Buying land in Kenya is an easy task for anybody with information and one willing to take due diligence in the whole process. It is also hard and tricky for anyone with no information dues to the pros and cons of the buying process. Whether you want to buy a commercial, residential or agricultural land, the procedure is the same, that’s why this is a must read article.
It is based on the principle of the law of contract where the seller is not required by law to provide all information on the land which includes defects but sellers will mostly give you all advantages to enjoy (after purchase )as a selling point. Therefore, be courageous to ask for defects even thou in most cases the seller would not disclose all. However, the seller is obliged by law to disclose all defects on the ownership or title of the land on offer.
1: Visit the Ministry of Lands to do a search of the land.
Can also do it online at ecitizen.go.ke for lands in Nairobi Registry only. The search will give you the history of the land, the true owner and any agent attached to the land if available which cast anything between Ksh 520 to Ksh 1000 only. The whole process should take up to two hours and less on online search.
2: Visit County Governments Offices where the land located.
Do another search at County Governments Offices where the land is located. This will give information on any unpaid Land rates which you will need to consider in when deciding the purchase price. The cost would vary from County to County.
If there are prevailing unpaid land rates you would need to agree with the owner who will settle them as the land cannot be sold (transferred) with outstanding land rates. Hence it will affect the purchase price to that extent.
3: Visit the local surveyor for a Land Map
Purchase a map of the place, they are normally two maps one drawn to scale (informally known as tracing or mutation) and another showing the neighboring farms. Cost: 300 per map you may buy these at lands ministry but surveyor is better and faster.
4: Land Verification on location and dimension
With the map, ask the surveyor and the owner or the seller to visit the land on the ground. Ask the surveyor to measure and confirm the dimension from the map drawn to scale. Locate all beacons or replace the lost ones, Surveyors charge approximately Ksh 1000 per bacon.
Mostly this should be paid by the seller as the land is still his, however, it may be paid by either party or even do a cost sharing depend on who is more desperate. Also, do a due diligence by visiting the especially neighbors to find more information on the land to find out if there is any dispute of any kind including boundaries.
The agreement should be in writing and although not a must, it’s advisable to have a lawyer. They usually charge anything between Ksh 3000 and Ksh 8000 as the law recommend Ksh 3000 for any land with a Selling price of Ksh One Million shillings and Ksh 8000 for any land with a selling price of Ksh One million and above. The lawyer fees should be cost shared between the two parties.
At this stage, the spouse of the owner should be aware of the agreement.
6: Transaction Agreement
Discuss the mode of payment either by cash or installment with an initial deposit. Ensure by the time you make the initial deposit the title deed and other legal documents are in the custody of the lawyers to avoid title alteration or any other use .i.e. using the title deed as a security of a bank loan after you intention to buy and done an initial deposit payment.
7: Land Control Board
Book the Land Control Board (LCB) meeting. The LCB Is a forum made of the Assistant County Commissioners and the local village elders and meets monthly. They are the ones who give the final consent for the land to be sold. LCB costs Ksh 1000 and Ksh 5000 for a special land Board and the Main LCB respectively.
8: Transfer of Land
After all transactions are made, the seller signs Land Transfer Forms which together with Consent from LCB, land search – not more than 6 months old clearance from County Government Offices (that you have paid all land rates), passport photos, KRA pin, agreement and old title deed you go to Ministry of Lands to change ownership at Ksh 5,000/= to process new title with a timeline of two weeks.
9: Stamp Duty and Transfer Fees
After successful transfer of ownership, you will need to pay stamp duty of 4% based on the value of land where in most cases they use the purchase price.
10: Post-Purchase Activity
After seven working days, you should do another search with Ministry of Lands to confirm that the land now reads your details.