According to Brazilian authorities, about 100 million Brazilians don’t have property rights. This deprives the government of a crucial source of taxes, especially considering the recession currently plaguing the country.
As the South American country attempts to include the housing sector in its formal economy by providing title deeds for millions of unregistered homes, the government’s plan has been met with opposition from over 80 groups including urban planners, environmentalists and land rights campaigners.
In December, the Brazilian Ministry of Cities initiated the plan to commence formal registration of properties without consulting with municipal officials and urban planners, according to Pedro da Luz Moreira who is the president of the Institute of Architects of Brazil.
Moreira insists the plan will cause land prices to rise, forcing out poor residents. Over 20 percent of Brazilian residents in major cities live in irregular communities that lack basic amenities called favelas.
Even as officials continue to insist on the immense benefits for residents who register their homes, people like Tais Borges who is an urban planner at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has worked on property regularisation with Brazil’s government, think obtaining formal titles for favela residents is not top priority as the major concerns are sewage and parking.
Borges insists it’s more important for the government to focus on building infrastructure for deprived communities before working on regularising land titles.
Favela dwellers like Mauricio Hora believe giving people formal titles makes it easy to remove them. As major investors aren’t keen on investing in properties without proper documentation, the informal arrangement serves to protect favela residents from gentrification.
If the government does succeed with its plans and millions of favela dwellers get title deeds, it could mean massive investment opportunities for property investors.