On June 27, 2011, an amendment to the Penal Code for the Federal District (Código Penal para el Distrito Federal or CPDF) was published in the Official Gazette of the Federal District (Gaceta Oficial del Distrito Federal), which included, among others, the modification to article 343 bis with respect to using real property in a manner that is different from the authorized land use. Previously the law sanctioned the unlawful use of real property contrary to the authorized land use, while the new amendment imposes sanctions of three to nine years of imprisonment and a fine on the persons who intentionally use land in a manner other than that which is authorized, making this a serious crime under which one is not eligible for release on bail. The offense is deemed more serious in the event it is committed with respect to real property located on natural preserves, protected areas, ravines or green areas within urban lands. The same amendment modified article 254 of the CPDF to sanction criminal organization, which is defined to be when three or more persons participate in a permanent or repeated manner to commit an unlawful act resulting in imprisonment from four to ten years. While it is true that the effective application of the plans, laws and regulations as to urban development in Mexico is very important, the amendment to the CPDF has some significant deficiencies. As a general rule, the improper use of real property has been administratively sanctioned with closure, demolition and fines, among other measures. However, as a result of the apparent inability and refusal of the authorities to enforce the laws, those who continue to engage in unauthorized land use, will be subject to more serious sanctions. . As a result of this situation, it is important to verify that any real property located in the Federal District is being properly used, especially those properties to be developed for commercial and industrial purposes, in order to take adequate measures when necessary.
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