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The legal costs and process for buying land in Kenya

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Buying Land Legal Process: Buying anything in Kenya entails a contract, whether verbal or written, depending on the commodity of transaction.

The same applies to land, but the process for buying land is longer, owing to its sensitivity and the possibilities of one being coned.

At least ten major steps are legally known/accepted in the process of buying land, but before that it is important that the seller discloses to the prospective buyer any important issues pertaining the land, like if the land is charged to a bank loan.

4 things most investors overlook when buying commercial plots

The following buying land legal process should be followed to avoid future conflicts:-

Land search

It is done at the Ministry of Lands at the district or County headquarters to ascertain the current owner of the land. A land search often costs Ksh520 and may take a couple of hours to three days.

“A good search report should not be more than six months old,” says Moses Muriithi, CEO for Fanaka Real Estate Ltd, a company dealing with land sales along Kangundo Road.

Check/pay Land rates

Owning or holding any piece of land obligates one to pay respective land rates to the county government, but some people fail do so leading to accumulation of rates. Before buying a piece of land, check with the county authorities to ensure that there are not pending land rates.

“In cases where there are pending land rates, we advise the parties involved to agree on who will pay the rates. It can be deducted from the sale proceeds, or the current owner can pay the rates before sale,” adds Mr Muriithi.

Mr. Muriithi is the current CEO of Fanaka Real Estate, a leading provider of prime and fully serviced residential, commercial and speculative land along kangundo road in areas such as Ruai, Kamulu, Joska, and Malaa

Once the rates are cleared, one is issued with a certificate of clearance from the county, which costs averagely Ksh7,500.

Get Map

The land maps are normally two, one drawn to scale (informally known as tracing or mutation) and another showing the neighbouring farms, each costing Ksh300.

“I got mine from a surveyor. The Lands department in the county can give you one, but a surveyor is faster,” says a Stella, a land owner in Malaa Town along Kangundo Road.

Verification

At this stage, you visit the location of the land with a surveyor, measure the dimensions, check the beacons and make sure your neighbours are in agreement. The surveyor will charge you for this, but the fees is variable depending on the agreement.

Contract/ Agreement

Unlike in the old times, every land transaction should be put into writing as required by law.

You might need to engage a lawyer at this time, who according to the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) should charge Ksh3000 if land cost is Ksh1,000,000 and below and Ksh8,000 if land value is above Ksh1,000,000. Lawyer’s cost is normally shared equally between buyer and seller.

Post Agreement Transaction

Before monetary exchange, documents such as the title deeds are placed in the custody of the lawyers.

Meeting with Land Control Bond

The Lands Conrol Board (LCB) is a forum made of the Assistant County Commissioners (Previously called DOs) and the local village elders which meets once a month.

LCB ensures that the seller is not transacting community land or selling it without knowledge of the spouse. It also prevents self-destruction, where a man sells land and is left with nowhere to go.

It costs Ksh1,000, but one can organize a special one at Ksh5,000.

Land Transfer

This happens after all the payments have been made and the title is taken to the land registry to change details of ownership. It costs Ksh. 5,000.

Stamp Duty/ Transfer Fees

Stamp duty is paid based on the value of land, i.e four per cent for municipalities and two per cent for reserve.

Land Search

This is the final search at the registry to ensure that the land was transferred properly and details captured accurately.

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