Special Features

Real estate buyer rights

Consumer protection in Panama

By: Staff at Panama Offshore Legal Services / E-Mail: info@pos-inc.com || Phone (507) 227–6645

Panama is protecting consumer rights in order to bolster foreign investment through laws, principally surrounding real estate purchases, but also including other goods and services. Law 45 of 2007 (known as The Consumer Protection Law) prohibits clauses in contracts allowing excessive delays or limiting the rights of consumers in real estate transactions. If the delivery of services or goods takes too long, purchasers have the right to end the contract without penalties.

This law also prohibits contracts calling for penalties such as loss of down payments or installments if the contract is cancelled through no fault by the purchaser. And sellers no longer have the sole right to cancel the contract. This law also eliminates the cancellation of contracts by developers wishing to resell for greater profits.

Abusive clause protection

The law provides that abusive clauses will become invalid if the contract excessively favors the vendor. Such clauses defined as follows: Those restricting adherent rights of consumers by limiting the obligations of the vendor. Excessively favors the vendor; or exempts the vendor from personal injury liability; or allows the vendor to cancel or modify the contract (unless the purchaser fails to comply); or requires consumers to waive rights in advance; or waives rights of consumers to take legal action; is illegible; or written in a language other than Spanish.

A contract is also illegal if it allows excessive time for completion. The consumer now has the right to terminate such contracts without being subject to any penalties.

New construction

Here are the terms provided to protect consumers in pre-construction contracts. New residential construction projects must establish clear written terms and conditions of the guarantee of workmanship. All advertising must be truthful. The consumer will have the right to demand fulfillment of such advertised promises. Every contract must specify delivery or completion dates if not immediately. Consumers have the option to terminate the contract if those dates pass without any penalties. The exact price and adjustments for increased cost of materials must be in writing. Consumers have the right to demand proportional price discounts for new construction when final specifications change substantially from what the contract stated.

Panama’s Consumer Protection Agency (Autoridad de Proteccion al Consumidor y Defensa de la Competencia) will enforce this law in the near future. This agency also investigates complaints against developers and real estate agents regarding false advertising and breach of contracts.

Other regulatory agencies

Aside from this law, other Panamanian governmental agencies regulate the real estate construction industry as well.

Law 6 of 2006 prohibited fraud in advertising in the construction industry. On May 16, 2007, The Ministry of Housing (MIVI) created regulations preventing developers and their promoters from advertising or selling properties before the Master Plan approval facing fines up to 1% of the entire project’s value.

Environmental sanctions

A few years ago, Panama’s National Authority of the Environment (ANAM) levied a $930,000 fine on a real estate tourism development for illegally cutting down trees that threatened the local ecosystem. The company failed to comply with their approved Environmental Impact Study and began other projects without a proper evaluation of its environmental impact.

In 2004, ANAM imposed a record fine of $1 million against the developer of a large project in Panama.

Court rulings

Local courts are now ruling against property developers too. In 2008, a Panama Superior court ruled against another property developer by declaring certain sections of a purchase contract null & void because they were “abusive”. One clause allowed the developer to rescind the contract and to keep the buyer’s deposits. Another clause allowed the developer to stop construction without any compensation to the purchasers or liability for damages caused. The last clause dealt with price increases because of rising costs of materials. However, this ruling has no precedent meaning that it does not have to be followed by other courts with similar claims.

Fashion Week in Review

By Diana Klochkova

Fashion Week Panama, the biggest fashion event in the region, was held last week at ATLAPA Convention Center. Produced by local modeling agency Physical Modelos, the annual event brought together designers and fashion enthusiasts from around Panama and the Americas to exhibit their latest work and celebrate their passion for style.

Music reverberated throughout the convention center as attendees explored the booths of the fair. Make-up and hair experts offered on-the-spot services, while other exhibitors distributed samples and discussed their health and beauty products with visitors.

In addition to the fair, six runway show blocks displayed the collections of dozens of local and international designers and raised money for various charitable causes. Models took to the catwalk wearing designs that were world-class yet accessible, many of them available right here in Panama City. Take a look at some of our favorite presenters, along with information on where their products can be found.

Design by Greta Bayo

Greta Bayo

Youthful and fresh designs are the signature of Greta Bayo, a Panamanian designer trained in Miami. Her clothing, though fun and in line with today’s trends, remains classic in its femininity. Bayo’s collections are available at the Garbo by Greta boutique, opened in 2010, in Multimall Commercial Center on Via Israel.

