Edison, NJ asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico

Q: I bought some land in Penulas and there are 2 houses that were built illegally on the property prior to my purchase.

After the purchase, the property lines revealed that these homes were in fact on my property. What can I do to remove them, what rights do I have, and what are their rights?

1 Lawyer Answer
Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
  • Real Estate Law Lawyer
  • San Juan, PR
  • Licensed in Puerto Rico

A: The rule of law in Puerto Rico grants you a full year after your purchase of the real estate property, to request the courts to evict the people who have invaded your property. Also, the seller may be responsible for clearing the property out before the sale. You may need to bring him/her/they into the lawsuit.

The courts may assess one of several ways to go. If the structures are not solid concrete (i.e., wood and zinc), they may order these to be torn down. If the structures were built part on your land and part on theirs, the Court may consider ordering them to tear that part of the structure that abuts or invades your land. If no removal is possible without damaging the structure, the Courts may consider ordering them to either abandon that part of their property to your benefit; or applying a figure called "reverse accession", whereby that chunk of land where the invaders constructed could be assigned to them in exchange for some form of compensation to you, but only if part of the structure is also located on their land.

If you have not done so yet, I would recommend you to retain a surveyor to check the property lines as per the Public Registry; and determine whether the people who've invaded your land are owners of the adjoining real estate properties; before deciding to go to court.

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