Everyone hopes to own a piece of land somewhere. It’s the most valuable fixed asset that you could possibly own today. However, if you are planning to buy a piece of land anywhere in Kenya, there are certain important procedures which you should follow. Here are legal steps to purchase land in Kenya:
1. Searches and inspection of the title
Once you identify land it’s always recommended that you visit the lands registry so as to conduct a search of the parcel in question. You will need a copy of the land title deed from the seller to facilitate the search. This will normally take three days to get the results of the real owner of the land and if there is any caution put against the land.
2. Preparation of offers and price negotiation
Once the buyer is satisfied with the search results as presented by their advocates from the lands registry and the company registry, then they will okay their advocate to prepare an offer. The advocate involved should prepare a letter of offer or intent showing the details of the seller and purchaser, the description of the property on offer, and the proposed purchase price and modes of payment.
3. Sale agreement and deposit payment
Once you all agree that’s the buyer and the seller there is a need to ensure that the offer has both the terms and conditions included. It is normally drafted by the seller’s advocate and presented to the buyer’s advocate for approval. Upon the execution of the sales agreement, the agreed deposit is paid by the purchaser through their advocate to the seller’s advocate’s account.
4. Payment of land rates
A few years ago, the City Council of Nairobi “clamped houses” that had failed to remit rates. Buyers should be aware of such property because the payment of rates on land is a legal obligation of landowners and the seller should clear any pending rates on the land before completing the transaction.
5. Transfer documents and consent to transfer
The seller’s advocate prepares transfer documents that will be executed by both the buyer and the seller. The transfer documents will only be executed after consent to transfer has been issued by the commissioner of lands.
For purposes of stamp duty, an application for valuation is always made to the government valuer, who makes a site visit to enable him or her to prepare the requisite valuation report. Stamp duty is important as it is used in registering the property.
The payable duty is determined by a government valuer and the valuation is done to determine the true value of the land on the open market as at the date of transfer.
The intention is to gauge the value declared in the instruments presented for registration for purposes of ascertaining whether the value declared in the instruments will be raised or not.
7. Payment of Stamp Duty
It is the responsibility of the buyer to pay the stamp duty, a tax levied on all lands.
8. Registration of transfer
Once the registration process is complete, the legal ownership of the land shall have legally changed hands.
9. Exchange of documents
Upon receipt of the complete documents from the seller, the buyer is obligated, in exchange of the documents, to pay to the seller the entire balance against the land through his advocates to finalize the registration of the documents after paying the requisite stamp duty.