Land Administration

The term was established by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in its Land Administration Guidelines adopted in 1996. In these guidelines the UNECE defines land administration as “the processes of determining, recording and disseminating information about ownership, value and use of land and its associated resources. These processes include the determination (sometimes called ‘adjudication’) of land rights and other attributes, surveying and describing these, their detailed documentation, and the provision of relevant information for supporting land markets”.

Land Administration Institution (LAI)

Land Administration Institutions are civil service institutions which provide management services for land or real estate ownership, the key ones being State Property Registries, national Cadastral Office and Land Registry Office Institutions, Regularization of Tenure Institutions and Institutions for Titleholders for Social Purposes. Institutions that develop and apply land policies, manage and administer Protected Areas, Municipal districts that administer ejidos, urban planning departments of cities and towns, collection of land tax and some institutions acting as land ownership titleholders are also considered. Finally they also include institutions specializing in ownership dispute resolution and those that administer Indigenous Community lands.

Land Administration Programme (LAP)

These are projects or programmes organized by central governments with the support of international cooperation agencies which seek to increase the legal certainty and security of tenure through efficient, transparent, decentralized land administration services accessible to all. See the experience of LAPs in Latin America (module 1) for further information.

Land Administration System (LAS)

This is the state system, based within a legal framework, which administers property right policies and information management through its various institutions. It establishes the administrative and legal procedures for land transfer, the physical attributes of territory, uses, land valuation and tax burdens, which provide security and legal certainty about ownership.

Land owned under the ejido system

See Ejido

Land Ownership

Property or arrangements under which the rights to use land are exercised. The circumstances vary greatly from country to country, and range from land occupied by the owner, to communal or state ownership. There are different land ownership systems which allow individuals to use a property for various purposes. Some of the more usual land ownership systems in Latin America are: private ownership, leasing with option to purchase, share tenancy (colonato) and collective titling of land.

Land Register

The land register is where all land properties in a territorial locality are recorded by the registrar, stating their owners, and where changes and limits of the rights conferred by the said properties are entered. As regards land properties, the land register is a record of the status of the commercial rights to a property, generally organized and updated chronologically. According to the conservation regimen for land properties or land property book, the land register follows its own rules regarding form and authentication.

Land Tenure System

The land tenure system in a given jurisdiction comprises the set of possible bases under which land may be used. As such this range encompasses both rural and urban tenures and includes ownership, tenancy and other arrangements for the use of land. Land tenure regimen will be used here with the same meaning.

  • Formal land tenure system. This refers to the legislation and state institutions that govern rights to land and natural resources within the borders of a State.
  • Customary land tenure system. A series of rules established by custom which define the rights of access for persons in a specific social group to particular natural resources.
  • Informal land tenure system. When neither formal nor customary legal frameworks are effective or suited to local conditions, discontented or defrauded social players may create ad hoc informal land tenure systems with their own rules, authorities and institutions. These systems are not recognized.