Not all of living in Mexico is sweetness and light. There are problems, just with any situation in life. You make the most of the good and minimize the bad as best you can.
Most of La Vida Baja is good, but there are a couple of bad parts. One is that you have to be careful where you go – stay away from bad places at night, just like any other city in the world. The other is more uniquely a MX problem. That has to do with renting or buying property.
Coming from the US, there are certain things that I take for granted. If I buy a house, I will get a title search and title insurance that insures my rights to own that house. It will spell out any liens, easements, CC&Rs and the like. And anyone can find out that information on any house for a few dollars fee and a little bit of time at the county courthouse or property recording office.
It’s not nearly that simple in Mexico. There are squatter’s rights in Mexico. There are some properties that are held by the government but allowed for certain use by Mexican citizens. There are strictly enforced (but not public noticed) zoning restrictions. And enforcement of the rights of the government and rightful owners can be painfully slow, decades in fact, so that everyone thinks the problems have disappeared…until the swift enforcement happens in the early dawn.
That’s what happened to almost 200 Americans who were ordered out of their houses one day at gunpoint in the Punta Banda area (near Ensenada, Baja California). You’ll find a lot of stories about that on the Internet, most of them now with spins on what the Americans did wrong. (After all, the Mexican realtors know that if the word gets out about how messed up property ownership can be in MX, they will lose any future buyers.) The fact is, though, these Americans did ignore the rumors and figured, “It’s Mexico. It’s all going to be okay.” Justice can be slow sometimes, but it’s inevitable.
The same thing is happening with some of the gated communities in Rosarito. For example, the community of Baja Del Mar has been under 2 or more lawsuits for years now. Some of the owners of houses that sit on the beach on double lots actually don’t own the land under them, at least according to the lawsuits. And as we saw with Punta Banda, justice may come slowly, but it does come. (Can you just imagine buying one of the houses for sale right now on a double lot and then one day being told, at gunpoint, that you have to get out of half of the house?)
The beach houses often don’t own the concessions necessary to be next to the beach. This is something granted by the MX federal government. If you don’t have one for your house, someone else can get the concession and actually take over your property by paying a small fee to the government.
If you rent, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re safe either. Some of the gated communities, again most notably Baja Del Mar, can and do, at will, turn off power to properties, make renters park their cars outside the gates in an unsafe area, and have incidences of theft by employees and their families.
We love living in Rosarito, but it definitely is “Buyer/Renter Beware” when it comes to property. Be very clear about what you’re getting. Get your contract reviewed by a Mexican lawyer first. And if you hear a rumor that things might not be good, believe it. It can save a lot of trouble down the road.
Tags: Baja Del Mar, Baja Del Mar For Rental, Baja Del Mar For Sale, Baja Del Mar Real EstateDiane Kennedy, Baja Del Mar Rentals, Baja Del Mar Rosarito, Playas de Rosarito, rosarito