do with this little piece of Heaven. We're building a B&B. First, we need to hire the architects and topographers to accurately plot the land and design the structure to every detail (don't forget the pool). Once this is completed we can submit the drawing and plans, with the assistance of our attorney, of course, to the Government telling them "This is our plan"! We are applying for "Concession". Due to the recent BOOM of Real Estate here in Costa Rica, the office of Concession is a bit behind. There are horror stories that people have been delayed up to three years in attaining their Concession (and, legally, you're not allowed to build much more than a simple structure for inhabitance without the concession). However, with a good attorney, we've found that most concessions can be granted, hopefully, within a year.

A peacock checking out the camera.
Also, what happens if you buy land that ALREADY has its "Concession" but it's a "Concession" you don't like or want? We suggest that you not move or change anything until you have applied for either a change or an alteration in the 'Concession". You will have to start the process anew, so it is always nice if you find land that has a "Concession" similar to your desires.



*Too, especially in the Nicoya Peninsula, there are some cases of granted approval for building, by the Government, but in "Right of Possession "land without a "Concession" ever being granted by the Government. This was a minor glitch and the Government is working frantically to issue "Concessions" for all of these properties. So, don't be alarmed if you run across one of these. Simply have your attorney look into them.


Read more:

- Introduction
- Corporation
- Back Ground Search
- Zones
- Maritime Zone
- Right of Possession
- Concession Land
- Environmental
- Taxes and Fees
- Synopsis

- Download information (PDF)