Land is the most valuable fixed asset that you could possibly own today. In thiis article we will discuss legal steps of purchasing a land in Kenya.
Full Guide This is a legal procedure of buying and in Kenya. The constitution permits any Kenyan to buy land anywhere in the country. However, there are certain legal procedures that any potential land buyer needs to follow.
Here are the legal procedures to follow when buying land
1. Land Identification
- This step involves identifying the piece of land that suits your preference or criteria, such as the size of the land, location, soil type.. etc
2. Search At The Lands Registry
- Once you have identified your ideal piece of land, it is recommended that you search the lands registry. For you to effectively search, you need to obtain a copy of the land title deed from the seller. The search is aimed at informing you of the current owner of the land, size, location and any caveats registered against the land.
- Search results normally take about two hours to be due. The search costs Kshs. 520.
3. Conduct A Search At The County Office
- The search helps in unearthing any pending land rates. The search fees vary from county to county. For example, in Nairobi, you will be required to pay Kshs. 7,500.
- The search also normally takes about two hours to be ready.
4. Obtain Land Maps (2 land maps)
- You will need to obtain two land maps from a local surveyor or the lands ministry. It is recommended that you obtain the land maps from a local surveyor as the process is faster.
- One land map is normally drawn to scale while the other shows neighbouring/adjacent plots.
- The land maps cost 300 shillings each.
5. Ground Verification
- After obtaining the land maps you will have to visit the land together with the seller and surveyor. This is mainly aimed at verifying dimensions.
- Erect beacons to avoid any disputes that might arise.
6. Sale Agreement
- This is a very crucial step that might require the services of a professional lawyer, though it is not a must. The sale agreement is usually prepared by the seller’s lawyer. The agreement indicates all terma and conditions of sale.
- The lawyer should charge a fee of 3,000 shillings if the value of land is Kshs 1,000,000 and below, or charge 8,000 shillings if the value of the land is above Kshs. 1,000,000
- The cost of the lawyer is shared equally between the buyer and seller.
- At this point, the seller might ask you to pay some deposit, but you should wait until you get clearance from the Land Control Board
7. Land Control Board Clearance
- The board is usually comprised of Assistant County Commissioners and local village elders. The board is tasked with the duty of ensuring that the land transactions are conducted transparently and legally.
- The clearance costs Kshs. 1,000. However, you can pay 5,000 shillings and schedule a meeting with only the assistant county commissioner.
8. Land Transfer
- This happens after all payments are done. The seller will sign the land transfer form with consent from LCB and proceed to the lands ministry with the LCB form, land search, clearance from the county, passport photos, KRA pin certificates, sale agreement and the old title deed.
- The new title deed costs 5,000 shillings and will take about two weeks to be processed.
9. Stamping Of The Transfer
- The buyer is required to apply for the valuation of land using the valuation form that is filled by the seller.
- The stamp duty will be paid for based on the value of the land.
- The stamp duty is paid to the commissioner of domestic taxes.
Land buying should be a smooth process for both the buyer and seller as long as they both follow the guidelines provided when taking on this transaction and hire a lawyer to cater for their legal queries.
We have provided a step by step guideline to follow when buying land.
Step 1: Do a search at the ministry of lands.
This service is provided at the ministry of land’s county or district headquarters. It costs Ksh520 and is usually ready within 3 hours. However a valid search shouldn’t not be more than 6 months old.
This is to ascertain that the seller is indeed the actual land that is in question. You will also establish if there is a middleman or agent selling the land on behalf of the actual owner. The search will also reveal any flaws or glitches such as being used as collateral to secure a loan.
Step 2: Confirm the Land Rates.
You should confirm with the Municipal or county council to confirm any unpaid land rates. If there are any unpaid land rates, a decision should be made by both parties on who will settle it as it ends up affecting the final price. There are some charges that you will incur to obtain the clearance certificate, however the amount depends on the municipal or county council. It only takes a few hours to obtain the certificate.
Step 3: Purchase Maps.
Depending on your preference and convenience, you can choose to buy land maps from either the local surveyor or at the lands ministry. Make sure to purchase a tracing or mutation; a map drawn to scale and another of the neighboring farms.
Step 4: Ground Verification.
With the map and surveyor, visit the land together with the seller. Identify the beacons and replace the lost ones. Make sure the neighbors agree to the boundaries and confirm that the map is indeed drawn to scale.
Step 5: Agreement.
It is advisable to have a lawyer when putting the agreement down in writing. The lawyers will charge a tariff depending on the value of the land. The cost of the lawyer is split between both parties.
Step 6: Post Agreement Transaction
Take precautions before paying any installment by ensuring that the land title and any other legal document is in the lawyer’s custody. This is because the seller still owns the land and may transact in other deals with the title deed which would end up sabotaging you.
Step 7: Land Control Board Meeting
this meeting will cost you roughly Ksh1000. The Land Control Board (LCB) is a forum that comprises of village elders and county commissioners that gives the final consent and protects the seller and his/ her dependents from harm, such as selling their only land without their dependents knowledge. This forum only convenes once a month.
Step 8: Land Transfer
The seller should sign the land transfer forms. Collect the forms, consent from LCB, Land search, the clearance from county or municipal council , agreement, old title deed, passport photos and KRA pin and take them to the ministry of lands to change ownership. This will cost Ksh 5000 and take about two weeks to process the new title.
Step 9: Pay Stamp Duty
The stamp duty will be dependent on the value of the land which is 4% for municipalities and 2% for reserve.
Once the sale is finished and you have obtained your title, do another search with the ministry of lands to ensure that the property now reflects your details as the owner.