Property rights, security of tenure and the urban poor in Metro Manila

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A restrictive formal property rights and tenure system leaves many urban poor households in Metro Manila without security of tenure. The meaning and consequences of tenure vary by tenure status and contextual characteristics of the urban poor settlements. Although security of tenure is equated with ownership and formal titles of house plots, those without tenure perceived law and order, basic services and job opportunities in the settlement to be more important elements of security. Different sub-groups of the urban poor also perceive and respond differently to tenure security issues. Innovative housing programmes had a limited impact in providing security of tenure because of their orientation towards ownership and mortgage recovery. To improve security of tenure, the study recommends utilising intermediate instruments of tenure such as land proclamations and occupancy leases. Tenure assistance programmes should also be oriented towards poverty reduction rather than simply housing or plot ownership.