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 main pieces of legislation that regulate this subject in the Dominican Republic are collected.

The north of the Dominican Republic is at an apogee stage as far as real estate development is concerned. 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 for being an industrialized area, attractive for “business tourism”.

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

Thus, the subject of real estate investments could be divided into foreign and domestic. It is on the latter that the importance of the Foreign Investment Law No. 16-95 of 1995 and its implementing regulations of 2004 lies, which allow the purchase of real estate of foreigners in national territory, without any limitation, 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).

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

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

The mentioned exemptions include the complete exoneration of the taxes on the income object of the incentives, of the tax for capital increase, for transfer of real estate rights, for sales, exchanges, contributions in nature, taxes on sumptuary houses and unbuilt lots, and of the ITBIS of the services necessary for the start-up and first equipment of the project (article 4).

We cannot close this brief outline of the regulatory framework surrounding real estate development without first mentioning Law 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 that affect 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 obligated subject (art. 33).

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