You now own a home in Costa Rica. Congratulations! What an exciting and wonderful event! But who is going to take care of the property when you aren’t there? If you want to generate rental income from your property, there are certain rules and taxes that must be paid – who is going to ensure that all of the paperwork is properly filed? How do you know who to trust? Below is a checklist that every homeowner looking for a property manager should use to make sure both they, and their property, are protected.

You are now the owner of a beautiful property in Costa Rica. Hire a legal property management company to ensure that you are receiving the proper services and proper advice. 

1. Are they registered with SUGEF?

This is an absolutely mandatory requirement by the Costa Rican regulators. All real estate agencies and property management companies MUST be registered with SUGEF. If they are not, they are operating against the law.

SUGEF is the anti-money laundering agency that oversees all companies and industries that handle the funds of third-parties. For example, escrow agencies, real estate companies and property management companies.SUGEF provides assurances that your money will not be stolen by the company handling it – or there will be severe and criminal penalties. If a property management company is not registered with SUGEF homeowners who are owed rental income, or have sent money to their property manager, will have limited legal recourses to recuperate funds if the funds go missing.

2. Make sure the person you are talking with is legally allowed to work in Costa Rica. 

All legal employees will either be Costa Rica citizens or Residences with “Residente Permanente” status – no other residency status provides the ability to work in the day-to-day operations of a company. If working with an ex-pat, ask to see their residency card. If they don’t have one, they are working illegally. If it is not a ‘Residente Permanente’ they are working illegally.

3. What is the name and “cedula juridica” of the property management company?  Ask for this information.

4. Is the company registered with the local municipality? Ask to see the ‘patente’ that is issued from the local municipality.

5. Is the company registered with Hacienda? (federal tax agency). Ask to see the certificate.

6. Where is their office? Can they accept credit cards for local payment? Local banks will only provide credit card processing machines to legally registered companies.

7. Do they provide accounting services?
New tax laws are in place that require monthly reporting for active corporations. Make sure they are either directly providing those services or are facilitating those services.

Too often new homeowners willingly ignore the laws when hiring a property manager. The most common reasons we hear are: “They are nice!” “They speak English (or my home language)” “I trust them”. Unfortunately, we also get contacted once a homeowner has problems with their property manager and ask us what to do for help. The most common problems involve mis-appropriation of funds and lack of communication. These problems can easily be averted if homeowners would hire legally registered property managers.

You are now the owner of a beautiful property in Costa Rica. Hire a legal property management company to ensure that you are receiving the proper services and proper advice.

Contact Osa Property Management for more information about how to find a legal property management company in Costa Rica.



Nick Halverson is a permanent resident, based in Costa Rica's southern pacific region (near Uvita/Ojochal). He has over 16 years of buying/selling/managing properties in Costa Rica. He also owns 150 acre development in San Buenaventura de Osa. Owner of Osa Property Management. +1.763.306.8981

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