Unlawful Permits and Unauthorized Use

On April 19, 2017 thru act 19 of 2017, Puerto Rico’s government decided to once again amend its main permits law, titled “Ley para la Reforma del Proceso de Permisos de Puerto Rico”. This time around, substantial amendments were performed on Article 14, regarding parties recourse when a permit is illegal (due to false or incorrect information) and /or there is an unauthorized use of a property being performed.

Article 14.1 of the statute authorizes an affected party (see definition on Art. 14.1) to file an injunction, mandamus, declaratory relief or any other “adequate” action to request the following: 1) the revocation of any permit authorized thru incorrect or false information 2) the paralysation of a regulated action started without authorization, a permits or with a disregard to the requirements established on the permit. 3) paralysation of an unauthorized use 4) the demolition of any construction, which at the moment of the filing at the court does not posses a permit (because the permit was never awarded or it was revoked).

This new amendment also strips OGPe (Puerto Rico’s Permit Office) of its jurisdiction to address a claim once a case has been filed under this article and the court has obtained jurisdiction.

Does the aforementioned process constitute an alternative to the administrative permit opposition process? Does it constitute a second turn to present objections that should have been brought forward during the administrative permit opposition process? We think not. What do you think? Read it and let us know…. Law 161-2009 Permitting Reform Law

Since Article 14 in its new form, is in its infancy, we can expect lack of consistency in the court’s rulings the first couple of years. We’ll just have to wait and see what ends up being the interpretation of the courts.


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