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Puerto Rico Real Estate Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: Is family responsible for deceased father's empty house, in Puerto Rico, when there's is no will? We don't want house.
Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on May 26, 2022

Your deceased father's heirs certainly would be responsible for upkeeping and maintaining his house, as well as paying outstanding property taxes, assuming that they accept his estate in inheritance. Under the Puerto Rico Rule of Law, the estate of a deceased person is made up of his/her... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: Can I claim a rights to property next to mine that I have been paying taxes since 2011?

I paid to have it segregated because it belongs to my dad and uncle. We have our part now but next door my uncle has not paid the taxes since 2011 so the state did not take it, I have been paying on it. There is no house on this land. Can I apply for ownership of it?

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on May 26, 2022

The process by which you could acquire ownership of someone else's real estate property in your possession is usucaption. Article 788 of the Puerto Rico Civil Code states that you must be in possession of said property for 10 consecutive years, if you have possession in just title and good... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Landlord - Tenant and Small Claims for Puerto Rico on
Q: Rented my home in San Juan PR and the tenant never lived at the home .Lives in Phil. How do I file eviction notice?

Rented my home. Tenant hasn't paid March - May rent and does not live at the place. How do I file an eviction for someone who doesn't live at residence but lives in Philadelphia

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on May 18, 2022

I'm assuming that the eviction is being made by way of Public Law 86 of 2011 before a Court of Law in Puerto Rico. In that event, a dunning letter should be mailed to the lessee by certified mail to his/her last known address (if Philadelphia address is known, mail to said address). If no... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: My sister and I inherited a home from my dad. I want to sell it but she doesn’t. Can she be forced to sell or buy me out
Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on May 9, 2022

Under the Puerto Rico Civil Code, no co-owner is forced to remain in community. If your sibling does not want to sell the property, she can buy you out. If she does not have the resources to buy you out, you can go before a Puerto Rico court of law and request liquidation of your dad's estate.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Puerto Rico on
Q: Can I still claim an inherited property after 11 years?

My grandmother passed in 2011 leaving me her house in PR. For many years a cousin, who was the care taker of the house lied and claimed the house had been sold. I recently found out the house and my grandmothers belongings are still standing and have merely been abandoned. Can I still claim this... Read more »

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Apr 13, 2022

So long as the house is still in your grandmother's estate and you have proof of your hereditary claim, you can still claim the property. I'd advise procuring a title study of the property to confirm that it is still in your grandmother's name. Certificates of value and debt must... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Puerto Rico on
Q: I purchased a land, now I'm being told I need to pull permits to use it. Wha nativet rights do I have ?
Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Apr 11, 2022

To answer your question, owning the property in fee simple does allow you to enjoy the property and/or cede, donate, or sell it. Nevertheless, if you wish to develop it, either for personal use or for commercial purposes, the facilities you wish to build may require utilities and other facilities,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Puerto Rico on
Q: My landlord is selling my rental home, can new owner come in and remove my personal property? How long do I have to go?

Landlord sent text: Buenos dias. Para informarle que la casa fue opcionada y el comprador debe cerrer el préstamo a fin de este mes. Le informo para que haga los arreglos pertinentes. Me gustaria que confirme que recibio este mensaje. Gracias .

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Apr 8, 2022

I have no knowledge of the case you're referring to. If your message is destined for a specific attorney, you should email him or her directly.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Environmental and Land Use & Zoning for Puerto Rico on
Q: My neighbor is doing major earthwork and excavation on my property without permits nor my permission. What do I do?

My neighbor is doing major earth work on his property for new construction. He excavated a natural drain and installed 32" subterranean pipes, roughly 100' of these pipes are on my property. He has also knocked down a coconut palm tree located on my property. He also excavated a bank... Read more »

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Mar 31, 2022

The quickest way would be for you should request an immediate "cease and desist" order from the Municipal Court of the town where your property is located, and request the courts to deliver the order to your neighbor. The Petition should be accompanied y evidence of your title ownership... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: My father and his sister own a small piece of land/ home in Puerto Rico they want to sell before they pass away

The property currently is completely up to date, no taxes owed and the paperwork to the land was finalized and corrected through the courts in Dec 2021. My question is, someone wants to purchase the home/land in cash and we are not sure what to do. My dad's family in PR is saying that the... Read more »

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Mar 30, 2022

Having a buyer with the cash to purchase the property is common. Nevertheless, your question fails to mention the proposed purchase price. First, I would advise your father and aunt to have the property appraised by a professional appraiser in Puerto Rico. The appraiser's report will give them... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: To register property in Rincon Puerto Rico , must you notify your surrounding neighbors with register letters?
Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Mar 28, 2022

Your question is too ambiguous for a straight answer. If you wish to request a domain file ("expediente de dominio") before the Puerto Rico courts over a property not currently registered in the public registry, part of the process requires you to procure sworn statements from your... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Tax Law and Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: Does one have to pay federal taxes on the sale of land or property in PR? Specifically on inherited property?

