Illumination and Commentary by a Real Estate Attorney.
A proposal to amend the Condominium Regime State Law is heading to the local congress, and this amendment is lobbied for and drafted by The Developers of Los Cabos Association, (yes, those who had moved the highway away from the ocean once and that are trying to do it again). Recently, I have had the opportunity to see the text, and what I saw clearly is that this is an amendment just to protect their interests only, setting aside the important problems that could (and should) be addressed in this law to make it better and fair.
As written, this amendment proposes to provide privileges and extraordinary faculties to the developers alone, “to promote the investment and protect it”, further allowing the developers to have more control over the communities without challenge from the public. Locally, we all have seen and/or suffered from the abuses of some developers, and this new amendment simply provides them more privileges without barriers.
There are several problems with this vision: First and most of all, the aims of a condominium regime law should be to protect and promote the condominiums and the homeowners, not to protect developers. Worldwide, condominium laws are meant to protect the weak part of a legal relationship, and put limits on the strong part, and this is exactly the opposite on this case. It is tantamount to the consumer protection law being amended to protect the merchants from the consumers, and this example applies perfectly. In the case of the proposed changes to the Condominium Law, the homeowners would be the consumers, and the developer’s would be the merchants.
Second, it is an amendment made just by one of the parties involved: the Los Cabos Developers Assoc., without balance and review by the consumers or their advocates or consumer groups/agencies. Remember that this law will apply to the entire State, not just Los Cabos. Remember too, that after they finish building and selling their condos and homes and leave for other locations, this condominium law will stay in effect as rule of law without a time limit. Remember too, that not all developments are touristic and luxury high end properties. Remember that, in a democracy, (the most important point) that consulting the persons affected or the public is a requirement, which has not occurred. Also as the proposed amendment stands now, this amendment would only add costs and requirements to the day to day legal processing of the condominium regimes and the consumers, adding additional red tape to the processes and making harder it to comply with the law. Therefore, the amendments will making the way easier for developers to attack the validity of the resolutions taken on assemblies of the home owner’s themselves, and in addition, making it harder to collect any delinquency in court, as the proposed changes would be very hard for Home Owner’s and their Associations to comply with all of the new proposed requirements. It also would make it difficult for small developers to compete.
We strongly hope that at the State Congress, all the above objections are noted and that this amendment is not passed as it is presented. We hope that the opportunity to correct and improve the law is taken by our State representatives and that instead of providing more privileges and protection to the developers, the condominium and homeowners are protected from the abuses of developers. We hope that the processes and requirements become less instead of increasingly difficult – to remove obstacles of justice from the path of the victims, not to increase them. We hope that the politicians are sensitive to the needs of the public and understand that promoting tourism and investment should not be done by granting privileges to special interest groups, but by protecting tourists and investors from all walks of life and nationalities. We further hope that or representatives understand that this law applies and should serve to all, not just to a single sector.
Want to do something about this? Have your Home Owner’s Association President contact your local State Senator and ask to have a copy of the proposals, and the opportunity for your association to make comments and challenges to the proposed law as it has been written.
By Raul Leon, Attorney At Law, Expert in Mexican Trust (Fideicomiso), Commerce & Real Estate Attorney.
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