What is an IDA property ?
IDA is the abbreviation for the Costa Rican Agrarian Development Institute (Instituto de Desarollo Agrario). This institution was created in 1961 at a time when Costa Rica was solely an agricultural based economy. The purpose for which IDA was founded was to re-distribute Costa Rican land to maximize agricultural production and create small farmers and thus establish social equality. The idea was to avoid large land holdings which were characteristic of other Central American countries which in turn caused social unrest.
As part of its program the Costa Rican Government would acquire large tracts of land and would then subdivide that land into Agricultural Farm Plots (Parcelas Agricolas). The land in turn would be lent or sold, subject to conditions to small farmers. Many of the deeds by which the small farmer acquired had conditions that required them to farm the land and not to sell the land within a specified period of time.
As the value of land began to rise so did the abuses in the way that land was distributed and illegal lifting of limitations which had been imposed upon the land. With the real estate boom that occurred in 2005-2006 the perceived value of some IDA properties located near coastal areas began to increase and the temptations to by pass existing law only increased. Some land was illegally divided, titled and sold.
According to the Costa Rican Newspaper La Nacion in an article about IDA property it cites a report from the Comptroller General of Costa Rica indicating that 800,000 Hectares of land in different parts of the Country had been titled illegally and that investigations where underway. In their report the Office of the Comptroller indicated that inside IDA the sale of land became their own “treasure chest” to benefit their own employees, directors, politicians and business people and not the intent for which the program was created.
A new Director has been named to clean up the past and to date 210 land grants have been revoked and title to 143 other parcels of land have been voided.
The Office of the Comptroller has requested a complete transformation of the Institution (IDA) or it will recommend that it be dissolved. This is the sort of thing that creates resentment and ire among Costa Rican citizens. In theory IDA land belongs to the Costa Rican government i.e. the citizens of Costa Rica. To turn around and sell Costa Rican owned land for the sole benefit of a few corrupt government and private business persons is insulting to say the least.
Real Estate Purchasers should be cautious if they are offered land for sale whose title emanates from IDA.