New Lawyer Makes Waves
Lic. Eloisa Monroy is a young lawyer from Mexico City who has only been in Puerto for two years, but like many newcomers she has already made a difference. Besides teaching law at REU, she has found herself involved in real estate cases which some more seasoned attorneys might prefer not to touch. For example, a case where some condominium owners believe they were overcharged by the condominium association. It appears that the association, which is legally registered as a non-profit organization, was in fact making quite a profit.
I knew Eloisa because of her work with community organizations including Bazar Punta Zicatela. So I recommended her to an American who seemed on the verge of losing the house he was building in the Punta. Like many foreigners who come to the Punta de Zicatela, he was overwhelmed by its beauty and by new friends eager to help him achieve his dream of building a house here. This man, who did not know a word of Spanish, received “help” from a woman who claimed to be a lawyer, but who wasn’t. Long story short, the man discovered that his property had been put into a corporation with his name (John Doe; S.A.) in which he was not a partner but his “friend” was. Even worse, his dear, lawyer friend was the administrator of the corporation.
At this point, the American was so distraught that he was ready to pack up and leave, poorer but wiser. Eloisa, however, got him to calm down. Working with the Bienes Comunales, in just two weeks she was able to get the acta de posesión, which had been put in the name of the fraudulent corporation, nullified and a new acta issued in its place.
Stories of people losing money on real estate deals in the Punta are hardly news. What is news is when a naïve buyer who was willing to give up actually gets to keep his property. But the real moral of the story is: be very, very careful when investing in real estate here.
Note: By law, communal land, which includes much of the land in Puerto Escondido, can not be purchased only transferred. Instead of a deed (escritura), an acta de posesión is issued by the land office (Bienes Comunales). You can contact Eloisa at email@example.com