As Canadians and Americans, personal security issues tend to be minimal in nature in most areas of Canada and the U.S., with the exception of some inner-city neighbourhoods in some of the larger Canadian and U.S. cities.
Such is not the case in Costa Rica and Latin America in general.
After having lived in Costa Rica for fifteen years and practiced law for ten of those years, I have had the opportunity to identify many personal security issues which arise in Latin America because of more dramatic differences between the rich and the poor classes.
This leads to the adage adopted by the poorer folks of, “what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine if you’re not watching over it”. This adage is particularly applicable when expats are viewed by poorer Ticos.
Having said that, because of the social safety-net (CAJA) adopted by Costa Rica following the last civil insurrection in 1948, Costa Rica is by no means as bad as the majority of other Latin American destinations with respect to this issue.
When purchasing property in Costa Rica, this adage translates to, if you want to be secure, don’t purchase a free-standing property in a Tico neighbourhood if you are an expat.
You will most certainly be a target for the neighbours if you do.
My advice to an expat purchasing property is to look for a housing circumstance in a gated and guarded community, preferably under a Condominium Property Regime, where the Condominium By-laws will be enforceable and provide for an acceptable solution to these personal security issues. That’s not to say that some expats have not found other living arrangements to those suggested that meet these requirements of personal security, but on-balance, the gated and guarded community is the best option.
To contact Attorney Rick Philps about hiring him as your Costa Rican Attorney, please use the following information: Lic. Rick Philps – Attorney at Law, Petersen & Philps, San Jose, Costa Rica Tel: 506-2288-4381, Ext. 102; Email: email@example.com Website: www.plawcr.com
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