To further confuse the foreign real estate buyer there are Mexican Ejido lands that were established in a land reform movement initiated by President Lazaro Cardenas in the 1930's. He also confiscated foreign owned lands, nationalized the nation's oil (threw out the foreign owned oil companies), and established the Ejido peasant cooperatives. The Ejidos were given the use of large parcels of land for agricultural purposes and government loans to finance planting and cultivation in Mexico. Much of Baja California's Ejido properties are coastal desert, unsuitable for farming but ideal as tourist camps and gringo baja retirement communities.
The Possessors of land and the Ejidos cannot sell their property to anyone, be they foreigner or Mexicano but can rent or sell the use rights to the property. At this writing, the Ejido privatization program is in process and under certain conditions foreigners can purchase property from Ejidos or enter into joint venture commercialization of the property. The laws controlling Ejido property agreements are subject to conditions that are specific and unique to each cooperative and require expert counsel for interpretation.
Conflicts often result when the foreign client becomes confused and paranoid about the legal right of his "landlord" to assure compliance with a long term lease or contract for usage. Problems can also occur when a landlord dies and the heirs decide to change the relationship; or at lease renewal time when the landlord wants a significant increase in the lease payments.
Flames of conflict are often fanned by an unethical, often unlicensed, Mexican attorney who perceives an opportunity to extract fees for title studies, lease contract analysis and promised litigation to secure the foreigner's "rights". Unscrupulous Mexican attorneys often extract a hefty retainer and provide no real services for the client.
Mexico's socialist traditions create property "ownership" concepts that baffle Gringos . For example, there is a phenomenon in Mexico called PARACAIDISTAS, translation - parachutists. A quick descent upon public or private lands by squatters who literally seem to fall from the sky to create "overnight" cardboard shack communities.
Until the mid 1980's the best a private landowner could do in Baja California was contain the invasion by fencing and guarding the remaining lands un-invaded by the squatters. Government officials were sympathetic to property owners but would usually avoid the political risk of taking action against the invaders. The PAN party came to power in Baja California in 1988 and began providing more protection of personal property rights than previous PRI party governorships.
The political and historic gringo view of protecting "private property" is based on a capitalist tradition and model; quite different than the more socialist view of land in Mexico. The Mexican tradition: if you are not working or occupying all of your land you obviously have too much land. Therefore, why not share it with your less fortunate countrymen. The idea of land banking or using real estate as a commodity is rare among Mexicans. It is typically the reserve of corrupt politicians who control regional planning and commit public funds to accelerate property values in which they have a vested interest.