What does “systematic land registration” mean?
Systematic land registration is a process during which the government, on its own initiative, systematically surveys land plots in specific geographic areas, collects the relevant documents and registers land titles.
Systematic land registration is free for all citizens.
According to the order of the Minister of Justice of Georgia, 59 municipalities of Georgia were defined as the geographical areas for systematic registration, and the systematic registrations of these areas will be completed by the end of 2024.
How is the reform progressing at this stage?
Systematic land registration is being carried out successfully and at a high pace throughout the country. During the working day, about 2500 land plots are measured and a similar number are registered. Since January 1, 2022, more than 408,000 land plots have been measured, of which ownership rights have already been registered for more than 330,000 land plots. Within the framework of systematic land registration reform, field/survey works have been completed in Abasha, Kaspi, Samtredia, Senaki and Lagodekhi municipalities.
Who is the reform for? Who can benefit from the reform?
Within the framework of systematic registration private, state or municipally owned land plots will be fully surveyed and registered, unified database will be created. Those persons who could not register the right of ownership due to lack of proper documents on land plots, gaps in documents, neighborhood disputes, lack of fees required for cadastral planning/surveying drawing or other reasons, will be able to become owners of land plots in their possession without leaving their place of residence, free of charge, easily, without financial and bureaucratic barriers. Land plot survey, collection and systematization of registration documents, verification of signatures of the parties to transaction, recognition of ownership rights to land plots, ascertainment of facts, registration of ownership rights and changes in it are performed free of charge (without compensation).
With what resource does the National Agency of Public Registry carry out the reform?
The National Agency of Public Registry has gradually retrained and employed hundreds of employees since 2022. Today, 660 certified surveyors and 262 registrars are involved in the work.
Systematic land registration is a landmark and of fundamental importance for our country. Land plots transferred to the population with incomplete documentation in the 1990s are being registered, survey drawings created with inaccurate tools in the 2000s are being corrected, and the boundaries of the land plots registered on the basis of “whoever gets first“ are being corrected.
Success of the reform is determined by a properly planned process, detailed analysis of the work carried out in advance on the pilot areas, gradually increased scope, trained, certified and qualified employees, an appropriate number of off-road vehicles, the latest and the highest precision surveying tools.
Has a reform of such a scale been carried out so far that would fix the problems of the land market?
For years, the National Agency of Public Registry has had to deal with the systematic errors made in the process of transferring lands to the population in the 1990s and the results of the “systematic registration” conducted in 1999-2003, which were unprepared and adjusted to the political agenda, resulting in substantial violations.
The results were so poor and inaccurate that no one signed the delivery-acceptance acts drawn up by the state for the purpose of handing over the works. Additionally, during the elections in the summer of 2012, within a few days, the computer program allegedly registered up to 500,000 land plots, which were completely out of touch with reality and were subsequently canceled by the population themselves over the years.
It was the unfilled documents in the 1990s, the “systematic registration” conducted with fundamental violations in 1999-2003, the registration rule based on the “first come-first served” principle in the 2000s, and up to half a million copies printed for no reason in the summer of 2012 that accumulated the problems of overlap between the cadastral borders of land plots. As part of the current systematic registration reform, unregistered land plots are being surveyed and registered, as well as the cadastral data and boundaries of 60% of the previously registered land plots are corrected.
From the experience of the past, what has changed today during the current reform?
As a result of the strengthening of the National Agency of Public Registry and the Justice system as state institutions, the current reform is carried out with the best technology in the world. An electronic minutes application has been created and surveyors have tables in the field. The surveyors show the residents the shape of the land plot, area, layout of the neighboring lands, and only after that the final decision is made and the survey drawing approved by the owner is uploaded to the database. Electronic programs have significantly reduced the registration time. Just one year ago, it was necessary to first measure the land plot, then process the cadastral data by a specialist in the office and prepare a survey drawing. If it turned out that the boundaries of the surveyed land plot overlapped with the registered data of another land plot, it was necessary to repeat the surveying works.
After gaining independence, Georgia, for the first time, managed to create a project, prepare both a technical and legal base, train employees, analyze the challenges in all regions of the country and only then start field/survey work directly.
The need for systematic land registration had been highlighted in the National Agency of Public Registry for two decades, but it was not possible to start the work. Only at the beginning of 2022, with the initiative and efforts of the Minister of Justice, Rati Bregadze, with the support of the Prime Minister of Georgia, it was possible to make this most important decision and mobilize the relevant funds from the Georgian budget. It was the first time that the systematic registration reform was started in a manner and form focused on the interests of the population, and the work was not connected to the issue of elections and the political agenda for the first time.
The high activity of the population, professionalism and conscientious attitude of the National Agency of Public Registry employees, high quality surveying tools and proper software, are the main reasons that by the end of 2024, all land plots in Georgia will be surveyed and registered in the National Agency of Public Registry.
Systematic registration has a significant economic effect. It contributes to the protection of land ownership, effective land management, stable, healthy and reliable civil turnover, development of the agricultural sector and agribusiness, landowner is given the opportunity to attract investments, develop infrastructure, which is ultimately the basis of the country’s economic progress.
In addition to the systematic land registration, the National Agency of Public Registry is also implementing the addressing reform/project.
According to the data of January 1, 2022, 70% of populated areas of Georgia were without addresses. Municipal and village boundaries were not specified and established. The response reform to this challenge started in 2022, and after its completion, the address register of Georgia will be complete.
At the end of 2023, a map of all municipalities, excluding the occupied territories, will be submitted to the Parliament of Georgia, detailing the borders of municipalities and villages. After the boundaries are established, the National Agency of Public Registry is ready to begin the formation of addresses, which involves the formation and numbering of streets in municipalities and villages.
From the beginning of the reform until today, the boundaries of 60 municipalities and 3,692 were worked out, and relevant cartographic data were created. In 2,485 villages where streets were never formed, 45,692 street, lane and alley maps were created.
By September of this year, all streets of all municipalities will be formed. Providing an address will be simplified and it will be in full compliance with international addressing standards.
After the completion of the reform, we will have a perfect navigation system in Georgia, on which the road network, real estate and lands will be given with the corresponding addresses. This will significantly improve the delivery of government services, including emergency care.