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Rio state in Brazil issues land titles to slum dwellers

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: A third of the people (nearly 5 million people) in Rio state, Brazil, don’t have title to their homes. Now, nonprofit organisations, human rights groups and local government officials undertook the task to give legal title to eligible people in slums, Fox News reported. According to the report, this initiative aims to reduce crime rate before 2016 Olympics.

The titling process also means an area is officially mapped, giving residents an address to put on job applications or to use when opening a bank account. Bento Rubiao Foundation, a nonprofit organisation, is working with the Rio de Janeiro city to map out and title 8,000 properties in Rocinha, including that of Braga. The foundation is preparing the title claims for approximately 30,000 families statewide, said the organisation’s executive coordinator, Ricardo Gouvea.

The foundation recently won an unprecedented ruling that allows an entire community to get titled collectively. That case will help nearly 100 families receive their property papers all at once, and could be used to help other communities in the same way, Gouvea said.

The right to occupy unused land is guaranteed in Brazil’s constitution. Legally, after five years of use, a resident can claim ownership. In reality, Brazil’s sluggish court system often turned those five years into 20. There was also discrimination against shantytowns and those who lived there.

A state law approved earlier this year allows the land agency to register property formally owned by the state as a donation to the family occupying it, doing away with legal and bureaucratic hurdles. Using the law, the state of Rio will regularise about 10,000 properties this year and about 37,000 over the next four years.

Source: Fox News