OCRET frequent asked questions

Following up on the OCRET invitation to the Santa Cruz neighbours to regularize their possession.

- How do I know that my land is in the OCRET area?
  Government territorial area is along the lakes 200mts back from the water shore. And it is horizontal distance not vertical

- How do I know if my land has already a contract or not?
  Before buying any land in the 200 mts you should check that the land has not a contract already requesting a certification to OCRET

- Can I lose my possession if I don't register?
  Yes you can lose it, and it happened to me, so I can speak of experience. If somebody register the possession with OCRET with you knowing it you will have to take them to court and try to prove that you had previous ownership. In my case as it was raw land the judge estimated that if OCRET had given a contract to the person claiming my land it was enough as they did what the law required and I didn't do it in proper time. Plus being a foreigner didn't help at all. Art 27. Decreto 126-97

- If I pay OCRET I shouldn't pay property taxes?
No... OCRET will ask you to pay a lease and you will still have to pay taxes on the improvements you have done on the land to the municipality you depends of.

- What are the exceptions to an OCRET contract?
If the land is registered before 1956 in the registry of the property it is not affected by OCRET as you have a proper deed.
If the land is in an urban area it won't be subjected to OCRET.

- How do I know if my land is in an urban area?
A urban area is a geographic area and a village has to have it voted by the Congress. Around the lake on the shore no villages have their urban areas properly and legally defined.

- Can I register more than one piece of land with OCRET?
No you can only have one contract with OCRET in all Guatemala so if you plan to have a piece of land let say on the Pacific Coast you will have to put it into somebody names

- Can I divide an OCRET contract?
No once the contract has been given it is very hard to subdivided it.. there is no provision on the law and to make it happen you need to deal with somebody who is experienced with this particular situation.

- What are my obligation once I have a contract?
First of all the contract stipulate clearly the purpose of the contract which can be .. residential, vacation home, tourist activity.
Second it mentioned that you have to respect all the laws related with ownership in a protected area (which is the case of Lake Atitlan)
- that not respecting the terms of the contract and no respecting the law can be considered as a breach of contract and you will be asked to vacate the land

- For how long the contract is for?
Currently it is given for 30 years renewable. Art 9. Decreto 126-97

- What happen if I die?
You can put the contract in your will and your heirs will have to notify OCRET in order to change the ownership of the contract rights. Art 23. Decreto 126-97

- If I build a house? do I owe it?
yes,  the government own the land and you owns the improvements on the land

- Can I sell my house and the contract rights?
Yes at any moment you can sell the rights of the contracts and the improvements presuming you are up to date with your rent payments.

- Is their a limit on the size  of land I can register?
For a residence or a vacation house it is limited to 2,000 m2 , Now if your land is bigger you will have to register the rest under a different status.Art 6. Decreto 126-97

- What is the maximum length I can own on the waterfront?
on the lake it is 80 mts maximum Art 6. Decreto 126-97

- Can I rent land for the object of farming?
on the lake it is not possible to rent land from OCRET for agricultural purpose.  Art 6. Decreto 126-97

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