Known as the Agro Law, the Law 13,986/20 provides in its Articles 7 and following the Rural Heritage in Affectation (PRA), a kind of guarantee of financing in agribusiness that allows the rural owner the segregation of rural property in its entirety or only in one or more fractions. The objective is to guarantee certain credit securities, including the Rural Producer's Ballot (CPR) and the Rural Real Estate Card (CIR).

The PRA is inspired by the existing equity allocation in real estate development and seeks to promote the financing of the rural sector as a credit aid mechanism. According to the explanaming memorandum Provisional Measure 897/19, which gave rise to the Agro Law, the PRA aims to "simplify and expand access to financial resources by rural property owners, and may even improve the conditions of negotiation in rural financing".

From an environmental point of view, the Agro Law establishes certain environmental obligations for the constitution of the PRA:

  • Among the documents necessary for the registration of the PRA in the registration of the property, we highlight the registration of the property in the Rural Environmental Register (CAR), in accordance with the Law No. 12,651/12 (Article 12, item I, point "b");
  • In case of constitution of the PRA on part of the rural property, the unaffected fraction must meet all environmental obligations provided for by law, including in relation to the affected area (Article 12, § 2º); and
  • The PRA or its party linked to each CIR must comply with the provisions of environmental legislation (Article 22, § 2).

Although the law determines compliance with environmental standards for the constitution of the PRA, the institute still needs to be implemented to demonstrate its effectiveness, in the event of default of the debtor and consequent transfer of the affected area to the creditor.

This is because the Agro Law does not regulate responsibility for the environmental liabilities of the area. If environmental damage is found in the property or in its fraction destined for PRA, it is understood that the environmental liability will be automatically transferred to the new owner, by force of the obligation propter rem. That is, the obligation will be transferred along with the right of ownership to the new owner.

Pursuant to Article 2, § 2, of the Forest Code, Federal Law 12,651/12, the obligations provided by law are real in nature and are transmitted to the successor, of any nature, in the case of transfer of dominion or possession of the rural property.

The legal provision translates the concept of obligation propter rem to the extent that it provides for the obligation to maintain and restore permanent preservation areas and legal reserve to the owner, even if it was not the cause of environmental degradation.

In other words, the duty of repair and restoration stems from the right subject's position in relation to the thing. It is, therefore, an obligation originated from the thing, because of the thing. What establishes the obligation is not the conduct itself, but the actual subjective bond.

As highlighted above, since the Agro Law does not regulate the form of accountability for the existing environmental liability in the affected area – for example, any legal reserve deficit or permanent preservation areas that have not been preserved – the new owner will assume the said liability, based on the obligation propter rem, where that issue has not been the subject of prior agreement between the parties.

It is worth noting that the Law 11,101/05, which regulates judicial recovery, extrajudicial and bankruptcy of the entrepreneur and business society, has recently been amended by the Law 14,112/20, which included in Article 60, § 1, the prediction that the Isolated Productive Unit (UPI)[1] shall be free from any burden and there shall be no succession of the bidder in the obligations of the debtor of any nature, including, but not exclusively, those of an environmental nature.

In such a case, the legislature made an exception to the propter rem in the UPI trespass. However, for the case of PRA, the Agro Law is not expressed in this sense. With this, nature propter rem environmental obligations related to the property involved in the PRA will remain.



[1] UPI is provided for in Article 60 of Law 11,101/05, which provides that "if the approved judicial recovery plan involves judicial disposal of subsidiaries or production units isolated from the debtor, the judge will order its realization". In summary, UPI is an asset of the company that can be disposed of in isolation during the judicial recovery process, with the aim of preserving the development of the company's activities and also the payment of the total or part of the debts of the company in judicial recovery.