1. Property Rights
1.1 Legal Protection
1.2 Registries
1.3 Formal Owndership
In-Country Assessment Information

1. Property Rights

Goal – Property rights that are legally protected, secure, recorded in a single, accurate, widely accessible electronic registry and that lead to high levels of formal ownership for all citizens



1.1 Legal Protection

Core Question: Does an effective and sufficient legal framework exist to protect property rights for all citizens? Weak, Land access is a significant issue, especially in Upper Egypt.    Personal property or status issues (including divorce, inheritance, marriage and child custody) are governed by shari‘a, and shari‘a also inspires the values behind Egypt‘s secular legal framework.


Legal Framework

1.1.1   Are property rights clearly defined and protected by law? No – Weak – Ranking 85th out of 144; Score 4.0 out of 7


Security of Tenure

1.1.2   Can citizens challenge the legality of government takings? No – Weak – 100th out of 144; Score 3.2 out of 7

Source: Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 – World Economic Forum


Bundle of Rights

Survey Question

SQ1    What is the bundle of rights (group of rights such as occupancy, use and the right to sell or lease) associated with both residential and commercial property ownership?   Weak –  Ownership of land may be secured through inheritance or purchase. Land may also be leased from the government or private owners. The government also grants types of land to private individuals and entities.  Source:  Source: USAID country profile –

back to top



1.2 Registries

Core Question: Does a reliable property registry exist including cadastral, title and mortgage lien information?  No, Weak.  Recent changes to the registration system have streamlined registration processes, reduced fees, and automated records. Prior to these changes (less than five years ago) only about 10% of real property was registered; the effects of the improvements to registration have not been fully realized.

1.2.1    Cadastral Information

Status – Strong

Survey Questions

SQ 2   Is cadastral information (information about the dimensions and location of land parcels) accessible to the public? Yes.

SQ 3   Is zoning/permitted use information included are use regulations respected and enforced?  No.

SQ 4   Are Geographic Information Systems (GIS) including Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) information used to create and update the registry? Yes.

Source:  Global Land Cover Network:

1.2.2    Title Registry

Very Weak – 95th out of 185; Trend  ↓      What is the number of procedures required to register the transfer of a property from one owner to another? 7      What is the duration of time in calendar days that it would take to complete the transfer? 72       What is the total cost of the transfer including all fees, taxes, etc. expressed as a percentage of the value of the property? 0.7% of property value

Source – Doing Business 2013 – Registering Property, World Bank

1.2.3    Mortgage Registry

Status – Very Weak

Survey Questions

SQ 5   The mandatory use of notaries or similar officials slows down and adds cost to the process. Does a notary need to be involved in the registration process?  Yes.

SQ 6     Is information in the registry available electronically? No.

SQ 7   Title insurance is indemnity insurance against financial loss from defects in title and from the invalidity or unenforceability of mortgage liens. Is title insurance available to lenders? No.

Source – Financing Homes 2008, World Bank and International Housing Finance Corporation
back to top



1.3      Formal Ownership

Core Question:  Do citizens understand and trust property rights institutions and avoid the informal sector? No, Very Weak.  The 1971 Constitution guarantees equality to all citizens and confirms women‘s rights to inherit and own property. Ownership rights in Egypt are governed by the Civil Code, which affirms women‘s rights to own, inherit and independently use property. However, tradition in Egypt dictates that property, contracts and leases should be managed by the father or husband


Survey Questions


SQ 8   What is the status of land ownership?  Very Weak. The primary means of real estate investment is speculative land banking. Egyptians will buy land around main cities and/or planned satellite towns and hold the land for years.

Source: Egypt Expert Interview and USAID Country Profile Property Rights and Resource Governance:


Home Ownership

SQ 9   What is the percentage of formal home ownership? 17.1% – Very Weak, 82.9% of housing stocks do not meet the minimum quality requirement (2005)

Source: U.N. Habitat Urban Indicators Website –


Informal Sector

SQ 10 What is the percentage of service firms that report competition with unregistered or informal firms? 46.7% (2008) Very Weak

Source: Enterprise Surveys Website

back to top


In-Country Assessment Information (as of 2013)

Field Question (FQ) 1. What is the actual status of property rights and ownership for citizens?

Many residents, both rich and poor, live in informal developments that have exceeded the intended density of the developed parcels. Many parcels in Cairo and its surrounding satellite towns are illegally subdivided to increase density by the private land owners. The informal developments are not legally registered with the government, but the government does not seek to evict the residents. Many of the informal settlements and squatters eventually become legalized because the government cannot relocate them.


FQ 2.           What is the actual experience of transferring a property?

Payments are made annually, and full transfer of land rights occurs upon termination of     payments. This project has been responsible for approximately 25% of the land reclaimed since 1988 (Madbouly 2005).

Source: USAID country profile



FQ 3.              What are the actual housing conditions for all groups including the poor, minorities and other marginalized groups?

The cost of apartments in the metropolitan area of Cairo can range from 40,000 LE to 2M LE. The poor live in ghettos where sewage and trash cover the streets. Due to informal and inconsistent developments, neighborhoods of the wealthy and the poor can be adjacent to each in the city. Each property owner subdivides, redevelops, and sells off new apartments. This is the norm, and it is daily life.

Source: Egypt Field Questions from Lin Mao


back to top