Informal settlements in Tanzania accommodate more than 70% of the urban population. Owing to this, the Tanzanian government has undertaken several initiatives to address the growing size and number of informal settlements.
One such initiative is regularisation which addresses security of tenure for residents of these settlements. Most of the people living in informal settlements lack legal land ownership and as a result properties in such settlements have relatively less value and lack security of tenure. Providing security of tenure is believed to encourage investment into informal households and facilitate the provision of urban services. This study aims to evaluate the process of regularisation in three Tanzanian settlements; Magengenu in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania’s largest city), Ibungilo and Isamilo in Mwanza city (the nation’s second largest city). Using qualitative data the paper explores the challenges and opportunities that emerged from regularisation. Findings indicate that the regularisation process has facilitated the issuance of title deeds, increased land value and security of tenure. However, a number of challenges were highlighted during regularisation. These include an over-emphasis on the protection of private rights while undermining public interests, a lack of harmonised cost for regularisation, and prolonged delays in completing the regularisation process. These require policy actions, particularly reviewing the national informal settlements regularisation guidelines, as a way to address the weaknesses emerging from regularisation projects in the studied settlements. We conclude that land regularisation remains an important tool to enhance livable cities and protect long-term public and private interests in land development. In order to achieve this, supportive policy actions are required to support the protection of public interests in land regularisation and harmonise the costs of regularisation.