Secure access to land and safe shelter
Thousands of families in Puerto Rico lack legal documentation
of their land rights or home ownership.
What is tenure?
Land tenure means having evidence of ownership of the land where you live. Formalizing tenure gives you security and protection.
Secure land tenure is fundamental to safe shelter.
Tenure and recovery after a disaster
In the case of Puerto Rico, most of the disaster response aid comes from federal funds that require evidence of homeownership or tenure of the land. There are several ways to determine “owner occupancy”, however, after Hurricanes Irma and María, more than 85,000 families were denied federal assistance for not being able to present a property title.
Legal Assistance Proving Tenure
Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico and the Fundación Fondo de Acceso a la Justicia came together with the mission and vision of helping families clarify their home and land tenure rights. In 2019, they created the Tenure Program to assist low-income families to obtain evidence needed to secure their home. This program was active until June 30, 2023. The program exceeded its original goal, which was to provide legal services to 500 families. At the end of operations, the program had managed to help 618 families obtain evidence of ownership.Program Overview
Resources for Communal Land Tenure
Habitat for Humanity sponsored research regarding the use of a land trust as a legal vehicle to guarantee land tenure security for communities in Puerto Rico. We offer a link to the original report (in Spanish):
Toolkit for Creating Community Land Trusts
Building on the knowledge generated by research on trusts and land tenure, Habitat for Humanity developed a guide that explains the existing alternatives to build a more supportive land tenure model. The document (in Spanish) provides tools to examine the true needs of the community, its relationships and social and legal needs.