Investors Warm Up to Chile

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Located in the southern part of South America, Chile is 3,000 miles long, bordered on one side by Cordillera de los Andes, one of the highest and longest mountain ranges in the world and on the other side by the Pacific Ocean. Boasting a stable economy, Chile has become the Latin America entry door for foreign investments.

Since 1980, the real estate industry enjoyed an explosive and sustained growth with the development of well constructed, quality buildings. Today, there are nearly 20,000 community associations. Condominiums, homeowner associations, office buildings and apartments all operate under a unique law of condominiums adapted and promulgated in 1998.

While 1,500 property managers are registered, there are no experience or education requirements to enter the field. Colegio de Gestion y Administracion Inmobiliaria de Chile (CGAI) is the only property management association that provides education and ethical guidance to its 450 associates who manage more than 68 percent of the country's real estate.

Chile's property managers make use of state-of-the-art technology in the buildings they manage. Earthquake and fire protection, security access control, emergency electric generation and other devices are required in every building with five floors or more.

Condominium law dictates specific operational requirements including:

* A definition of common areas and goods of the building.

* A description of co-owners' rights and obligations.

* Condominium decisions are made by an assembly with minimum quorums.

* A board of directors represents the condominium complex and assembly.

* The condominium association may either hire a property manager or delegate this duty to the board of directors. Responsibilities of the property manager are clearly spelled out.

* Property managers may be individuals (at least 18 years old) or companies. No educational degree is required.

* An emergency procedures plan approved by local firemen and policemen is required. …