Kenya

Registering Property in

Kenya

Below is a detailed summary of the steps, time and cost involved in registering property in Kenya. It assumes a standardized case of an entrepreneur who wants to purchase land and a building that is already registered and free of title dispute.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 189 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2014.

This year, Doing Business has collected new data in 170 economies on the overall quality of land administration systems through a set of indicators on reliability, transparency, coverage and dispute resolution. The new data is available under the “Methodology Expansion” tab, below. The data are preliminary and do not have any impact on the Ease of Doing Business 2015 rankings. This data may differ from what will be published in Doing Business 2016.

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  • Standard Property Transfer

  • Property value: KES 4,251,548.2
  • City: Nairobi
No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs
1 Apply and Obtain Land Rent Clearance Certificate from the Commissioner of Lands
Agency: National Land Commission

The Seller's lawyer obtains the Land Rent Clearance Certificate from the Commissioner of Lands at no cost.
19 days (simultaneous with Procedures 2 and 3) no cost
* 2 Apply, pay and obtain Rates Clearance Certificate from the Nairobi City Council
Agency: Nairobi City County Government

The Seller's lawyer obtains the Rates Clearance Certificate from the Nairobi City County Government. This certificate is important proof that there are no outstanding fees to be paid to the Nairobi City County Government. Lawyers' fees are calculated based on a fixed scale published under the Advocates (Remuneration) Order depending on the value of the property. Lawyers are also permitted to charge on alternative billing methods subject to the minimum fees set out under the scaled provided for under the Advocates (Remuneration) Order.
5 days (simultaneous with Procedure 1 & 3 ) KES 10,000
* 3 Apply for a search on the title at the Lands Office
Agency: National Land Commission, Lands Office

The Registered Land Act has been repealed by the Land Registration Act (Act No. 3 of 2012). For land previously registered under the Registered Land Act, it is still necessary to provide a copy of the title document at the time of applying for the search. The position reported last year i.e. one cannot carry out a personal search but must instead apply for an official search still applies.The Land Offices are now under the management of the National Land Commission following the enactment of the Land Registration Act (No. 3 of 2012).
3 days (simultaneous with Procedures 1 and 2) KES 500
4 Apply and obtain consent to transfer from the Commissioner of Lands
Agency: National Land Commission

With effect from August 27, 2010 when the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 was promulgated, the Land Registration Act (No. 3 of 2012) repealed the Government Lands Act (Cap. 280) and consent to transfer leasehold land held by the Government of the Republic of Kenya under the repealed Act is now required to be obtained from the National Land Commission established under the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. Previously, such consent was required to be obtained from the Commissioner of Lands and that office was abolished by the repeal of the Government Lands Act.
9 days KES 1,000
5 File the transfer instrument at the Lands Office and obtain appointment for valuation
Agency: National Land Commission, Lands Office

The draft transfer is prepared by the buyer’s lawyers and needs to be approved by the seller’s counterpart. The transfer instrument is filed at the Land office to be assessed for Stamp duty.
4 days KES 500
6 Receive site inspection by Government valuer and obtain valuation report
Agency: National Land Commission Valuer

Once the draft transfer has been filed at the land office, an inspector visits the site to verify the development and state of the property. Due to lack of transport, in practice, the inspector often has to be picked up in person and driven to the site. Previously, such inspections were conducted on a random basis, but now every transaction requires such an inspection. The issues involved are similar to the inspections by the land officer and, therefore, may happen within 1 day to up to over one month. Once the valuer has inspected the property to assess its value, a report is compiled after which the value is endorsed on the transfer and then it is submitted for assessment of the Stamp duty.
20 days no cost
7 Endorsement of value for stamp duty purposes and assessment of Stamp duty
Agency: National Land Commission, Lands Office

The Stamp Duty Assessment form is completed including the purchase price (in quadruplet). The stamp duty assessment officer stationed at the Ministry of Lands banking hall will then assess the stamp duty payable and indicate the amount on the Forms. Stamping of the document takes on average 3 days.
4 days no cost
8 Payment of Stamp Duty at Commercial Bank and receive confirmation of payment from Kenya Revenue Authority
Agency: Commercial Bank

The payment of Stamp Duty is made at a Commercial Banks designated by the Ministry of Land. If the amount exceed k.shs. 1 million, payment is made by RTGS bank transfer. It takes about 4 days for the Kenya Revenue Authority to confirm receipt of payment after which the transfer agreement can be franked or embossed evidencing payment of stamp duty.
4 days KES 600 (charge for Banker’s check) + 4% of property value (stamp Duty)
9 Lodge stamped transfer document for registration and receive duly registered documents
Agency: National Land Commission, Lands Office

