Don’t Get Scammed: A Comprehensive Guide for Buying Land in Kenya
When buying land in Kenya, it is important to take certain precautions to ensure that the transaction goes smoothly and that you do not fall victim to fraud.
The following steps should be taken to avoid being scammed:
Verify the ownership of the land:
Before purchasing the land, ask to see the title deed or a copy of it. Then, do a search at the Ministry of Lands to confirm who the real owners are and to check if there are any caveats on the title. This search will cost you 520 Kenyan shillings.
Check for unpaid land rates:
Do a search with local authorities to check if there are any unpaid land rates. If there are, agree with the seller on who will settle the land rates. It’s important to note that land cannot be transferred if there are unpaid land rates.
Go to the Ministry of Lands and buy two maps: one that shows the exact measurements of the piece of land you are buying (called a mutation map) and the other that shows the neighboring lands. Each map will cost you 350 Kenyan shillings.
Verify the details on the maps:
With the help of a surveyor (or by doing it yourself), visit the land you are buying and verify the details on the maps. Check out all the beacons and ensure that the measurements match the maps.
Negotiate the price and write an agreement:
Sit down with the seller and negotiate the price. Write down an agreement, which can be done in the presence of a lawyer.
According to the Law Society of Kenya, if the value of the land is below 1 million Kenyan shillings, you will pay the lawyer 3,000 shillings. If it is above 1 million, you will pay 8,000 shillings for the agreement. Be aware of greedy lawyers who might try to get more from you.
Make a partial payment:
Pay a portion of the agreed amount, but do not pay everything upfront.
Obtain consent from the Lands Control Board:
Book a meeting with the Lands Control Board (LCB), which meets once every month. The meeting will cost you 1,000 Kenyan shillings. The LCB will issue consent for the land to be sold.
Make the remaining payment:
After obtaining consent from the LCB, make the remaining payment.
Change the ownership:
Go to the Ministry of Lands offices with your KRA PIN, two passport photos, and a copy of the title deed to change the ownership of the land. This will cost you 5,000 Kenyan shillings.
Pay stamp duty:
After the ownership has been changed, pay stamp duty, which is based on the value of the land. In municipalities, it is 4% of the sales value, and in reserves, it is 2% of the sales value.
Confirm the records have been updated:
Before celebrating your new land, go to the Ministry of Lands and do a search to confirm that the records have been updated and that your name is listed as the new owner.
In summary, it is important to follow certain steps to avoid being scammed when buying land in Kenya. These include:
- Verifying the ownership of the land by checking the title deed and doing a search at the Ministry of Lands
- Ensuring that there are no unpaid land rates
- Visiting the land with a surveyor and verifying the details on the maps
- Negotiating the price with the seller and writing an agreement
- Obtaining consent from the Lands Control Board
- Changing the ownership at the Ministry of Lands, paying stamp duty, and finally
- Confirming that the Ministry of Lands has updated its records to reflect the new ownership.