Assessing Co-Titling Desirability in Matrimonial Properties in Urban Land Ownership in Tanzania
Laws in Tanzania allow married couples joint ownership of land but in practice single land titling in the husband’s name only is most common. The ability to co-title was expected to attract couples to own their matrimonial properties jointly; however, the rate at which spouses are adopting co-titling remains low. This paper assesses the desirability of co-titling in land ownership among spouses using key informant interviews and a survey of couples. It is based on a case study of Makongo Juu settlement in Dar es Salaam City where a regularisation programme was implemented. The paper reveals a number of benefits as well as constraints of co-titling for married couples. Findings show that a majority of female spouses had little awareness of the existence of co-titling arrangements. Whereas a majority of female spouses showed interest in co-titling of their matrimonial properties, male spouses were hesitant and, in some cases, they even denied their spouses rights to matrimonial land ownership. Traces of social norms, customs and traditions that generally do not favour co-ownership of matrimonial properties were noted to influence the couple’s decisions. By looking into co-titling as a dimension of enhancing women’s matrimonial property rights, this paper contributes to a wide discussion on women’s land rights in the course of economic empowerment. The findings can be used in the formulation of gender mainstreaming policies and programmes in developing countries.