In this guide, we will carry you through the legal process of buying land in Kenya.
I know many individuals dream of owning their land — and it’s easy to see why: Unlike renting, you can construct your home, garage, or business on the land. In addition, you can construct a fence around that land for security purposes. Plus, with a license comes certain tax benefits and resale opportunities.
However, purchasing land in Kenya is not as simple as purchasing other goods and services. The procedure is fraught with red tape and potential landowning pitfalls. So, it’s essential to do your research and clearly understand what’s entangled before you take the plunge.
So let’s look at the lawful steps one needs to take to buy land in Kenya.
The procedure of Buying Land in Kenya
The following steps are a summary of buying a piece of land.
1. Identify the land you like to buy
The first step in the legal procedure of buying land in Kenya is to identify a piece of property that you want to buy.
In most cases, you’ll begin this process by searching online or consulting a real estate agent who can assist you narrow your search for available properties. You might also be purchasing from a friend, relative, or neighbor darting to sell.
Once you have found a piece of land that you are interested in, the next step is to inspect that it’s for sale & that there are no outstanding legal issues with the property.
2. Check the ownership situation of the land.
The second stage is to ensure that the person or company that owns the land is willing to sell it.
You do this by accomplishing a land search at the lands registry in your county.
These days it is more comfortable to carry out a land search online by visiting the https://ardhisasa.lands.go.ke/home website & creating an account. It is quick and easy to use.
The website has an up-to-date checklist of all the registered tags in Kenya (both freehold & leasehold). In addition, you can explore by county, plot number, or the owner’s name.
3. Negotiate the buy price
Once you have assured that the land is for sale and that you are the legal purchaser, the following step is to negotiate the buy price with the seller.
This can be a tricky procedure, as both parties will likely have different views about how much the land is worth. Therefore, it is vital to be realistic about the property’s value and evade overpaying for it.
4. Sign the sale agreement
Once you have bargained a price, the next step is to sign a sale agreement that selects your purchase terms.
Be sure to enclose important details concerning your purchase, including:
- The name and address of both customer and seller.
- A land definition (for example, one acre off Waiyaki Way).
- The purchase payment and the date of transfer.
- Whether you will be bearing ownership instantly (in which case, what should happen to any existing facilities or improvements on the property).
The seller might concern their lawyer to draft the sale agreement, or you may like to hire a lawyer of your own. Either way, make certain you both sign the contract and hold a copy for your files.
5. Get survey map(s)
You can either do this phase after signing the agreement or before, but it’s essential to get a survey map of the possessions to ensure that the boundaries are accurate.
You can obtain the map from The Ministry of Land or the surveyor. If you are not certain how to go about this, the most reasonable thing is to consult an estate agent who will instruct you on what to do.
6. Pay Land Rates
According to general laws, landowners in different parts of Kenya are privileged to varying rates.
To find out the total amount you have to spend, you need to contact the relevant county authority and choose the applicable rates for that area.
7. Transfer documents & consent
After you have expended all the necessary fees, the next step is to transfer the license of the land to your name. The seller will inscribe a land transfer form that allows the transfer.
It’ll take about two weeks for the complete transfer to be documented at the lands registry.
You will also require to get consent from any other parties interested in the land (for instance, a mortgage company or co-owner).
The Government valuer will call and give a valuation for the land.
You can ask them to come before this if you want to know how much the land is worth before you purchase it, but remember that their initial report is just an estimate.
This valuation is essential because you need it to pay Stamp Duty which the GOK valuer determines.
9. Land Transfer
The last step is to transfer the land from the seller to you. This is done by paying Stamp Duty and a government tax levied on all land transactions.
The amount of Stamp Duty you pay relies on the property’s value as determined by the Government valuer.
The buyer must then pay any purchase price balance and other associated expenses such as legal fees.
Once you have finished all of these steps, you will be the legal owner of the land! Congratulations!
Documents used in the operation
The following documents are used in the procedure of buying land.
- Original Title Deed
- Seller’s ID
- The Seller’s PIN Certificate
- Seller’s Colored Photos
- Land Rent and Rates Clearance Receipts
- Original Land Rent and Rates Certificates
- Relevant Consents
- Signed Transfer
So when purchasing land in Kenya, always remember that several steps are concerned, and it’s not something you can do overnight. If you have any questions and require help, don’t hesitate to consult an estate agent or lawyer. And good fortune in your search for the perfect property!