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Conflict of Interest Rules in Costa Rica

Conflict of Interest Rules apply to lawyers in Costa Rica, just as they do in the United States, or Canada. The prohibition is contained in the Code of Ethics to which all Costa Rican lawyers must subscribe.

The difference is, in Costa Rica, the decision to act in a conflict of interest circumstance is left to be made as a moral decision by the lawyer, without fear of any practical retribution by the College of Lawyers, while in the United States, or Canada, a lawyer acting in such circumstances would most likely receive a suspension from practice for a period of time, as a penalty for having acted in such a manner.

In Costa Rica, the breach of this ethic usually occurs in the circumstances of a purchase of property from a developer. Most developers have in-house, salaried lawyers/notaries, who are available to act on a property purchase closing without additional expense to the developer.

The property purchase transaction most commonly includes the closing costs as part of the purchase price, if the developer’s lawyer is used to the exclusion of an independent lawyer acting for the purchaser. This is a very dangerous circumstance for a purchaser, who’s legal interests would remain unrepresented in the transaction. A purchaser must have independent legal representation in the property purchase transaction if their legal interests are to be protected.

The only circumstance where a seller’s/developer’s lawyer should be acting as the closing lawyer/ notary is where vendor financing is offered as part of the purchase agreement. In such circumstances, it is common to have two lawyers handling the closing jointly, one acting for the purchaser with respect to the title transfer and the other acting for the seller/developer with respect to the vendor financing.

RICHARD (RICK) PHILPS
Telephone:
(506) 2288-4381  Ext.102
Fax: (506) 2228-7094

Email:
rphilps@plawcr.com

Website:
www.plawcr.com

 


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Cast Away in Costa Rica

A little over thirty years ago I read an article titled “Cast Away in Costa Rica –This lovely little land features beaches, mountains, jungles and beautiful señoritas who actually like Americans.” That’s all I needed to read. The title said it all.

Prior to reading the article I had lived and studied in Mexico and was enamored with the place. However, I was always curious to see what the countries were like to the south of Mexico. After reading the article my curiosity was piqued so I bought a ticket to Costa Rica as soon as I had a couple of free weeks to explore the country.

I arrived in San José and spent three nights there at the Talamanca Hotel on Avenida 2. By the way, there hotel is still there to this day. After exploring the sights in and around San José I had to decide where I wanted to go next. At the time there were virtually no travel guides with information about Costa Rica. Fortunately, a couple of weeks prior to my tour I found a travel guide that did have a small section on Central America and Costa Rica. I read the part on Costa Rica about three or four times and decided to visit the Orosi Valley which is located near the city of Cartago. It took three bus rides but I finally reached the Shangri-la like valley in a couple of hours. I had read in my travel guide that there was a small hotel and restaurant located on the banks of the Reventazón River which runs through the center of the valley. When I got off the last bus I must have looked lost. A nice Costa Rican man approached me and asked me what I was looking for. Much to my surprise it turned out that he worked at the restaurant at the Motel Río where I wanted to stay. He told me that he was on his way to work and he would take me to the hotel. I ended up staying there for a few days and was even invited to the owner’s house for lunch. His home was located on a coffee plantation high above the valley’s floor with a spectacular panoramic view. This proved to be an unforgettable experience during my maiden voyage to Costa Rica.

After visiting the Orosí area I returned to San José and then went on to explore the Central and South Pacific areas for about a week. While there I visited Puntarenas, Jacó, Quepos and Dominical. Let me say that 30 years ago said areas were a lot less developed than they are now and it was quite an adventure to go there.

Anyway my two-week vacation concluded and I knew I had found a very special place on this earth. I returned every chance I had during the next two years. Each time I visited the country I ended up staying longer. Finally in 1981, I quit my job, sold the farm, made the big move and have never looked back. I really was a pioneer in those days. I am really happy I had the foresight and vision to do it.

Moving to Costa Rica was scary at the time and took some guts but proved to be the best decision I ever made in my life. Now retirees and others can relocate a lot easier with the help of organization like my company Live in Costa Rica Tours, Solutions Costa Rica and the many travel guidebooks like “The New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica.”


Christopher Howard

Email: christopher@costaricabooks.com
Website: www.liveincostarica.com


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A not so successful story about an American in Costa Rica

I usually write articles about Americans who find success and happiness in Costa Rica. Unfortunately there are a few individuals who screw up big time here because they don’t follow the advice advice of the experts and get hooked up with the wrong people.

