Tuesday, December 08, 2015

moving to Mexico -- documents for home ownership

Today was task day.

I know.  I said that about our trip to Manzanillo yesterday.  But this was a multiple task day.

Whenever I am away from the house for long periods (even though this absence was less than three weeks), small tasks seem to accrete.  I was going to say like patina.  But mold may be more apt.

I started with a list of about a dozen items; it quickly grew to 18 before the day was done.  Amazingly, Darrel and I accomplished all but two of them.

One task stood out from the others.  While I was on the road returning to Barra de Navidad from Oregon, I received an email from my realtor that was one of the best pieces of news I had received in a long time -- finally, the recorded copy of my deed was ready to pick up.

You may recall that the closing on the house with no name took place in October of 2014.  On the 15th, to be exact.  Since then, I have been waiting for word that the deed had been recorded.

It was a bit like living in sin.  I had all of the privileges and responsibilities of being a homeowner.  But I had no legal proof the place was mine.

What you see at the top of this essay is the unassuming
façade of one of the most important documents I have ever held.  And it is unlike any other deed I have owned.
One of the results of the Mexican revolution was to restrict foreign ownership of Mexican real property.  Article 27 of the 1917 Constitution provides that foreigners may not own property located less than 100 kilometers from the border or 50 kilometers from the coast. 

As a result of NAFTA, the Mexican government reinterpreted that provision to mean that a foreigner can acquire an ownership interest in property within the restricted zone through a
fideicomiso -- a bank trust.

The fideicomiso is a clever legal fiction to give the impression that foreigners do not actually acquire an ownership in restricted zone property, when they really do.  Through the trust, the bank acquires title to the property.  By the terms of the trust, the bank must allow the "owner" to use the property as he legally sees fit.  That includes the right to sell the property -- and to designate a beneficiary.

The current Mexican government attempted to amend the constitution to remove the requirement for the legal fiction of the fideicomiso.  But the legislation died in the legislative branch.  According to my sources, there is little chance it will be revived before the president's term expires.

As Joe McCarthy might say: I now hold in my hand the name of a registered homeowner in Mexico.  Me.

Now, all I need is the document that proves that the original owner has settled out the assessment owed to Mexico's social security on behalf of the workers who built this beautiful house.  The night before we drove north, she told me everything was settled.  We will see how long it takes for me to receive the document that bears out that fact.

But that will be a task for another day.

For those of you who are waiting for puppy news, I am afraid I will have nothing to tell you until later in the week.  Tomorrow I am taking the Escape to Manzanillo for some tardy periodic maintenance.

There is always another day in Mexpatriate's world.

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