Concession Property in the Costa Rican Zona Marítimo Terrestre (ZTM) or Maritime Zone.
The Maritime law applies to the Pacific, Atlantic and island coasts. The first 50 meters inland from the average the high tide mark is designated as the “Public Zone” and open for public use, no concessions are granted or building is allowed in this area. The following 150 meters inland is the restricted zone, and owned by the Costa Rican government and can only be leased for five to twenty year periods at a time (and then reapplied for lease) this area could be developed with concessions and the correct zoning, which are granted by the local governments (Municipalities). This law effects all Costa Rica property for sale within 200 metres of the high tide line.
Buildings are allowed on this land providing they adhere to the requirements of the zoning plan, which are set out in the Plano Regulador. Any structures on this land will return to the ownership of the government unless the lease is renewed before its period of termination. For any building to be constructed in the area it must be part of a Plano Regulador, which is a special zoned district, created by the Institudo Costarricense de Turismo (ICT). In some rare cases some maritime zone does exist which is privately owned but this is only because it was registered before the 1977 Martime Zone Law.
The Maritime zone is marked by The National Geographic Institute (instituto Geogreafico Nacional) which identifies the maritime zone with Mojones.
The Institudo Costaricense de Turismo (ICT) is the authority that authorizes leases and the local municipality administers and grants the government concessions for the maritime zone.
The registry of concessions is held in the public registry (Registro Publico)
When the concession has been granted for a term of either five or twenty years, the municipality requires a fee to be paid annually for the term of the lease to maintain its validity. If this is not done there is a risk of termination of the concession and chance of loss of any structures within it. Extension of the concession is normally granted and is applied for by the lessee.
There are conditions for a foreign investor that wants to obtain a personally held concession they must have been a resident for five years or longer, without this term of residency can only register the rights of beach property via Costa Rican corporation that has at least 50 percent of the stock held by a Costa Rican.
Important points regarding property within the Maritime zone:
The Property rights can change regulations are created and amended. There are no guarantees that the concession will be renewed with the same or similar price of the yearly canon.
No one can own privately own beachfront property; the ownership is of the Costa Rican government. One should bear in mind that you are leasing the land and be aware of the risks.
It is possible to buy beachfront titled property providing it is out of the Maritime zone, which is 200 meters inland from the average high tide mark.
This article is written to give the fundamental rules of the Maritime Zone and recommended legal advise should be sought if one is considering purchasing concession property to understand the indefinites of the law.