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‘Fideicomiso’ Staying Put

An amendment to Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution, which would have permitted foreigners to purchase property in the country’s restricted zone, was rejected on a procedural technicality, according to a communication issued by Mexico’s Secretary of Government (SEGOB).

The Mexican Chamber of Deputies (the lower legislative house of that country) approved the amendment last year. Had it passed, it would have allowed non-citizens to buy property within 100 kilometers of the nation’s borders with the United States, Belize and Guatemala and within 50 kilometers of Mexico’s coastlines. It also would have essentially ended the fideicomiso, the Mexican bank trust that allows foreigners to purchase rights to live on and use property within that zone for a set amount of time, said John Glaab, CIPS, vice president of international marketing for The Settlement Company, a real estate brokerage based in Mexico.

But the amendment procedure was not continued within the proper time frame, he added. The bill was never passed by the Mexican Senate or approved by the requisite 16 of the country’s 32 states and, consequently, the restricted zone of property ownership will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

Glaab speculated that the fideicomiso, which has been in place for more than four decades now, would not be seriously challenged again for another 10 years or so. “At the moment, Mexican politicians have their hands full [with the passage of several reforms],” he said.

However, there is a bright side to the continuation of the fideicomiso. “There is no probate,” he explained. “Here, that takes a lot of money and about 10 years to finish the paperwork and [make a] decision.”

Brian Summerfield

Brian Summerfield is Manager of Business Development and Outreach for NAR Commercial and Global Services. He can be reached at bsummerfield@realtors.org.

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