Most people dream of having a place to call their own, where no landlord will come knocking at their door at the end of every month to ask for rent. The best way to fulfil this dream is by first owning land. Having your own land gives you a sense of belonging and purpose. This is why so many people save their income with the hopes of acquiring land. A lot of scammers are preying on this desire to buy land. It is a nightmare when one pays to get land only to discover they’ve been conned. To stay safe, here is the legal process to buy land in Kenya:
Search and inspect the title deed
Always confirm who the owner of the land is before making any further discussions. Visit the ministry of Lands with the owner’s title deed. They will then do a search and confirm the owner. In case there are any disputes concerning the land, the ministry will inform you. This way you avoid getting in the middle of whatever conflict is going on.
Land rates are another aspect you should look at. It is every land owners responsibility to pay this rates or risk losing land. Ensure payments are up to date and if not include that as part of price negotiations.
Negotiate on the price of the land once you are satisfied with the ministry’s requirements.
Make an offer on the land, possibly lower than the asking price. Make sure everything is in
writing to make it legal.
After negotiating and agreeing on the price, a sale agreement is drafted by the seller’s lawyer.The agreement is presented to the buyer’s lawyer. It contains details such as date, names of lawyers and witnesses and terms of sale. Go through it with the lawyer and make sure every term agreed upon is in clear print. Then proceed to pay the agreed deposit to the seller’s lawyer account. Sometimes one may be advised not to make any payments before being cleared by land control board.
Get land maps which can be obtained from a local surveyor or the land ministry. It will cost you kshs300 or less if you get it from a local surveyor. The maps should be two: one is an overview of the land showing adjacent plots and the other drawn to scale.
Upon getting the maps, visit the site with the seller and surveyor to verify dimensions.
Land control board clearance
They have the final say on whether a piece of land is eligible for sale. They look at things like whether the land is not supposed to be sold or if the spouse has agreed to the sale. They consist of assistant county commissioners and local village elders who meet once a month for 1,000/=.
Another easier alternative is the Special Land Control Board (SLCB). Unlike with the former, the meeting takes 2 hours, costs 5,000/= and involves the assistant county commissioner and the seller and buyer.
Payment and Transfer of land
The buyer finally makes payment per the agreement and then the seller transfers the land by signing a land transfer form.
The form contains:
Old title deed
Land rates clearance form and certificate
Correctly filled booking form
Official land search
Consent to transfer land
Armed with all this, visit the ministry to change land ownership for 5k.
Payment of stamp duty
Apply for the valuation of the land by the government valuer using valuation filled by the seller. The land’s value determines the amount you’ll pay. 4% land value will go to municipalities and 2% to reserve.
Visit the ministry after a week to ensure the land is in your name. In case of any corrections, rectify then go back again after a week. Upon completing the process you’re a land owner! The process may seem long but it is worth it. Never use a shortcut unless you want to wreck havoc in your life.
Fake title deed
Living in a land without a title deed or a fake one is just trouble. You can be kicked out anytime. Not forgetting the amount spent on buying land. Be very cautious when getting a land title. An article published in 2017 revealed that a gang issued lots of fake title deeds to unsuspecting buyers. They colluded with rogue police officers and officials from the ministry of lands. The police officers would forge IDs and protect the members while ministry officials would fake the title. Anyone that got in the way was eliminated. Imagine how many cartels exist out there like this! Tread carefully and here are some guidelines that may help you:
Engage a professional lawyer you can “trust” and let him/ her do some digging on the
land. The money you’ll spend is nothing compared to the one you might lose.
Talk to neighbors, locals and chiefs.
Visit the CID and get a list of lands with issues
Seller’s ID search. Done at the Registration of Person's bureau.
Visit the exact location, don’t buy into an online narrative.
Do a couple of title deed searches using different people at different times.