Process of buying land in Kenya
Land in Kenya is normally identified using a Land Rate (LR) or Plot number. After you have identified the piece of land, you proceed as follows to ensure you do not fall prey to a fraudster wanting to make quick and easy money from you.
Conduct a site visit
Identify the piece of land that you wish to purchase and ensure that the beacons of the land are clearly marked. Keep in mind that in ancestral land there may be no beacons. The beacons give a clearer vision of the shape and size of the land and its actual boundaries.
Perform an official search
In Kenya this is done at the District Lands Office or the Ministry of Lands (Ardhi House). You will need a copy of the title deed of the land and you must fill the search application form and attach the title. You pay Kshs 500.
Search at the county office
This one helps to unearth any unpaid land rates which should be factored in the purchase price.
Obtain two land maps.
These ones are obtained from Survey of Kenya after buying Kshs 300. One map is usually drawn to scale, and the other one is an overview of the lands adjacent to the one you want to buy.
Once you have obtained the maps, you should visit the land together with a surveyor to verify the dimensions.
It is required by the law of Kenya to have any land transactions in writing. It is not a must for a lawyer to be involved but very advisable.
At this point, to avoid any later complications, ensure the seller’s spouse is present, fully aware and agrees with the transaction, if possible, have the spouse agree to this in writing.
Whether paying in cash or installments as stated in your agreement, the seller will most probably demand some money at this point as a form of commitment.
Ensure that the title deed and any other legal documents are in the lawyer’s custody before making any payments.
Pay the full amount to the seller.
Payment of Stamp duty
The draft transfer documents should be filed at Lands Office for assessment of stamp duty payable on the transfer. Attach your copy of ID, passport photos and copy of PIN.
The government valuer conducts a site visit to verify the development and state of the property. Stamp duty is 2% (agricultural land) and 4% of land within the Local Municipality.
Exchange of documents
When the registration is done with issuance of a new Title deed (for freehold tenancy) or Certificate of Lease (Leasehold tenancy). The buyer’s lawyer or the buyer then collects the Title Deed at the Lands Office