5 important things to know about OCRET

One of the biggest issue in Guatemala and particularly in the lake area is the absence of cadastre.
So currently there are several situations related to this.
First of all  OCRET, which by law would be the biggest land manager around the lake, only work from the legal frame given by the Constitution. Which means that for this office any land , on the lake for example, included in the 200 mts from the water front has to be leased from the government. But OCRET currently doesn't have a clear knowledge of what is clearly land government and what is registered land (clear title registered before 1956 in the registry of the property).
They are building their cadastre from the lease request made by particular or companies around the lake. And it happens that sometimes the OCRET pretension is challenged by locals authorities. Which is the case for Santiago Atitlan, ( it has a clear title registered it seems in 1920 that includes all the water front ) in discussion  San Marcos La Laguna and Santa Cruz as they seems to be as well challenging the OCRET hold.
Some some might wonder if it is proper to register or not.
Well my recommendation, under the current situation,  is to register with OCRET.
Why ? Because as foreigners it is the only way to secure your land rights particularly.  And the cost associated with the registration is not that high that shouldn't be undertake.
Now what will happen if it happens that the land is not under OCRET umbrella like it is happening in Santiago?
Well the current solution is that OCRET will hand the contract to the Municipality and this will have to respect the terms. Which is an important security as at least for the next 20 or more years of your contract you know what will be your status.
At the moment nobody knows what will be the legal form that will articulate the "rights of possession" that ones acquired on a land belonging to a big registered property owned by a Municipal government. The OCRET contract will at least give you a structure.

The other big challenge with OCRET definition of the 200 mts is where is the 200 mts limit ....as it is known by everybody that the lake level is fluctuating over times. So if during the last 40 years it has been going down, opening new space for colonisation by chalets , public beaches... since Hurracan Stan the lake has been coming up substantially and the trend seems to be since 7 years, on the rise.
Which move way upp, the upper limit of the 200 mts particularly in the areas where the shore has a gentle slope like San Juan La Laguna, San Pablo, San Marcos La Laguna.
So a piece of land that have been out of the OCRET hold, now might be under the OCRET law.

I'm strongly advocating to find a technical solution to control the level and the easiest solution would be to put an over flow as the ones you have in a bathtub . The easiest way would be to do it in San Lucas Toliman. This will allows to define the highest level that the lake can reach and allows the villages and the waterfront owner to invest in infrastructure that will last. Not as it is happening currently. Just remember the numerous brand new piers paid by INGUAT that ended up under water.

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