Security of Tenure in Urban Areas

Publication language
Date published
01 Jun 2017
Tools, guidelines and methodologies
Forced displacement and migration, Shelter and housing, Urban
IIED DFID Urban Crises Learning Fund

Since the majority of urban displaced live in informal settlements or in rental accommodation without formal lease agreements, tenure insecurity – the risk of forced eviction – is a defining feature of their lives (Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, 2015). Finding housing solutions in emergencies in large cities is extremely complex.

Given the co-existence of different tenure arrangements, the informalities of housing markets and the constantly changing environment of urban areas, there is a distinct need to understand the tenure systems that exist, along with the broader factors that accompany them (NRC and IFRC, 2015). However, there has been insufficient attention to security of tenure in humanitarian response (NRC and IFRC, 2015; IASC, 2010) and humanitarians operating in urban areas face many challenges in designing interventions that support security of tenure.

The emergence of new programming modalities in recent years, particularly in humanitarian shelter and legal assistance, has generated useful learning. This forms the basis for this guidance note which provides an overview of the key strategies for approaching tenure in urban humanitarian interventions. The aim is to assist humanitarians to consider ways to support security of tenure from the outset of a response.