Understand the risks before buying land on an ejido

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.

When shopping around for land in the countryside or on the coast, many newcomers to Yucatán come across opportunities to purchase real estate labeled as edijal or de ejido.

At first, everything always looks wonderful, the price might seem low and the person doing the “selling” seems extremely motivated and ready to move things along. But what is an ejido? And how does buying land on one, differ from other types of real estate transactions?

Simply put and ejido or propiedad comunal is an area of communal land collectively used and maintained by a group of people. This means that such lots are not private property and can not be owned by a single individual. This is not to say that purchasing land on an ejido is impossible. If you plan on going down this route, you will have to ensure that all stakeholders are completely on board and then go through a lengthy privatization process with a local assembly. Furthermore, Mexican law prohibits the sale of ejidos to non-Mexicans which means buying by proxy, usually with a trusted local lawyer.

Ejidos are run out of comisarias ejidales. Photo: Courtesy

A seasoned Texas businessman who had been living in Mexico for over 20 years said his attempt to buy ejido land near Telchac was one of the most stressful and aggravating events of his life.

It is not uncommon for entire deals to fall through because a single member of the landowners’ group changes his mind — even if it’s after everyone else has already been paid. In these situations, you essentially have no recourse. So buyer beware.

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