Over one million foreign nationals (be those solely investors, ex-pats, snowbirds or right down immigrants) own property in the so called “Restricted Areas” of Mexico, under the Mexican Foreign Investment Law of december 1973 which states that “foreigners can now own residential land in the restricted zones through a Fideicomiso (Trust)… this Restricted Zone is defined as land within 30 miles of the beach and 50 miles of the border.”
PART 1: WHAT IS A FIDEICOMISO
This type of trust works just as any other trust in the U.S. or Canada: simply put, the Fideicomiso is a long-term irrevocable bank trust or an escrow agreement. A Mexican fiduciary bank holds the title to the property and yields the rights to own and occupy, remodel, sell, give away or leave the property to the Beneficiary´s heirs. Foreigners acquire irrevocable and absolute ownership rights to residential property in Mexico through a 50-year perpetually renewable and transferable Bank Trust. This Trust is not a lease, but a legal substitute for deeded ownership and is provided specifically for non-nationals to own residential property in the restricted zones (border and beach areas.) established in the actual Mexican Constitution. The Trust system of ownership is sanctioned by the Mexican government, provided for under the Mexican Constitution and secured by the Central Bank of Mexico; thereby offering powerful protection.
Title is delivered to a Mexican Bank, authorized to act as the Fiduciario (Fiduciary), designating the foreign buyer as the Fideicomitente (Beneficiary) of the Trust. The Bank acts like an “employee” of the Beneficiary in transactions involving the property. The Beneficiary retains the use and control of the property and makes all the investment decisions. The rights of use and enjoyment, leasing, improving, mortgaging, selling, inheriting and willing the property are the same as when owned in fee simple title. It is the Beneficiary´s Trust and not the property of the government or the Bank!
A sale becomes registered when it is witnessed and recorded through a Notario Publico (Notary Public). From there, title passes to the Fiduciario (designated bank) to be held in the Fideicomiso (Trust). There are specific banks authorized by the Mexican government to hold the Real Estate Fideicomiso. Authorized Banks must pass extreme scrutiny and the Beneficiary has the right to open the Fideicomiso at any authorized Bank for that effect.
Daniel Gold W., MBA