Some years ago, I wrote about the importance of developing properties correctly, that is, all properties should be in compliance with the formalities established by law. As an engineer working with developing properties all over Costa Rica, I was highly aware that a potential problem concerning water sources on the Southern Area of Costa Rica was going to come under scrutiny in future years. After all, the implementation of the 1942 legislation was only a matter of time that it be applied Nationwide. Many people told me I was being dramatic, others told me “nothing was going to happen”, some told me “you know nothing” – to those who thought this problem would never need to be addressed, I want to tell them: “The wolf is here!”.
In the past, many projects in the area underwent an informal development process and now these properties are dealing with solving one of the biggest problems in our area: the legality of the availability of potable water. Irresponsible developers and attorneys, alongside with the Municipality, oftentimes skipped the legal steps of how to develop a property in a formal process, a process that would have all properties in compliance with existing law. The consequences of this neglect can be seen in the local economy. I would say construction is the second work source after tourism in Costa Rica, and truly they are very connected with each other. And so, with the Southern Zone now becoming a sought out region for property development, the architect of the Municipality of Osa is only acting in the best interest for all and in accordance with the law that has been set out many years prior. MINAET, the public entity responsible for the water control in Costa Rica, which is a National Environmental & Energy Entity, has notified the Municipality that some local projects of the area cannot obtain building permits anymore, that is unless they comply with the current law. The architect of the Municipality is very concerned about this issue and has decided not to provide more building permits unless the projects have a concession for their water source, or have the approval of a local Asada (the Water Association).
Nonetheless, all problems have solutions, and although there may be difficulty in solving existing problems, it isn’t impossible either. It will require that all entities, public and private, work together on a solution. It is the responsibility of each homeowner and developer to get involved in all meetings with professionals who understand the nature of the present issue at hand. It is my best advice to all that we do not make the same mistakes again, look for people who have extensive experience in property development IN Costa Rica. Before you decide to buy property, hire a professional with experience in development to analyze the due diligence report and get a third, unbiased and outsider, opinion. Note, that third opinion should not be one that comes from a Real Estate agency or the attorney responsible for the due diligence. Once again, an experienced property developer can help you in your final decision stages and should be consulted if you have any doubts – after all they would be the ones solving any issues for you after the purchase and will likely also be able to provide an idea of associated costs.