To a greater o lesser extent, doing business in a country always encompasses the use of real estate. In this article, we will cover the basics of real property rights and leases over urban facilities in Argentina.
1) Real property rights
Real property rights to do business in Argentina may be acquired mainly through ownership or surface rights. They are governed by the Civil and Commercial Code of the Nation (Código Civil y Comercial de la Nación or CCCN).
There is no restriction for foreign individuals or companies to acquire title to real estate in Argentina, except rural lands and border areas.
When individuals hold real estate, inheritance law must be addressed, since Argentine jurisdiction and laws apply to real estate located in Argentina (CCCN, Articles Number 2,643 y 2,644).
Under Article Number 1,945 of the CCCN, ownership over a land extends to the underground and airspace, to the extent their uses are possible, except as provided by special provisions and laws that may restrict the owner's rights (e.g. provisions on treasures, mining law, airspace law). All buildings, crops and plantations belong to the landowner, with the exceptions of surface rights.
According to the above-referenced legal provision, real estate property cannot be distinguished from land ownership and the same deed includes both, except for surface rights.
The CCCN regulated surface rights for the first time in Argentine law (Articles Number 2,114 through 2,128), effective as from 1 August 2015.
This new real property right enables to hold rights similar to ownership over constructions, plantations or forests and all their proceeds, separately from the land they are built or grow on (CCCN, Article Number 2,114) and for an extended period. As an owner, the surface right holder may also mortgage the surface property or subject it to the horizontal property or condominium regime (CCCN, Article Number 2,120).
Surface rights may have a maximum legal term of 50-years over plantations and forests, and of 70-years over buildings. (CCCN, Article Number 2,117).
Surface rights terminate upon expiration of the agreed upon term, express resignation, the occurrence of a subsequent condition, consolidation, or lack of use for certain terms (5-years in cases of forestation and plantation and 10-years in the event of construction) (CCCN, Article Number 2,124).
Upon termination, the landowner owns what is planted, afforested or built by the surface...