Land ownership in Haiti: Can Americans, foreigners and citizens of other countries buy/own properties or land in Haiti? Haiti is a Caribbean country located on the western third of Hispaniola Island. With its capital city, Port-au-Prince, Haiti shares its land border with its eastern neighbor, the Dominican Republic.
The economy of Haiti is largely dependent on trade ties with the United States and the Dominican Republic among other neighbors. One of the most sought-after information about direct foreign investment in Haiti is the process of buying and selling property.
Over the years, the business climate in Haiti has presented significant challenges. However, the recent legislative changes have encouraged foreign direct investment, including purchasing a property.
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For example, foreign investors enjoy the same rights, privileges, and protection as local investors, courtesy of the Haitian government’s investment incentives to the former. The two main incentives offered by the Haitian government are customs duty incentives and income tax incentives. The country’s import and export policies apply to everyone, irrespective of their nationality.
Property / land ownership in Haiti in the last decade
The Haitian system of establishing property rights was not one of the best, especially among foreigners. Land tenure has historically presented one of the biggest challenges to rebuilding Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. It was difficult to obtain a legally recognized title to the property in Haiti as it would take over 11 years and hundreds of bureaucratic steps with more than 30 separate offices to visit.
Foreigners could not own more than one property in the same district or real estate without the Ministry of Justice’s authorization. Moreover, foreigners’ landholdings were restricted to 1.29 ha in urban areas and 6.45 ha in rural areas. However, a lot has changed with the legal aspects of these earlier restrictions.
So, can US citizens and other foreigners buy and own property in Haiti today?
Property and land ownership in Haiti is possible, despite the complexity it may involve. Foreign companies can today buy and own property in Haiti with no restrictions on profit repatriation. However, there are certain legal restrictions that you must be aware of before you purchase a property in Haiti. For example, foreigners cannot own property alongside national borders.
But before you venture into buying property in Haiti, you must take into consideration some of the complex challenges involving the legal and official transfer of property. The challenges you should work to overcome include:
- The procedure for purchasing property in Haiti is not easily understandable, especially by foreigners. It is always important that you involve professionals in the process to guide you through.
- Expensive fees that can increase the property price by up to 25 percent.
- Inconsistent requirements and inadequate documentation process. For example, signing of a deed of sale is not enough to claim legal ownership until the property is fully registered in the Office of Land Registry.
- t’s possible for a seller of a property to lack legal title to the land. This means that you will be forced to enter an informal sale agreement. However, you should involve your lawyer in the whole process.
Owning property in Haiti may be complicated with legal and cost barriers for foreigners. However, those who follow the complicated legal process can own property and invest in the future. This is a developing nation, which means property prices are only likely to rise in the future. You may read this guide entitle: Doing Business in Haiti: 2018 Country Commercial Guide for U.S. Companies for more details.