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 2013.

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  • Standard Property Transfer

  • Property Value: KES 3,976,747.03
  • City: Nairobi
No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs
* 1 Apply for the title search at the Lands Office

In respect of searches on property registered under the Registered Land Act, a copy of the title document is required to be submitted at the time of applying for the search. Also, one cannot carry out a personal search but must instead apply for an official search.
Agency: Land Office
3 days (simultaneous with procedure 2 and 3) KES 500
* 2 Apply and obtain the Land Rent Clearance Certificate from the Commissioner of Lands

The seller's lawyer obtains the Land Rent Clearance Certificate from the Commissioner of Lands at no cost.
Agency: Commissioner of Lands
19 days (simultaneous with procedure 1 and 3) no cost
* 3 Apply, pay and obtain the Rates Clearance Certificate from the Nairobi City Council

The seller's lawyer obtains the Rates Clearance Certificate from the Nairobi City Council. This certificate is important proof that there are no outstanding fees to be paid to the Municipality. Lawyers are not required to be involved in the registration process. Lawyers’ fees are calculated based on a fixed scale depending on the value of the property.
Agency: City Council of Nairobi
5 days (simultaneous with procedure 1 and 2 ) KES 7,500
4 Apply and obtain the consent to transfer from the Commissioner of Lands


Agency: Commissioner of Lands
9 days KES 1,000
5 File the transfer instrument at the Lands Office and obtain an appointment for valuation

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.
Agency: Lands Office
4 days no cost
6 Receive site inspection by the state valuer and obtain valuation report

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 the value for stamp duty purposes and an assessment of the stamp duty

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 Pay the stamp duty at the commercial bank and receive the confirmation of the payment from the Kenya Revenue Authority

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.
Agency: Commercial Bank
4 days KES 600 (charge for Banker’s check) + 4% of the property value (stamp duty)
9 Lodge the stamped transfer document for registration and receive duly registered documents

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.
Agency: Lands Office
12days KES 500
* Takes place simultaneously with another procedure.

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