The stamped transfer documents are lodged for registration at the Lands Office. These documents are generally obtained from seller’s lawyers, these being original Certificate of Title, Rates Clearance Certificate, Land Rent Clearance Certificate, and the Consent Transfer. Inform seller’s lawyers of registration and pay balance of the purchase price. The certificate of the registered transfer is collected at the Lands Office.
12 days KES 500
  * Takes place simultaneously with another procedure.
Answer
Reliability/Land Registry
Are the records held in a paper format or in a computerized format? If they are computerized, are they scanned documents or fully digital documents? Paper
Is there an electronic database for checking for encumbrances (liens, mortgages, etc.)? No
Reliability/Cadastre
Are the maps held in a paper format or in a computerized format? If they are computerized, are they scanned documents or fully digital documents? Paper
Is there an electronic database to record property boundaries, check maps and provide cadastral information (Geographic Information System)? No
Reliability/Interconnection
Are the land registration agency and cadastre unified in one system under one agency, or is there a dual system of separate land registry and cadastre agency? If the latter, are the land registration agency and cadastre linked? Dual system/Linked
Do the land registration agency and cadastre use the same identification number to search for properties? Yes
Transparency/Land Registry
Who is able to consult titles/deeds at the land registration agency? Please select all that apply Anyone
How can they be accessed? Please select all that apply In person
If online, please provide the link
Is the list of documents required to complete any type of property transaction made publicly available? Please select all that apply In person;On public boards;
If online, please provide the link
Is the applicable fee schedule for any property transaction at the land registration agency made publicly available? Please select all that apply In person;On public boards;
If online, please provide the link
Does the land registration agency provide service standards for any property transaction (e.g. 5 working days for a transfer)?Please select all that apply In person;On public boards;
If online, please provide the link
Are there official statistics tracking the number of transactions at the land registration agency? No
If yes, are they made available to the public?
What is the source of these statistics?
Is there a complaints mechanism through a hotline, address, e-mail or other means? No
Please provide the contact information
Transparency/Cadastre
Who is able to consult maps/surveys? Please select all that apply Anyone
How can they be accessed? Please select all that apply In person
If online, please provide the link
Is the applicable fee schedule to get access to maps and surveys made publicly available? Please select all that apply In person;On public boards;Online
If online, please provide the link http://www.kenyalaw.org/kl/fileadmin/pdfdownloads/Acts/Land_Registration_Ac...
Is there a complaints mechanism through a hotline, address, e-mail or other means? No
Please provide the contact information
Coverage/Land Registry
Is every privately-owned land plot in the country formally registered at the land registry? No
Is every privately-owned land plot in the biggest business city formally registered at the land registry? No
Coverage/Cadastre
Is every privately-owned land plot in the country mapped? No
Is every privately-owned land plot in the biggest business city mapped? No
Disputes/Legal Background
Does the law require that all property sale transactions be registered at the land registry to make them opposable to third parties? Yes
What is the legal basis? The Land Registration Act, 2012
Is the system of property transfer and land registration guaranteed by the state? Yes
What is the legal basis? Constitution of Kenya, 2010 Article 60 guarantees security of land rights
Is there any compensation mechanism to cover for losses incurred by parties who engaged in good faith in a property transaction based on erroneous information certified by the land registry? Yes
What is the legal basis? Section 82 of the Land Registration Act (No. 3 of 2012).
Who is held responsible for verifying the identity of the parties to a property transfer? Please select all that apply Registrar;Notary;Lawyer
What is the legal basis? Section 45 of the Land Registration Act No. 3 of 2012.
Dispute Resolution
Does the law provide for specific mediation procedures for land disputes? Yes
If yes, what is the legal basis? Article 67 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 and section 5 of the National Land Commission Act No. 5 of 2012 and Rule 20 of Order 46 of the Civil Procedure Rules, 2010.
Does the law provide for any specific land dispute resolution mechanisms? Yes
If yes, what is the legal basis? Section 4(2)(m) of the Land Act No. 6 of 2012.
How long does it take on average to obtain a decision in a standard land dispute over a property transfer between two domestic businesses in the first instance? 3 years +
Are there any statistics on the number of land disputes in the first instance? No
What is the source of these statistics?

  Please send any comments and inputs on the data above to rru@worldbank.org

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