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Investing - Is it difficult to buy plots of land in Cape Verde?

Buying Plots of land on Cape Verde Islands

Check with your solicitor/lawyer that approval has been given by the authorities to build on the land you are thinking of buying (don't sign anything, no matter what it is, before showing your solicitor/lawyer all the papers). Be advised that you should not automatically take the word of those who want to sell you the land, that everything is official. There have been situations where unsuspecting buyers have bought land, then found out at a later date that their plans to build on it will not be granted, or that there was never approval to build property on that land, or it's land that is protected.

If an area of land is protected (a reserve) then only the Government is in the position to change the law as regards to whether an area is released for building purposes. Trying to change this may prove to be more trouble than it's worth.

An area of land on Sal, which people most people understood to be 'protected' was sold to a large hotel chain, this new development is due to be completed in 2017.

If you are thinking of buying land off a local owner, you must at all costs get a lawyer to find out if the seller is the 'sole' owner as sometimes the owner is actually a number of family members, if you buy that land thinking you are dealing with the one owner, then other family members step forward as owners, you could be in for a very difficult time. It will of course be a lot worse if you get approval to build and carry out that work on a house or block of apartments, then find out afterwards that you don't actually own that land you have just spent a lot of money building on! You can also contact the Camara Municipal to see if they have records of ownership, or if the original owner is now deceased, if deceased, then who is the legal owner? Was it passed onto siblings, or is the land to be shared between others. Who has legal rights and ownership of the land?

In 2015 a new system for land and property registry was introduced on Sal, the funding for the project came from the USA. Officials working for the new 'Cadastro Predial' system are interviewing owners and checking the old system to make sure that they can officially identify who owns a piece of land or property, whether it is a joint ownership or whether owners and siblings need to know more about the Cape Verde law, concerning legal ownership and their rights or live-in partners rights. This system will also be introduced on the other islands in time.More info:{module_literature filter="item" itemId="154765"}

In some areas you can’t build on land 1kilometer from the sea line, in others it can be no less than 70metres.

I am aware that some developments are given building approval in retrospect; however there are no guarantees that permission will be given.

Along coastal areas on other islands there may be mountains or rocky coastline. If considering buying some land there to build on you need to be aware that on some of those islands the infrastructure is poor, they may suffer with more power cuts, island supplies may be limited and therefor building material, fixtures and fittings will need to be brought over by boat. In these circumstances speak to local builders, see what projects they have built, confirm that they were the actual builder, speak to the owner of that build project to find out what the problems were or what they would have done differently. Speak to others that live there.

Some people believe or have been told that there won’t be another development between theirs and the sea, only to find out that they are wrong. Please do your own research on this. As recently as 2014 on Sal Island, there has been a development built in front of what were understood to be 'front line property'. Some owners who had bought what they thought were 'front line' properties, have completely lost their sea view along Praia Antonio Sousa beach.

There are various types of sales pitches, so it is really up to you whether you make your own separate private enquiries with other developments or the authorities, lawyers.

NOTE: I was informed by one Cape Verdean builder that a number of Cape Verdean people had been given a plot of land by the government, then, if they couldn't afford to build on the land themselves, some builders would negotiate with the land owner to build apartments on their plot of land, then provide the owner with property as part of the project build. What you have to ask yourself is what if there was a dispute or a disagreement between the land owner and the builder/developer at a later date? How do you know whether the land owner is one of those 300 reported in ‘Asemana’ News, as now having their land expropriated?


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