Real Estate Association’s first annual meeting offers structured legal insight


 The Sonesta Great Bay was this past Friday, 10 February, venue for the Real Estate Association St. Maarten (RAM) first annual meeting. The meeting opened with a recap of the first year of this young association and was followed by the ambitions plans RAM has for the coming year of 2012.

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RAM president, Arun Jagtiani then introduced the attorneys of the recently landed commercial law firm, VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne. The RAM members turned their attention to the center stage where for the next 2 hours, three interactive presentations were held by the attorneys. St. Maarten based attorney, Michael Druijts kicked off with an introduction to legal real estate structuring intended to demystify this often misunderstood topic where corporate entities are used to optimize real estate assets. Next, VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne’s associated firm on Anguilla, St. Kits & Nevis, Webster Dyrud Mitchell, represented by Head of Corporate & Commercial Jeremy Leese, took the presentation further, discussing the examples of real estate structures in practice. Understandably, the over 40 realtors got fired up and Jeremy had many questions to answer. Last but not least, and probably the most interactive presentation of the morning was when local VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne attorney, Peter van Dort, involved with the new St. Maarten legislation, offered a Q&A on sale and lease agreements. Even after the allocated time, the questions kept coming. RAM plans similar information sessions in the near future with topics on tax legislation, permits & zoning issues, rental laws, and new laws which may impact the real estate industry. "Overall I believe this event was an incredible success, the turn out was better then expected, and it seems like everyone is eager to have a follow up session," Said Arun Jagtiani owner of Island Real Estate Team and president of RAM. RAM’s membership consists of 60 real estate agents from 20 companies in St. Maarten and turned its activities this past year towards providing Parliament, the Minister of Finance, the Central Bank and the Tax Department with input from St. Maarten’s important real estate industry. Ram is planning to have follow up info sessions in the coming months to ensure all members are given the opportunity to have the most up to date information so they can provide their clients with educated advice, thereby improving the integrity of the industry. VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne is the leading Dutch Caribbean law firm for local, intra-insular and international matters. It is the largest law firm in the Dutch Caribbean, with offices in Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire, Sint Maarten and a Dutch Caribbean Desk in Amsterdam. VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne officially opened its offices in St. Maarten in November 2011 and the law firm is now present on all islands of the Dutch Caribbean. With the St. Maarten office also offering services to clients in St. Eustatius and Saba, as well as teaming up with lawyers in neighboring Anguilla and Nevis to serve their clients better.