A land title deed is a record that proves ownership and legal right over a piece of Land. It is the most basic document required during a land transaction, and its components are usually changed from the agents to the purchaser after a land dealing has taken place to show the transfer of ownership.

Let us explore the various types of title deeds and what you need to take during the title transfer procedure, how long it takes, and all the costs associated with it.

When looking to instill in a piece of Land, the first thing you will need to do as a consumer is to conduct an official title deed search at the local land registry. This is often done in the county headquarters in which the Land is located.

Type of Title deeds

In Kenya, different types of title deeds existed as per the distinct types of land Acts from colonial times up to the post-independence period. Include the following

  1. Indenture- a title under the Government Lands Act Cap 280 (abolished)
  2. Grant- Government grant under Registration of Titles Act Cap 281 (repealed) and a county council pension under Trust Land Act Cap 288.
  3. Certificate of title- grant given as a result of a sub-division without change of user.
  4. Certificate of lease title- under the Registered Lands Act Cap 300 (repealed) for leasehold ground.
  5. Absolute title deed- the title under the Registered Lands Act Cap 300 (repealed) for freehold land.
  6. Sectional title- title for a unit within a building, for instance, a flat or apartment.
  7. The Land Registration Act, 2012, crystallizes the several above titles into the “Certificate of Title” or Certificate of the lease. A Certificate of title is given for freehold land, while a Certificate of lease is for leasehold land.
  8. Leasehold:  is a state of land tenure where a lessee holds rights to Land for a specific duration and is subject to conditions imposed on land ownership by the lessor. Illustrations in Kenya include 33, 50, 66, 99-year government leases for metropolitan plots. 999-year leases were all habilitated to 99-year leases with effect, from 1st of September 2009 when the current form was promulgated.
  9.   Freehold land ownership: This is a form of land term in which the landowner has the full rights to land without restrictions in terms of a period of license and rights exercisable on the Land.

Documents needed to conduct a land search include;

  1. A copy of your identification copy, A copy of your KRA pin certificate, and A four-page document of the land title deed. You will be then required to fill out a search request form; in most cases, this will take not more than three operating days.

The importance of a search is to assist in ascertaining:

  1. The lawful owner of the Land;
  2. Whether there are notifications put on the title deeds due to disputes on the Land or uncertain court cases regarding the Land;
  3. Whether there is an amount on the Land, in cases where the title deed has been used as collateral for ensuring a credit facility/ loan with a monetary institution like a bank, etc.

Relying on the size and the intended use of the Land, you may also be needed to receive a registry index map (RIM) from the offices of Survey in Kenya offices and have a surveyor physically verify that the measurement is on the ground matches the map.

The Requirements of Land Search in Kenya

Once pleased with the finding of an official title deed/land search, you will then need to obtain Authorization to transfer. In cases where you are purchasing from an individual, it is vital to have a lawyer involved, and they will help with getting and notarizing the document. This is rarely required when purchasing from a real estate company.

Transferring a land title deed from one individual to the other often takes not more than 90 days. In order to do that. The pursuing are the document needed to transfer title deed in Kenya:

  1. A copy of the valuation report
  2. Get Consent to transfer from the commissioner of Land
  3.  Stump duty review form and payment proof
  4.  Rent clearance certificate
  5.  Copies of ID & KRA PIN certificates
  6. Two copies of colored passport size photos for each group
  7.  Transfer approval from the commissioner of lands or the land control board
  8.  The title deed
  9. Land rent approval certificate

The procedure for disseminating a title deed in Kenya

The procedure of transferring a title deed is as follows:

  1.  the purchaser receives a land rent clearance certificate. This is usually at no cost, done at the headquarters of the commissioner of Land and bears not more than 20 days
  2. The seller then requires applying, paying, and obtaining a rates clearance certificate from the county office where the Land is located. The certification cost around Kshs 10,000.
  3. Apply for a probe on the title deed, which takes not more than three working days at the cost of Kshs 500.
  4. The seller is then required to apply for and obtain Consent to transfer from the National land commission. The copy costs about Kshs 1,000 and takes not more than two weeks.
  5. Valuation of the Land concerned by government valuer to confirm the amount to be paid as stamp duty.
  6. Paying the stamp duty, the payment indicated on the valuation report is then to be settled to the commissioner for Domestic taxes (KRA) & the payment ticket is presented as proof.
  7. The final stage of the transfer is to lodge stamped transfer documents for enrollment at the local land office. This process takes not more than two weeks.


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