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Land Reform

One of the fields of activities and tasks of the Land Board is supervision, coordination and control of the execution of land reform. The Department of Land Reform is responsible for fulfilling the tasks related to land reform and for formation of the state land reserve.  

The principles of land reform are stipulated in the Land Reform Act that entered into force on 1 November 1991. Land reform is one part of the ownership reform that is executed pursuant to the Principles of the Ownership Reform Act.
Land reform is executed by the local governments and county governments. The role of the Land Board is as following:

  • it advises and supervises the activities of state agencies, local governments and county governments in the execution of land reform;
  • drafts regulations of the Government of the Republic and directives of the Minister of the Environment in municipalisation related issues;
  • organises financing of land restitution at the expense of the state;
  • identifies land suitable for the state land reserve and performs necessary procedures for retaining land in state ownership;
  • drafts appropriate legislation, etc.

Objective of land reform

Based on the continuity of rights of former owners and the interests of current land users that are protected by law, and to establish preconditions for more effective use of land, the objective of land reform is to transform relations based on state ownership of land into relations primarily based on private ownership of land.

Content of land reform

In land reform, unlawfully expropriated land is returned to its former owners or their legal successors or they are compensated therefor, land is transferred for or without charge into the ownership of persons in private law, legal persons in public law or local governments, and land to be retained in state ownership is determined.

In land reform, a right of superficies is constituted for the benefit of owners of structures, or a right of commercial lease or usufruct is established on land in the cases provided by law.

As of 1 October 2011, the land reform in Estonia was almost completed regarding the restitution and privatisation of lands, but in almost every municipality there are still several complicated and problematic cases to be settled. In total, about 10% of the Estonian territory (waterbodies included) still remains to be reformed.

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  Mustamäe tee 51, 10621 Tallinn, phone: +372 665 0600, fax: +372 665 0604, e-mail: