Urban land tenure and property rights

The extent to which people feel secure in their housing is major determinant of the degree to which they will invest in maintaining and improving it. It is therefore vital to understand the level of tenure security that people perceive they possess and the property rights regarding land and housing that apply to different tenure categories.
International experience and the vast literature on the subject shows a range of primary tenure regimes: public and private statutory systems, customary systems, and religious systems, as in Islamic contexts. In addition to these are a vast range of non-formal or semi-formal, as when somebody legally acquired land but builds in areas not officially zoned, or when housing does not conform to official regulations. The range of tenure categories can be extremely large and each one forms a key option within the overall urban land and housing market. Understanding how these relate to each other is therefore vital in anticipating the outcomes of land policy, since a failure to reasonably anticipate the outcomes of a policy invariably mean they are different from those intended.

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