Changing the Authorized Land Use Is a Crime in the Federal District

August 8, 2011
Changing the Authorized Land Use Is a Crime in the Federal District

On June 27, 2011, an amendment to the Penal Code for the Federal District (Código Penal para el DistritoFederal or CPDF) was published in the Official Gazette of the Federal District (Gaceta Oficial del DistritoFederal), which included, among others, the modification to article 343 bis with respect to using real property ina manner that is different from the authorized land use. Previously the law sanctioned the unlawful use of realproperty contrary to the authorized land use, while the new amendment imposes sanctions of three to nine yearsof imprisonment and a fine on the persons who intentionally use land in a manner other than that which isauthorized, making this a serious crime under which one is not eligible for release on bail. The offense is deemedmore serious in the event it is committed with respect to real property located on natural preserves, protectedareas, ravines or green areas within urban lands. The same amendment modified article 254 of the CPDF tosanction criminal organization, which is defined to be when three or more persons participate in a permanent orrepeated manner to commit an unlawful act resulting in imprisonment from four to ten years. While it is true thatthe effective application of the plans, laws and regulations as to urban development in Mexico is very important,the amendment to the CPDF has some significant deficiencies. As a general rule, the improper use of realproperty has been administratively sanctioned with closure, demolition and fines, among other measures.However, as a result of the apparent inability and refusal of the authorities to enforce the laws, those whocontinue to engage in unauthorized land use, will be subject to more serious sanctions. . As a result of thissituation, it is important to verify that any real property located in the Federal District is being properly used, especially those properties to be developed for commercial and industrial purposes, in order to take adequatemeasures when necessary.

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