Securing your piece of land in Kenya can often feel like a challenging puzzle. This is because navigating through the legalities can be a daunting task if you don’t know where to start. However, the answer lies in knowing how to conduct a title deed search online. In this internet era, you don’t have to waste your money traveling to the Ministry of Lands offices for a land search.
An online title deed search comes in handy if you’re buying a piece of land and want an easy way to authenticate the legitimacy of the seller’s title deed. Keep reading to find out how to conduct a title deed search online in Kenya.
Procedure on How to Conduct a Title Deed Search Online
Conducting a title deed search online is relatively straightforward. Here are the steps:
- Open the “e-Citizen website” and create a new account. If you have an existing account, sign in to it.
- Tap the “Ministry of Land and Physical Planning” tab.
- Choose “Land search” from the menu.
- Type the “Title number” of the title deed you want the seller to transfer to your name.
- Fill in the “Land search form” that will pop up.
- Touch “Submit” to enable the e-Citizen system to search.
- Select your “payment option” among credit card, debit card, or M-PESA options. The amount to pay is 500 Kenyan shillings.
- After that, print your title search results. You can print these results anytime, as they remain on your eCitizen account.
The Information to Confirm During Land Search
An original title deed has unique data pieces you should confirm when conducting a land search. These include:
- Title Number: Some unscrupulous land sellers can fake a title deed and vanish soon after selling the property to you. One thing you should focus on during the title deed search is the title number. Compare if the number on the seller’s title deed is the same on the Lands Registry’s records.
- History of Land Ownership: It is not always that you will buy land from the first owner. So, consider checking how often the land has changed ownership. Then, find out if the current seller is genuine by comparing the names on their National ID and the land search results. Checking the history of land ownership can prevent you from buying a property with legal issues or family-related conflicts.
- Land Size: Are you buying land in acres or hectares? Did the seller lie about the actual land size hoping you would ignore a title deed search? The solution is to know how to do a title deed search online and ask an expert land surveyor to go with you during a site visit. After they give you the real land measurements, check if the title search shows the same result.
- Land Location: Check if the location on the original title deed is the same one that appears in your title search results. Also, investigate where in the county the land you wish to buy is. During the site visit, study the area to find out if it has the social amenities you desire.
- Clearance: Some land buyers have gotten in trouble with the authorities due to unpaid property taxes they knew nothing about. A clearance check should be thorough enough to disclose if the seller has paid all the land fees and taxes. The seller should have property clearance certificates confirming they do not owe the county government.
How To Do a Land Search Offline
Some people prefer to do some crucial activities like a title deed search in person. Some may perform the title deed search online and offline to compare the results.
Therefore, knowing how to do a title deed search online and offline is necessary. Here is how to conduct a land title deed search offline:
- Search for the Land Registry office in the county where you are buying land.
- Visit the office with hard copies of your seller’s KRA PIN certificate, national ID card, and title deed.
- Ask an officer at the Land Registry to help you carry out a land search. They will give you Form RL 26 to fill in the needed details.
- Attach copies of the documents mentioned above to the land search form.
- Submit the documents and wait around for the land search results.
Note: Depending on the county office conducting your land search, you might get the results the same day. If the office is slow, you might have to pick up the results by the second or third day.
Finally, you should only continue with the land purchase process if your results are positive.