Design by Maria Carolina Mejia Amaya

Maria Carolina Mejia Amaya

Though Maria Carolina Mejia Amaya hails from Colombia, her .mcma. brand was born in London. Moved by the city’s duality, its combination of classic beauty and modern urbanism, Amaya created her brand around the same concept. .mcma.’s collections are made for the sophisticated and independent woman, embodying her soft femininity and her hard edginess through their mix of color, texture, and style. They can be found here in Panama at Diablo Rosso on Avenida A in Casco Antiguo.

Design by Annie Chaijin

Annie Chaijin

Inspired by their eclectic background, which includes Lebanese and Chiricano roots, Annie Chaijin and her sister, Farah, began their careers designing colorful and exotic jewelry. Their unique style has since been transferred to clothing, reviving cultural traditions and making them wearable for the modern woman. (Still no info on where they can be found…)

Design by Melina Typaldos

Melina Typaldos

Silver, gold, semi-precious stones and Swarovski crystals are used in Melina Typaldos’s accessories to create luxurious pieces with unique and modern style. Her trademark feminine floral designs are a combination of her traditional Panamanian tastes and a touch of classic European elegance, thanks to her Greek roots. Typaldos’s creations are available both in her store in Multiplaza Pacifico shopping center and her boutique in Marbella. missing image file

Design by Leanne Marshall

Leanne Marshall

Leanne Marshall’s designs, inspired by nature and based on architectural structure, made her the winner of Bravo’s hit reality TV series Project Runway in 2008 and have continued to bring her success ever since. The designer sells an exclusive “eco-chic” collection on Bluefly.com, and handmade pieces can be purchased on Etsy.com.

Design by Angel Sanchez

Angel Sanchez

A designer to the stars, Venezuelan-born Angel Sanchez is known for creations that stay true to classical couture style while exploring the architecture of fashion. His collections, with their vast arrays of shapes and colors, are available in high- end department stores throughout the world, from the United States to Hong Kong.

Around and about The Beaches

At the El Litoral B&B

English language book exchange at Coronado

By Playacommunity.com

More and more, beach area residents are taking advantage of the English Book Exchange organized by the Coronado Area Social Association (CASA). The exchange is located at El Litoral Bed and Breakfast, run by French Canadian Anne Marie Bergeron and her husband, Rene.

They offer coffee, cappuccino or tea and fresh baked treats like banana bread or breakfast cake. The comfortable chairs and air conditioning create a welcoming atmosphere to peruse the growing collection of books. The Book Exchange is open from Monday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The Coronado Area Social Association (CASA) is a volunteer group. Visitors must bring books to the exchange in order to take the same number of books out. Otherwise, books cost $1. All are welcome, and being a member of CASA is not a requirement to participate.

Apart from running a bed & breakfast, baking treats for readers, Anne Marie is also a yoga teacher. Her classes are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Call ahead.

El Litoral Bed & Breakfast is located on Punta Prieta Road in Coronado, across from the entrance to Coronado Golf & Beach Resort. For more information contact Anne Marie at 6658-1143 or 240-1474 or email her at tanne_mariebergeron@hotmail.com.

Beach Activities, Events & Specials

In affiliation with PlayaCommunity.com

Events

July 27
Playacommunity Mixer at Paraiso Restaurant in Las Uvas, $7 buffet, door prizes and games. Starts at noon. RSVP at Playacommunity.com.

July 30
DJ Miki Dance Party at Picasso Bar & Restaurant in Coronado, starting at 9:00 p.m.

Salsa Dancing

Salsa classes at Paraiso Restaurant in Las Uvas (3 km up towards El Valle) every Friday at 6:00 p.m. $5 per person.

Happy Hours

At Picasso Bar & Restaurant in Coronado: 2 for 1 drinks everyday from 3:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Paraiso Restaurant in Las Uvas 2 for 1 cocktails everyday from 3:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Stay Fit!

At Solarium Coronado Bay: Tuesdays at 7:00 a.m. Beach Boot Camp, 9:00 a.m. Zumba. Thursdays at 7:00 a.m. Beach Boot Camp, 9:00 a.m. Body Sculpting

At Playa Blanca Resort: Mondays at 7:00 a.m. Beach Boot Camp. Wednesdays at 7:00 a.m. Beach Boot Camp, 8:15 a.m. Aquafit. Fridays at 7:00 a.m. Beach Boot Camp $10 per class. Info: natasha@sunwavefitness.com / 6533-9311

Church

Coronado Bible Church meets every Sunday at in the Chame Conference Room at Coronado Hotel at 10:15 a.m.

Catholic Mass in English every Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Capilla Del Divino Niño Church, on the Pan American Hwy. West Bound side, 200 meters west of Ferreteria Wu Chen.

Alcolholics Anyonomous

Meet in Bejuco, Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. Call 6491-4281 or 6067-7189.