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"Buying" a house in Cuba?

:slight_smile: Was just talking to a friend who says his daughter is married to a Cuban (living in Canada) and they bought his family a house in Cuba.

Can anyone explain how this is can be done? I am confused. :-*

I don’t think it can be done - even divorced couples still live in the same house, and if they have the money they build a wall. You get assigned a house. If you are on your own property that you owned before the Revolution, I think you can build on that land. Did he give money to build on their property? that’s all I can think of.

when we were in Varadero we took a private tour of Havana, our tour guide took us on a tour of his home he was building in Matanzas on the way home. I, unfortunately didn’t ask about the financial details but he did tell us that he owned it, and was building as fast as he could get money from his side job, and as quickly as he could buy materials (cement).
I don’t know the arraignments, but unless he had some partial ownership, I doubt he would be working that hard and spending all his spare money to build the house.

Perhaps to get a place to live away from a larger family group.

there s lots of for sale signs in Havana

There are a few people who own deeds to their property or home. but these are veryold and NOT sold.

I think there is an underground economy around this ‘ownership’ thing. I believe what happens - from what I have been told - is one person has the ‘right’ to live in a house. They ‘sell’ the right (their permission) to build a room on the property. It may be a 2nd story or a converted garage. They get money from the person - they get permission to live there and they say that they bought a place. But in actual fact they have only bought the permission to live there.

This is what I have been able to piece together from some freinde

[quote=@canuks]There are a few people who own deeds to their property or home. but these are veryold and NOT sold.

I think there is an underground economy around this ‘ownership’ thing. I believe what happens - from what I have been told - is one person has the ‘right’ to live in a house. They ‘sell’ the right (their permission) to build a room on the property. It may be a 2nd story or a converted garage. They get money from the person - they get permission to live there and they say that they bought a place. But in actual fact they have only bought the permission to live there.

This is what I have been able to piece together from some freinde[/quote]
I’m not trying to be disagreeable but this fellow was building a stand alone house, on a piece of property that didn’t look like it ever had a building on it before.
Maybe I should have asked more questions but I try to let the Cubans tell me what they feel comfortable telling, and the rest is up to my imagination.

iggy1
even permission to build on the property costs. To my knowledge they still do not own - like you and I understand the concept of owning one’s home. This is only my interpretation of what I experienced. And I too was confused as was always under the impression that ‘ownership’ of land belonged to the gov’t and a few ‘original’ land owners.

I can be corrected but this is how it was explained to me.

In Jamaica there is a squatters ownership that takes hold after (I have forgotten the # of years) a number of years, uninterrupted, that a person lives in a home. If the property owner does not kick the person off the land they can eventually own that parcel of land. Now I do not think that is possible with the gov’t owning the land.

http://www.sepermuta.com/ is the site cubans use as a real estate market. Remember in Cuba everything is illegal, but everything is possible :wink: There’s currently a hit song by the popular band Klimax, played on the state radio stations… about the impossible: buying a house…

I am not totally clear on how it works, but I also know of people who have built homes, and others who still ‘own’ a small piece of land. In one case an upstairs self-contained unit was added on top of an existing house, and in another a freestanding small house is being built on an empty lot that was family property ‘before’. (Prior to the revolution her grandparents had owned a mansion that was taken over by government for use as a hotel, so the small lot may have been left to provide them more modest housing which no one has been able to build for a generation.)

In Cuba if you want to move, the system allows trading of houses, so perhaps you could trade for an empty lot too. I understand that profit-motivated property speculation shouldn’t happen, and houses cannot be sold, as we would understand it. (I suspect that your are mainly trading the ‘right to occupy’ the place, as indicated by Canuks, rather than unrestricted ownership rights as we understand them.) Instead of looking for a buyer, you look for a ‘trade’. Money may in fact change hands to balance out a deal if the values of the things are not agreed to be equal, but that $ part would be under the table I believe.

Another interesting thing is that if the occupants die or no longer uses the house, and if there are no relatives who take it over, the property (or right to occupy it?) is reassigned to someone chosen by government officials. If a family leaves Cuba, they are not allowed to sell the accommodation they are leaving behind, so they ‘loose’ the family home and any possible proceeds from it.

If you are seeking your first home and have no vacant land for building and no accommodation to trade, I can think of two other possibilities (there may be more others can suggest): has a relative has moved out/died and you are entitled to move in? Or are you were on the list waiting for a new place to be assigned and your turn has finally come? In either case the money from your foreign relative may be necessary to make necessary repairs etc, or, unfortunately sometimes, to encourage a poorly paid official to move you up the list for required permissions.

On th e bright side, the idea is for everyone to have housing, but not ‘too much’ for anyone. Profiting from rising house values would be unacceptable capitalism. Of course, right now in North America, LOSING money and family homes because of artificially inflated housing values seems to be the main way of capitalism, but what do I know! :>)

Iggy - Yes, if your friend in Cuba has enough money, construction material and permits, it is possible that he is building a new place that he will be entitled to occupy. A foreigner would not be able to own property or deal in it under their own name.

Merry Christmas everybody - and deck your halls, which you happily occupy, with holly and whatever else you might enjoy most!

I was led to this site from another forum, then I found the following radio broadcast.

Right on topic.

We just recently returned from cuba, and our guide explained that you are given land and can build on that land, as long as you are working you will own this house after 20 years. We got in to a discussion on if they had classes in cuba, we see some cubans who are working and working hard, and others who are down and out, and others are making it by. He explained that if you work you are paid by the govt., and others choose not to work then they don’t own there building. You will see others working at markets and they have to give a portion of there monies back to the govt. This does not answer the original question but some of us can work for more than 20 years and we still wouldn;t own our homes.

Read this just a couple of days ago

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/crossing_continents/7795891.stm

The BBC has loads of articles and stories on Cuba right now for the 50th Anniversary

[quote=@makemineamojito]Read this just a couple of days ago

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/crossing_continents/7795891.stm

The BBC has loads of articles and stories on Cuba right now for the 50th Anniversary
[/quote]

I think this is the article of the broadcast I posted above.

Thanks for that post, Gambitt.

As usual, Cuba goes (a little bit) crazy in the New Year…