Land, in Kenya, is a treasured asset. Buying land exposes you to a myriad of challenges that include: double land purchases, con men and even purchasing land classified as riparian. Many land buyers have suffered huge losses incurred from dubious land deals.
If you are buying land from an individual or a group, please follow the following steps:
- Ask to see the title deed or copy of title deed. Then do a search at the ministry of lands to confirm who the real owners are or if the title has any Caveat on it. The search will cost you Sh520.
- Do a search with the local authorities to check for any unpaid land rates. If any, agree with the seller on who will settle the debt. Please note that land can’t be transferred if there are unpaid land rates.
- Go to the ministry of lands and buy two maps, one showing the exact measurements of the piece of land you are buying (called mutation) and the other showing the neighbouring lands. Each costs Sh350.
- With your 2 maps and a surveyor (you can even do it yourself) , visit the land you are buying and verify the details on the map. Check out all the beacons.
- Sit down with the land seller and bargain the price. Write down an agreement. The agreement can be done before a lawyer or you may decide to do it yourself. It’s not a must to be written by a lawyer. According to the Law Society of Kenya, LSK, if the value of the land is below Kshs. 1 million, you pay the lawyer Kshs. 3,000. If above Kshs. 1m, you will have to part with Kshs. 8,000 for the agreement. The spouse, to the seller, MUST BE present during the negotiations.
- Pay some portion of the agreed amount or as per your agreement. Don’t pay everything, at this stage!
- Book a meeting with the Lands Control Board(LCB). They meet once a month. It will cost you Sh1,000. But there is a special LCB meeting which you can book at Sh5,000. LCB will issue consent for the land to be sold.
- Pay the remaining balance after getting consent from LCB.
- With the consent from LCB, a recent search(not more than 6 months), clearance form from County land rates, your 2 maps, the agreement, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) PIN, 2 Passport size photographs and copy of the title deed, go to the ministry of lands to change ownership. Where you will part with Sh5,000.
- At this stage, you no longer need the seller. Now go and pay stamp duty ie according to the value of the land. 4% of sale value in municipalities 2%
- The search at the lands registry and the physical assessment of the property precedes any payment of anything. Do not buy property you have not seen. If buying from a company or other business association ensure that entity exists at the respective registry. You also need to check if the land is freehold or leasehold.
- For leasehold, the owner of the land needs to be paying rent to the government unless the rent is peppercorn (basically peanuts). You will need to confirm the rent owed and pay to get a land rent clearance. The national Land Commission’s, NLC, consent is required where the land is leasehold.
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