Thursday, January 14, 2010



Don´t remember when exactly, but the wife bought one of those abandoned DFC development vandalized house shells. No windows, doors, plumbing, toilet gone, kitchen area stolen and so forth. At auction the wife got it for $15,500 Bz. It took us many months to get the LEASE CERTIFICATE and we learned the hard way, that we didn´t actually buy the LAND from the Development Finance Corporation, only the destroyed vandalized house shell. Anyway, our tale is that we spent months dealing with both the Lands Department in Belmopan and the local office in San Ignacio Town. One thing and another, we eventually got a LEASE CERTIFICATE for land and house, which is good only for 30 years after you pay for the lot to the Department of Lands, on which the DFC built house sits. The next step was to transfer the LEASE CERTIFICATE to what is called a TITLE, or FREEHOLD TITLE. Basically they charge you for the land all over again. If you fix up the house, and repair it, they delay you and then inspect the property and raise the fees for getting the TITLE because of improvements. So we have been delaying some six months now to doing much of the repairs and investment required to make this shell of a house once again livable, or so, waiting for our application to change the LEASE CERTIFICATE to a FREEHOLD TITLE. That TITLE means you own it, instead of the government owning it and stops the crooked politicians from stealing it from you, to give to some political party hack, claiming your LEASE purchase is needed for a public purpose, or some excuse. Which occurence occurs often, reported in local newspapers down on the coast.
We are not doing any repairs or improvements and still have the vandalized shell. We did put a fence. Got some repaired temporary doors and windows in now, but not done the interior of the vandalized house yet. We are patiently waiting so we can do the repairs and reconstruct the original building with replacing all the stolen stuff out of it. Under the Belize Lands system, we do not yet own the property even though we have paid for it and taken about a year to get this far in the processing. We only LEASE. Month after month, the wife makes the pilgrimage to Belmopan Lands Department, to see if the local Department of Lands agent, survey and report has finally been submitted and title approved. We are told under new UDP government rules after an inspection then a new assessment is to be made, which apparently has been done by the local Government Land Agent already ( took a few months ) and we can pay AGAIN for a FREEHOLD TITLE. Simple procedure, the Minister signs the new title theoretically. About six months now we are waiting for this paper title and the assessment for this auctioned off, DFC vandalized house shell we paid $15,500 for at auction. I´m not complaining, because we know the process takes about three years. In that sense we are right on track government bureaucratic processing wise. I only print this here, because another month has passed with a fruitless trip to Belmopan Lands Department, who tell us the applications sit on the Cabinet Miniser of Lands desk for signing. The clerks cannot do anything.
According to the newspaper articles, it has been reported the UDP government have frozen all land titles issuance for a long time. About a year or more they hint. We are locals and patient. A bit frustrated because we cannot work with our investment. Or will not until we get clear title. I print this for incoming retirees and immigrants that may get confused with the LAND TITLE PROCESS in Belize, compared to whichever country they come from. It helps to know you are not being victimized on your investment. This is just the way it is here in Belize. The system is dysfunctional, though it may be so for a polical purpose, which is often BRIBERY claim numerous newspaper articles on the subject and rumors in the streets. So we wait, and you wait and there is no sense in sending me e-mails asking me if the real estate agent is crooked because you bought some land ( people do this all the time ) paid your money, and a year or more has passed and you cannot get your piece of ownership paper, be it a LEASE, or a TITLE. We locals simply know it takes about 3 years to get CLEAR TITLE to your house lot, even when you have the money to pay cash. You are not alone in your frustration. The system plays hell with investing in a business though. What could be done in three to six months, usually takes three to six years.

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