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Legal framework for real estate development in the Dominican Republic

While the north of the country sees a boom in its real estate development, the most important pieces of legislation regulating this subject are being collected in the Dominican Republic.

The north of the Dominican Republic is at an apogee stage in terms of real estate development. Puerto Plata, Cabarete and Sosua are key points of investment (local and foreign) for their beaches, while the city of Santiago de los Caballeros is also attractive because it is an industrialized area, attractive for “business tourism”.

The subject of real estate development is embodied in multiple pieces of legislation, to go from a broad spectrum to a smaller one, it is considered pertinent to start by Real Estate Register Act No. 108-05, and its amendments, which serve as a legal framework for investment in real estate, protecting it under the right of ownership.

The subject of real estate investments can therefore be divided into foreign and domestic. It is on the latter that the importance of the Foreign Investment Act No. 16-95 of 1995 and its implementing regulations of 2004, which allow the purchase of real estate from foreigners in national territory, without any restrictions, as well as the repatriation of the totality of the dividends generated, after the payment of taxes (art. 7 ). It is worth mentioning that the Constitution of the Republic gives the foreign investor the same guarantee as the Dominican investor (art. 221).

Act No. 189-11 for the Development of the Mortgage Market and the Trust in the Dominican Republic and its amendments are particularly important for local investment, by creating legal figures that develop the Dominican mortgage market by ensuring long-term financing mechanisms for housing, and promotion of housing projects (Title II) .

Similar incentive work is done by Act No. 158-01 for the Promotion of Tourism Development for the poles of scarce development and new poles in provinces and places with great potential, and creates the Official Fund for Tourism Promotion, which provides attractive tax exemptions for long periods to tourism projects. It includes as part of the latter villas, plots, plots and apartments that serve as a supplement to tourist infrastructure (Art. 3, paragraph).

The said exemptions include the complete exemption from the tax on the income object of the incentives, from the tax for capital increase, for transfer of property rights, for sales, exchanges, contributions in kind, tax on detached houses and vacant lots, and from the ITBIS of the services necessary for the start-up and first equipment of the project (section 4).

We cannot conclude this brief outline of the regulatory framework around property development without first referring to Act No. 155-17 against Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism of the Dominican Republic, which is a transversal axis in all commercial operations. This piece of legislation introduces figures affecting the real estate market by including real estate agents involved in transactions for their clients related to the purchase and sale of real estate as a non-financial mandatory subject (art. 33).

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