What is tenure security and why is it important?

Tenure security refers to the owner’s right to use, sell, rent, and mortgage the property without any legal constraints. Informal settlements often have insecure tenure with limited ownership rights which creates a perennial risk of displacement and eviction for households. In addition, settlements with weak land tenure often have limited access to basic infrastructure services – such as water, roads, drainage etc. These limitations take away time from economic activities and opportunities for residents, as critical time is spent coping with service inadequacies. Inadequate tenure also prevents access to to formal financial services (due to improper property documentation) discouraging residents from improving their living conditions.

The roadmap to tenure security aims to visually depict the de jure and de facto strategies that aid in improving tenure security for three types of informal settlements in Delhi: Resettlement colonies, unauthorised colonies, and slums. The roadmap is an attempt to collate the learnings achieved through SEWA’s work and experiences on strengthening tenure security for informal settlements in Delhi.

Land Tenure Spectrum

While Delhi is home to varied types of informal settlements (JJ Clusters, unauthorised colonies, regularised unauthorised colonies, rural villages, urban villages etc.), only a few of these settlement typologies are discussed in the roadmap deriving from the on-ground experiences of SEWA’s ZAA project. This figure represents part of the spectrum of land tenure for specific informal settlements in Delhi.