3 Types of Land Title Deeds in Kenya and How to Acquire Them in 2024

After toiling hard to purchase land, ensure you get a suitable title deed. Most Kenyans do not know that there are three types of land title deeds in Kenya. The type you get may give you partial or full legal rights to the land

You should know the types of title deeds before doing the title transfer procedure. Luckily, you’ll get everything you need to know from this article. We reveal the types of title deeds in Kenya and how to acquire them. Keep reading!

The Three Types of Title Deeds in Kenya

Below are the three title deeds you can get after buying a piece of land or building in Kenya: 

1. Absolute Title Deed or Freehold title 

The absolute title deed is the kind that bestows you the legal right to use your land as you wish. The government will not bother you if you plan to subdivide the land into small plots for sale with separate title deeds. 

Additionally, a freehold title gives you rights to the land usage indefinitely. The absolute title deed hides no ownership restrictions or conditions, making it the best type of all the three.

Find Out: How To Differentiate Fake And Genuine Title Deeds 

2. Certificate of Lease or Leasehold

The certificate of Lease is a title deed given when you purchase a land with leasing restrictions

In Kenya, you can only be a lessee for 33 to 99 years. If you get land ownership rights for 50 years, you will cease being the owner after that period. However, you can renew the leasing period to continue occupying the land. 

Most plot owners in Nairobi have a certificate of lease title deed. No wonder they pay land rates every year.  

3. Sectional Title Deed

Kenya provides several ways to own a property. If you cannot afford acres of land or urban plots, you can purchase a section of an apartment. By so doing, you automatically become the partial owner of the flat. 

You can then avoid paying rent every month. A sectional title deed gives you the authority to live in the housing unit you have bought within an apartment block. 

How to Acquire a Title Deed in Kenya

Although you can get up to three different title deeds in Kenya, the process of acquiring them is the same. Here are the crucial steps you should follow to obtain a title deed in Kenya:

Conduct an Official Land Search

Some land sellers take advantage of innocent buyers by giving them fake title deeds. 

If you get a fake title deed of any type, the rightful owner could ask you to vacate the land anytime. For that reason, do a land title search at the Ministry of Land, Housing & Urban Development offices. 

You can also do the land title search in your county-level Ministry of Lands’ offices. Here are the requirements: 

  • The title search process costs Ksh. 500.
  • Duly completed RL 26 Form.
  • The title deed copy.
  • Copy of your national ID card or passport if not Kenyan. If you are a foreigner who is a Kenyan resident, bring your Alien card copy.
  • Photocopy of your KRA PIN certificate.

Fortunately, you can also conduct a land search online through the eCitizen Portal. Here is the procedure:

  1. Sign in to your eCitizen Portal.
  2. Click the “Ministry of Land, Housing & Urban Development” tab. 
  3. Select “Land Search” and type your “Title number.”
  4. Fill out the RL 26 application form and submit it. 
  5. Select one payment method and use it to pay the fee of Ksh. 500. 
  6. Print the receipt if you want. Wait around three days to get your title search results. 

Get Land Transfer Records

The next step is obtaining the land transfer documents. Here is how to do it: 

  • Land Rates Clearance Certificate: The seller should get the Land Rates Clearance Certificate through their lawyer. They will pay any pending land rates by visiting the Ministry of Lands office. It takes five days. 
  • Land Rent Clearance Certificate: Again, the property seller, via their lawyer, should get you the Land Rent Clearance Certificate from the Commissioner of Lands. 
  • Obtain Property Transfer Consent: After receiving the Land Rates Clearance Certificate and the Land Rent Clearance Certificate, you need the land transfer consent. The lawyer should write a letter to the National Land Commission requesting permission to transfer a leasehold property title. The nine-day process costs Ksh. 1,000. 
  • File the Land Transfer Documents: The buyer’s lawyer should file the land transfer records at the Ministry of Lands office upon getting the seller’s consent. The office will assess the amount of stamp duty to pay to the KRA. It is usually four percent of the urban property’s value and two percent of the rural land value. Getting a receipt of stamp duty payment takes one week. A land inspector should inspect the property in person and produce its value in figures.
  • Land Registration: A property buyer should pay KES 500 to initiate the registration procedure. Fill out the provided booking form and apply for the property transfer registration at the Lands Office. The necessary documents for the registration process are copies of the original title certificate, land rent and land rates clearance certificates, consent transfer, original transfer instruments, and copies of your identity documents and KRA PIN. Wait about twelve days for results. 

To process a new title deed certificate, you will pay Ksh. 5,000. After the registration process, expect an original title deed with your details. Also, you will receive a stamp duty receipt, transfer forms, and other things. 

Now that you know the types of title deeds in Kenya and how to acquire them, ensure you avoid unnecessary and costly mistakes.