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Property / land register


A property / land register is a register or collection of records with spatial relevance. More specifically, a property / land register is a country-wide register of all plots of land (surveyed parcels or other plots) with descriptions. The information held in the register is compiled on the basis of geodata. The property / land register may generally be viewed by anyone who can prove a legitimate interest. A property / land register enshrines farmers’ ownership of land in law, it increases incentives for farmers to implement long-term investments and environmental protection measures, it improve access to financial services (e.g. by enabling land to be used as collateral) and to field-based subsidy payments, it creates opportunities for farmers to sell farmland and for the government to raise property taxes and it enables the designation of water and drinking water protection areas and ecological focus areas.

A property / land register consists of two parts. The descriptive part (the property register) contains the description of the plot, its geographical situation and address, the names of the owners, the type of use and the size of the plot. The second part is the parcel or cadastral map. Its scale can vary between 1:500 and 1:5000, depending on the level of detail required. The titles and encumbrances associated with each plot of land are also documented.
Changes can be agreed between two parties, for example purchases, sales, leasing or mortgaging, or take place as a result of social events such as a birth, death, marriage or divorce.

Property / Land register systems differ greatly worldwide. One method involves registering all land titles in a particular area. Another method involves keeping a written record of changes to ownership only, or registering property rights. Most systems in use today use the title registration method. However, many countries do not have a land register at all.


  • A properly functioning country-wide administration and monitoring system with access to the relevant information and sufficient technical and human capacities for its design, implementation and monitoring
  • Clear and coherent political strategy and targets for policy-makers and public authorities
  • Clear responsibilities in public authorities
  • Close cooperation and knowledge sharing with farmers' organisations
  • Participation of all stakeholders involved, e. g. science / research, agricultural advisory services, civil society, public and private sector (incl. farmers and their interest groups)
  • Regulatory framework
  • Regulatory framework for protecting ownership of agricultural land
  • Respect for cultural landscape and traditions
  • Technical facilities to record geodata (varies depending on the scale of the cadastral map)

Possible Negative Effects

  • Traditional, non-documented land rights and land management systems not respected
  • Traditional users driven out or forced to resettle elsewhere to the benefit of national and international investors
  • Necessary structural change restricted (e.g. where strict splitting of real estate is practised)
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This page was last edited on 7 May 2023 | 7:22 (CEST)
  • Instruments
  • Policy Objectives