Agrarian reform (AR) involves the diffusion of land ownership through the imposition of retention limits for owners of large tracts of land. It is mandatory in the sense that the landowner cannot refuse not to sell the agricultural land in excess of the retention limit to the tenants who till the same.
In urban land reform (ULR), on the other hand, a landowner cannot ordinarily be compelled to sell the land to the tenant. It is only when the land is expropriated that he or she is forced to sell, but only after due process. In the event, however, that a landowner voluntarily decides to sell the property, the tenant has a pre-emptive right to buy the property or the “right of first refusal” before it can be legally sold to another. The law compels him merely to offer it first to the tenant.
In AR, all agricultural lands are covered although exemptions may be applied for. On the other hand, ULR applies only to selected parcels of urban land.