The process of getting a Land Title Deed in Kenya is often convoluted and costly. Unfortunately, if you’re not careful, it can become a financial nightmare. However, the expenses and procedures of securing a land title deed in Kenya shouldn’t worry you because we’re here to take you through the process.
In this article, we’re going to break down the entire process and dissect the hidden costs you need to know. Moreover, you’ll get practical solutions to make this seemingly daunting endeavor a smooth and cost-effective experience. Keep reading!
Things to Consider During a Title Deed Transfer in Kenya
A title deed transfer from the current owner to the new buyer can get tricky if you do not understand the relevant law. A land owner can give you a fake title deed and make you believe that the land is legally yours.
Additionally, they may transfer the title even if they are not the only owners. This happens many times when purchasing land from individuals or families.
It’s recommended to consult a professional lawyer or a reputable expert in real estate matters to avoid getting into a messy situation.
Also, consider the following things if you’re in the process of getting a land title deed in Kenya:
- Property Owner’s Consent: It is wise to investigate the person claiming to be the property owner. If purchasing land from an individual, such as a family land, find out if other people have ownership rights to the same property. Then, find out if everyone wants to transfer the title deed. You can avoid lawsuits by verifying the real property owner and getting their transfer consent in writing.
- Get Clearance Certificates: These are the official documents that confirm the payment of land fees or taxes. The presence of these records should give you confidence that the land you want to own has no outstanding liabilities or debts. Once you become the new owner, nobody will come to claim any unpaid funds from you.
- Stamp Duty Payment: The Kenyan government charges a form of tax known as the stamp duty. It happens only after the sale of a property. Stamp duty is 4% of the land’s value if the land is located within municipalities and 2% if the land is outside municipalities. The title deed transfer cannot happen if the stamp duty payment is still pending.
- Land Registration Costs: The legal process of replacing the seller’s name with yours on the title deed is not free. You must incur all registration costs to ensure the Lands Registry acknowledges you as the new property owner. Registration costs about Ksh. 500 and Ksh. 1,000 for attestation.
How the Title Deed Transfer Process Works
You should do the following steps during the title deed transfer process:
Step 1: Perform a Title Deed Search
Do not trust a property seller’s word if they insist the title deed is fine. Their land could have liens, unpaid mortgages, unfinished court battles, etc. If you ignore the land search step, you could transfer the title deed to your name and regret it afterward.
Remember that once the transfer process is over, you cannot undo it. Thus, conduct a land title search online to verify the ownership status and other crucial things.
Briefly, this is how to do a land search in Kenya:
- Log in to your “e-Citizen” account or sign up for it.
- Navigate to the “Ministry of Land and Physical Planning” area.
- Choose the “Land Search” tab.
- Enter the “Title Number” of the property you are conducting a land search for.
- Fill in the “Land Search Form” and submit it.
- Go to your “M-PESA” and pay 500 Kenyan shillings. You can also use your bank cards.
- Print the results or do it later, as they will stay in the system.
Note: The e-Citizen system will return a given land search result. If it looks good, proceed with the title deed transfer.
Step 2: Sign a Sale Agreement
A land sale agreement outlines everything the buyer and seller have agreed upon. From the land purchase price to payment terms, this document specifies all terms and conditions. If your title deed search result was positive, you and the seller should sign the sale agreement.
Step 3: Pay the Stamp Duty Tax
The process of getting a land title deed in Kenya entails the payment of a stamp duty. You should pay the stamp duty fee to the Kenya Revenue Authority. The earlier you pay this tax, the faster you can get your title deed.
KRA will compute this fee for you based on the land purchase price or the property value in the market now. A KRA official expects you to attach your land valuer’s report on the land you are buying (valuation costs Ksh. 1,000 for municipal plots and Ksh. 500 for those outside municipalities). They will then compute your stamp duty tax based on the current property value.
Step 4: A Lawyer Creates the Transfer Documents
Choose a lawyer to help you purchase a property and avoid future problems. One of their top roles is to prepare all the necessary transfer documents. These include a title deed transfer form, seller’s consent letter, and clearing certificates.
The lawyer’s fee is as follows:
- Ksh. 3,000: This is if the cost of the land is between Ksh. 1,000,000 and below.
- Ksh. 8,000: This is if the cost of the land is over Ksh. 1,000,000.
Note: The lawyer’s fee is shared equally between the land buyer and seller.
Step 5: Offering Your Signatures
After receiving the title deed transfer documents from your lawyer, the property seller and you should sign them.
Offer your signatures legally by having a witness.
Step 6: Submit the Documents
Now that the transfer documents have signatures from both parties, you can take them to the registrar of lands in the Ministry of Lands. Once you submit them, the officials will transfer the title from the seller to you.
Ensure you also provide the following items:
- Property valuer’s report on the land
- Copies of KRA PIN certificates of the buyer and seller
- Seller’s transfer consent letter
- National ID copies of the buyer and seller
- The KRA’s stamp duty receipt
- Color passport-size photographs of both parties
- The original title deed you are requesting a transfer for
The waiting period is thirty to ninety days after submitting the above documents.
Step 7: Go Collect Your New Land Title Deed
After the registration process ends, you should get a notification by phone. Once that is done, visit the Ministry of Lands and pick up your title deed. At this point, your process of getting a land title deed will be successful. Therefore, you can develop the land as you wish.