How to buy land in Kenya

The Kenyan constitution permits citizens to acquire land within any county providing they comply with the legal procedures of buying and selling land in the country. Here are the steps to follow when buying land in Kenya: 1.) Land identification This is an important step where soon-to-be landowners identify a piece of land that meets their criteria such as location, size and soil type. 2.) Search at the lands registry After identifying a piece of land that meets the desired standards, a prospective buyer should obtain a copy of the land title deed from the seller to facilitate the search. Normally, it takes about two hours to get search results after filing a search application form (and attaching a copy of the title). This process costs Sh520. Search results show details of the land including the registered owner of the land, acreage as well as any caveats registered against the title deed. A valid search should be no more than six months old. 3.) Search at the County office The search helps to unearth any unpaid land rates which should be factored in the purchase price. A certificate of clearance from City Hall will cost you Sh7,500, but the fee…

Acorn raises Sh2.1bn in under subscribed Reit offer

Student hostels developer Acorn Holdings has raised a total of Sh2.1 billion from investors in its real estate investment trust (Reit) issuance, falling short of its target of Sh7.5 billion. This represented a subscription rate of 28.4 per cent, which the company says met its minimum success threshold of Sh754.4 million. It is the latest Reit to be undersubscribed, indicating lukewarm enthusiasm for the emerging investment vehicles. Ilam Fahari I-Reit, which offers investors income, raised Sh3.6 billion in November 2016 against a target of Sh12.5 billion. The offer was, however also deemed a success since it surpassed the minimum threshold of Sh2.6 billion. Fahari proceeded to list on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) where its units (stocks) are trading at a third of Reit’s book value of Sh20.86 per share. Fusion Capital terminated its proposed D-Reit (which was to develop properties) in August 2016 after raising Sh873.8 million against the minimum target of Sh1.1 billion. Acorn offered investors an opportunity to invest in two Reits –one focusing on developing student hostels and the other one offering investors income from completed units. The D-Reit raised Sh1.4 billion while the I-Reit raised Sh641.5 million. Each of the vehicles received subscriptions from the…

Title deeds to be issued afresh to curb fraud

Title deeds are set to be registered afresh as the State shifted the administration and management of land to new laws to boost efficiency in transactions and curb fraud. The Lands and Physical Planning ministry said the titles will now be handled under the Land Registration Act, 2012 —which comes with significant changes in the manner private land is managed. A pilot run of the migration is already underway in Nairobi with some 5,493 parcels already marked for conversion by the Registrar of Lands. “All transactions or dealings relating to parcels within the registration unit shall from April 1,2021 be carried out in the new registers,” the ministry said. Under the old legal regime, title deeds were issued under the Registered Land Act (RLA), the Registration of Titles Act (RTA), the Land Titles Act (LTA), and the Government Lands Act (GLA) that have now been repealed. “Each of these pieces of legislation created its own register, making land registration complex. The confusion occasioned by the different regimes has become a breeding ground for fraud, delays in service delivery, centralisation of land services and threats to the right to property,” Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney said. Titles issued under the RLA and…

Chinese firm wins fight to construct high-rise Karen units

A Chinese company has won a court fight to develop a commercial engineering office complex in high-end Karen, Nairobi. Kibwezi MP Partrick Musimba wanted the Environment and Lands court to stop the China Railways No 10 Engineering Group Co Ltd from converting the property situated along Acacia Drive Karen from residential to commercial status. He said the offices were likely to disturb the peace of Karen residents, hurt property prices where an acre goes for Sh60 million and pose a security risk. But Justice Samuel Okong’o dismissed the application, saying it had no merit and that the orders sought by the lawmaker if granted would be in vain. The judge noted that the Chinese firm in its response had said that the construction works on the suit property had been completed. In an affidavit sworn by Liu De Yong and Victoria Morena, the Chinese firm indicated that the injunctive order sought by the MP to restrain construction on the suit property had been overtaken by events. “This averment was not controverted by the plaintiff. If the construction works have been completed, then there is nothing to stop through the injunction sought by the plaintiff,” said the judge. In his case,…

Unauthorised buildings in Nairobi risk demolition

Property owners with unauthorised buildings in Nairobi will soon be required to regularise their developments or risk them being brought down. Unauthorised buildings are those that were constructed but do not have the necessary approvals under the National Physical Planning Act and other relevant Nairobi City County legislation. Lands and Urban Planning County executive Charles Kerich on Thursday said that City Hall was working on the Nairobi City County Regularisation Act, 2021 which will compel those with buildings to present their plans for review and determination on whether they are structurally and architecturally sound. He said a task force had already been gazetted to come up with the Act which will be tabled at the Assembly in a month’s time. “The review will ensure that those with unapproved buildings regularise the same and the owners will be told the amount they owe the county. If the plans are found to be okay, the county government will give one the approval they ought to have gotten before and thereafter pay for the requisite planning approval plan,” said Kerich. The approvals and occupation certificates, he said, will only be issued to owners upon inspection of the buildings. “Instead of first bringing down…

Title deeds to be issued afresh to curb fraud

Title deeds are set to be registered afresh as the State shifted the administration and management of land to new laws to boost efficiency in transactions and curb fraud. The Lands and Physical Planning ministry said the titles will now be handled under the Land Registration Act, 2012 —which comes with significant changes in the manner private land is managed. A pilot run of the migration is already underway in Nairobi with some 5,493 parcels already marked for conversion by the Registrar of Lands. “All transactions or dealings relating to parcels within the registration unit shall from April 1,2021 be carried out in the new registers,” the ministry said. Under the old legal regime, title deeds were issued under the Registered Land Act (RLA), the Registration of Titles Act (RTA), the Land Titles Act (LTA), and the Government Lands Act (GLA) that have now been repealed. “Each of these pieces of legislation created its own register, making land registration complex. The confusion occasioned by the different regimes has become a breeding ground for fraud, delays in service delivery, centralisation of land services and threats to the right to property,” Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney said. Titles issued under the RLA and…

Towns to Watch as Kenyans Move Away From Nairobi

The real estate market in Nairobi has witnessed an emerging trend over the last year in which more and more residents are moving away from the capital and into emerging satellite towns. These towns are in different counties, but which border the Kenyan capital, where a rapid improvement in infrastructure and affordable housing has resulted in a mass migration from Nairobi. Satellite cities are small or medium-sized cities near a large town, for instance; smaller towns near Nairobi, Mombasa, or Kisumu. Most of these satellite towns predate the metropolis’ suburban expansion and are partially independent of the bigger town both economically and socially. Motorists pictured on the Eastern bypass road. Some of the counties that have benefited a lot due to their proximity to the city include Kiambu, Machakos, and Kajiado, which all have satellite towns considered part of the Nairobi Metropolitan area. According to HassConsults 2020 Land Price Index report, these satellite towns controlled approximately 60% of property transactions in 2020. Kitengela 19.1% control, Ruiru 15.1%, Thika 9.4%, Ongata Rongai and Ngong both tied at 7.9% market share of the properties on sale. For 2021, the investment opportunity within the Nairobi Metropolitan Area land sector lies in satellite towns…