CRIM tells me that the only name on their listing is my father’s therefore my sisters and I are the only heirs. Someone wants to buy the property ( cash sale), according to them once we have the declaration of heirs the property is transferred and there are no closing cost or taxes to be pay on... Read more »

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Mar 21, 2022

What you say is not entirely correct.

As a rule, there is no inheritance tax applied. Once the declaration of heirs has been issued by the Puerto Rico courts, you need to procure a certification of value and a certification of debt from CRIM. With these certifications and a copy of the...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Civil Litigation and Estate Planning for Puerto Rico on
Q: I thank you in advance for your time.This is regarding a home in Puerto Rico which my parents left to five siblings.

Outside of issuing an addiction notice , We have been in litigation for the last six years the 4 siblings have incurred legal and court fees that’s been a financial burden! Does PR Law support a civil case to recoup financial loses towards the sibling that refuse the sale of the home.

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Mar 21, 2022

To answer your question, I'd need to know what sort of litigation has been going on between you and your siblings. Upon the passing of parents who may or may not have granted their last will and testament, Puerto Rico Rule of Law provides heirs the chance to arrive at some form of agreement... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: As of the new law that has passed 2022 tax withholding in PR when a prop is sold 4out5 siblings Out-of-state

We have a buyer put in an offer we’re in the process of contract one of the contingencies on the contract is that the BUYER would withhold the funds for the tax withholding.

my question is could the contingency be redirected and not have the buyer take that position? Could it be... Read more »

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Mar 21, 2022

The Puerto Rico Treasury Code requires that the 15% retention of amounts due to a Seller living outside Puerto Rico be retained at the point of origin by either the bank financing the sale or the notary authorizing the sales deed. Failure to execute this mandatory retention would cause the Treasury... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: My mom passed on 12/11/21 in Massachusetts and married. Dad and Mom own house in PR, are the kids entitled to anything?

My mother and father were legally married at the time of my mother's passing. They own a home in PR but both have children from previous marriages. What are my mother's children entitled to? Can we ask that her husband pay us her half of the home's value if he is unwilling to sell the home?

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Mar 17, 2022

Pursuant to Puerto Rico’s Civil Code, all of your late mother’s children have an hereditary interest in her entire estate.

Assuming that your parents did not have a prenup in place during their marriage, their house in Puerto Rico was jointly owned by both under a legal joint community...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: My dad left me a property stated on the will in p.r. And my stepmom the house free disposition. Do I have rights to it?
Ramon  Olivencia
Ramon Olivencia
answered on Mar 6, 2022

It´s impossible to give you a straight answer without looking at the will. It will also depend on when he passed away, assuming he did already. You should consult with a probate or inheritance attorney.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: I live in Maryland, I have a house in PR I wish to donate to my Niece in PR. No lien, taxes paid. How do I do it?

The house is paid off. All taxes up to date to CRIM. Do I need to travel to PR to do the transfer?

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Mar 4, 2022

You may donate the real estate property by subscribing a deed. You may do so from the states, in which case, the original subscribed poll deed would need to be protocolized in Puerto Rico. Under this scenario, your niece would need to grant a donation acceptance poll deed.

In the...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: Hi there, How can i acquire a title for my deceased mothers house in PR?

My mother passed away 6 months ago but always made clear before she passed that the house was to belong to my brother and I after she was deceased. However, because of thw laws in PR when she signed for the house my father had to come from the states to sign off as well. Apparently in PR, if you... Read more »

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Feb 21, 2022

Under the Puerto Rico Civil Code, if the house was acquired while your parents were married with no prenup, the house actually belonged to the joint conjugal partnership ("sociedad legal de gananciales") formed by your father and mother, which is a legal entity separate from either... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: My mother was living in PR but died in the states. I'm trying to buy the house but my dad wont sell for appraisal price.

I'm in the process of buying the house but we need to make a sales contract but my father wants to sell the house for more than what it appraised. My siblines from my moms side resigned from moms inheritance but I did not. Mom also died in the states in 2017 due to health reasons and she was... Read more »

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Feb 14, 2022

Your mother died under the old Puerto Rico Civil Code of 1930. I'm assuming that the house you speak of was the marital house in which you dad and your mom lived. Should that be the case, your dad is probably 50% co-owner of said property; and the other 50% would belong to your mother's... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: For someone to purchase land in Puerto Rico , must a property survey take place before the closing ?
Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Feb 14, 2022

The answer to your question depends on several factors. For example, if the buyer requires to take out a mortgage to purchase the property, the financing institution will require a recent property survey to have a clearer understanding of the property's value. Even if the buyer has the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Puerto Rico on
Q: My Inlaws do not have a Will and wish to leave the home to one child. Can a Will serve the purpose?

There are 3 living children.

Rafael  Pagan-Colon
Rafael Pagan-Colon
answered on Feb 4, 2022

I'm assuming that your in-laws live in Puerto Rico; else, I cannot help you. You tell me that your in-laws have three offspring. For the sake of discussion, I'm assuming that none are minors nor incapacitated. The Puerto Rico Civil Code establishes that -absent a will- all three have... Read more »

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