The difference between land tenure and ownership is a common question for those looking for real estate in Paraty. The fast answer is as follows: when the estate has an Estate Registration Number (RGI), there is ownership. When it doesn´t, it´s a case of land tenure.

The Federal Government started registering all existing estates in Brazil around fifty years ago.  Each estate received a registration number.There was one Land Registry in each region. In small cities like Paraty there is only one, but in cities like São Paulo, there is one in every neighborhood.Each Land Registry started with number 01 and followed the sequence. That´s why it´s important to know both the registration number and the name of the Registry.

Many areas in Paraty were almost inaccessible at the time of the registration process, so many estates didn´t receive a registration number. That´s why they currently don´t have ownership documents.

Land tenures (or titles) may become Ownership through Usucapio lawsuit, where a judge will verify if there are federal, state or municipal impediments to provide a registration number. Very few people opt for this lawsuit because it´s long and expensive.

It´s possible to buy and sell estates regardless of the registration number in Notary Public offices.  There are specific types of deeds for tenures and ownerships.

And there are advantages and disadvantages in both cases.  In tenure cases, the necessary documents and costs are fewer because the deed won´t have a registration number (RGI). Banks don´t accept land tenures for mortgage or attachment, which makes them harder to be tracked by creditors.

On the other hand, when you buy the ownership of an estate you have the certainty of dealing with the real owner, the one whose name is on the last registration (RGI). That is why extra care is necessary when buying a land title. For example:

– Check if the taxes are issued under the name of the seller (IPTU, INCRA, ITR and/or SPU);

– Ask for a blueprint signed by adjoined land owners (notarized);

– Check for how long the seller has had the land tenure;

– Informally talk with the neighbors to find out about possible impediments;

– Get the signature of all heirs in case of inheritance;