In 1998, the Investment Stability Law was created to encourage foreign investment. The State promotes and protects investments within the country, in all areas of economic activity established in the Law, and in any enterprise or contractual form in accordance with national legislation.
Foreign investors and the enterprises, in which they participate, have the same rights and duties as national investors and enterprises, with no other limitation than those established in the Political Constitution and the law, including those that refer to the freedom of trade and industry, and export and import.
Furthermore, the freedom to dispose of the profits obtained in their investments, the freedom to repatriate their capital, dividends, interest and profits produced by their investments and the freedom to commercialize their production is guaranteed hereby to said investors. Property rights for investors have no limitations other than those established by the Political Constitution and the law.
Panama Real Estate Law 45 – Article 77
This law allows the real estate investor to recover their deposit or down payment as long as they have not yet taken possession of the premises. If the dwelling is not yet complete and is lacking a certificate of occupancy taking possession would not be possible. This legislation came into effect right after the failure of the Ice Tower project and the Government of Panama became swamped with complaints from people who had invested in Ice Tower.
The law is designed to protect consumers from abusive practices of sellers of goods who have abusive clauses in what is best translated as an adhesion contract. Adhesion contract means a contract that sticks or keeps you in it with penalties of all sorts if you try to exit the business arrangement even if the developer is seriously behind schedule.
The law sets aside penalties in the agreement that would go against the consumer. The law also applies to other goods and services as long as they were never delivered. So the consumer can thus affect a full refund if they unilaterally elect to back out of the agreement.
Panama Real Estate Law 45 – Article 79
This is another article that is designed to bear down on the real estate developer in Panama. It creates a guarantee scenario regarding books, flyers, videos, ads, and other promotional material used or distributed by the developer. Their promotional materials become evidence and this evidence can be used to collect damages from the developer if there is misrepresentation of any material sort. The developer must state specific dates of delivery.
If these dates cannot be met, the buyer is generally free to depart from the agreement without penalty. If there is a substantial change of specifications, the consumer can demand proportionate discounts.