Tom came to Costa Rica about 12 years ago from the United States, where he was a successful businessman. Almost upon arriving here, he became romantically involved with a woman of ill- repute. He was basically too lazy and busy getting drunk to find a quality mate. Over the course of Tom’s relationship, he lost about $500,000 because he entrusted his business dealings to his girlfriend. She was even dumber than Tom and talked him into purchasing a piece of land on the beach that was in a restricted zone and he ended up building a home there. A few years later the local government got wind of what happened and had Tom’s house demolished.

Tom eventually split up with his girlfriend and had to give her half of everything he owned because of their common-law situation. What did Tom do next? He went and got involved with another woman who got pregnant intentionally and eventually took him to “the cleaners.” He ended up supporting her, their child and all of her immediate family. Everyone came out of the woodwork to get a handout from the dumb gringo.

After losing what was left of his money Tom finally got the message and returned to the United States where he eventually drank himself to death.

The point of this story is that if you take time-tested advice from the right people in Costa Rica and don’t be lazy like Tom, you can increase the odds of having a great life here. On the other hand, if you do like Tom you will be doomed to failure from the start.


Christopher Howard

Email: christopher@costaricabooks.com
Website: www.liveincostarica.com


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THE CONDOMINIUM HOA – THE LAW IN COSTA RICA

A common misconception by foreign property purchasers in Costa Rica, is that a regime of By-laws, commonly provided by a developer of individually subdivided and registered building lots, or completed dwellings, is an enforceable legal structure as against individual property owners. Such a HOA entity purporting to regulate the individual property owners and collect fees for maintenance of common areas, is unconstitutional in Costa Rica, as having a purpose which is contrary to the inalienable rights of property owners granted under the Costa Rica Constitution. Abiding by a regime of By-laws in such circumstances is purely voluntary on the part of the individual property owners.

A legally enforceable regime of By-laws in-fact only applies in the circumstances of a development being a registered Condominium in the National Registry and subject to the Costa Rican Condominium Laws. In such circumstances, the owner of a condominium lot delegates all of their rights at the time of purchase, to the named Administrator of the registered Condominium, who has the legal authority to enforce the registered regime of By-laws pursuant to the Condominium Law.

Accordingly, purchasers who purchase property in the circumstances of a development of individually registered lots, believing that all property owners in a particular development will be contributing in some fair manner through a HOA structure, to the cost of maintaining areas, which would be normally thought of a “common areas” in the development, such as private access roads, common area lighting, maintenance of “green zones”, etc. , may find that they are saddled with a greater cost than anticipated in order to have these various maintenance items attended to. This will depend on what their co-property owners in the development are willing to pay in the circumstances.

RICHARD (RICK) PHILPS
Telephone:
(506) 2288-4381  Ext.102
Fax: (506) 2228-7094

Email:
rphilps@plawcr.com

Website:
www.plawcr.com


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STAY WITH IT!

It is common knowledge that if you crash your car you mustn´t move it: you must call the cops and – if you have insurance – your insurance company. The cops will go to the scene of the “crime”, take measurements and pictures, and will let you know when you can move your vehicle.

The following is a sad story – a triumph of evil over virtue! A client of this insurance brokerage, a Scottish youth, was driving home in the dead of night in his VW, and another car came full speed out of a side street and cannoned into him – nobody hurt.

My client´s cel phone didn´t work, and none of the five lads in the other car admitted to having a phone, so the young Scot locked up his car and went off on foot seeking a public phone. He eventually found one and made the calls. |

When he got back to the scene of the accident he found that the positions of the cars had been switched, so that it looked like HE had come out of the side street and was therefore to blame for the collision.

The lads must have picked up the VW and manhandled it around – quite a feat, particularly for people in their cups!

There are two morals to this story: (1) don´t leave the scene of an accident, and (2) keep a functional cel phone with you when you are driving.

David Garrett
Garrett Insurance Brokers

Costa Rica: (506) 2233 9520
USA: 1 (347) 274 8210

Email:
info@garrettbrokers.com

Website:
www.garrettbrokers.com


next page

Conflict of Interest Rules in Costa Rica

Conflict of Interest Rules apply to lawyers in Costa Rica, just as they do in the United...
article post

Cast Away in Costa Rica

A little over thirty years ago I read an article titled “Cast Away in Costa Rica...
article post

A not so successful story about an American in Costa Rica

I usually write articles about Americans who find success and happiness in Costa Rica....
article post

THE CONDOMINIUM HOA – THE LAW IN COSTA RICA

A common misconception by foreign property purchasers in Costa Rica, is that a regime of...
article post

STAY WITH IT!

It is common knowledge that if you crash your car you mustn´t move it: you must call the...
article post