Monday, May 27, 2024

I bought land but the seller has refused to surrender the Title Deed. What should I do?

By Benson Bundi: I bought land some 6yrs ago but still haven't gotten my title. l already settled everything with the lawyer and the seller but the seller has refused to surrender the Title Deed. What should I do?

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I bought land some 6yrs ago but still haven’t gotten my Title Deed. l already settled everything with the lawyer and the seller. The lawyer keeps telling me the title is ready for pickup, but when l visit his office, I always return empty-handed. He keeps telling me to return on a future date. What should I do? 

Answer

From your narration, it’s probable that the lawyer scammed you, and you might have to go through the process with another lawyer. 

The first thing you should do is conduct a search on the property. Ask for a copy of the original land title from the seller, log in to the government e-services website, and do a land search.

This will help you learn who the actual owner of the land is and whether there are any cautions, prohibitions, or caveats. The whole process costs roughly Ksh 500. If you find that the land is registered under your name, you can claim that the title was lost and apply for a replacement. 

12 Legal Steps for Buying Land in Kenya

After conducting a land search, your next step should be to research on the lawyer via the LSK website. If he is verified, submit your evidence to the LSK complaints department, which will follow up on the complaint. 

To avoid such problems in future, ensure you follow all the legal steps of buying land, which is as follows: 

Visit the land

The first step after viewing the land with the seller should be to go back and view it alone. Enquire from the neighbors about the history of the land. 

There is a popular joke in Kenya that local drunkards can tell you more about the history of a local land parcel than any government land search. You will learn from them any information the owner might have hidden. If they are not the real owners, you will get the information. 

Land Search

Your next step should be to ask for a copy of the land title, and then conduct a land search via the government e-citizen portal. The search costs roughly 500ksh. This will help you identify who the actual owner of the land is and whether there are any cautions, prohibitions, or caveats placed on the land.  

Do a Mutation

The next step is to do a mutation, which shows you how the land was divided from the mother plot. It also shows the division or location of the land from the mother plot. It would help if you also got the registry index map, which shows the exact geographical location of the land. 

How you can avoid getting conned when buying land

Green Card Search

Next, get the land’s green card search. This is a document showing the whole history of that piece of land. It also holds the original records of all transactions relating to the land. The title and search must match all the information on the green card. 

Agree on Land Price

Next, agree on the land’s price with the seller. Here, it’s advisable to hold a meeting with the buyer, seller, and broker. You’ll want to discuss the broker’s fees and who is to pay them, which should be done in the presence of a lawyer. Finally, sign a contract regarding the same. 

Affidavits

If you are buying land from a company, you’ll need an affidavit from the company board members on whether they are aware that the land is being sold, which should be done in the presence of a lawyer. For private land, both spouses or their children (aged above 18) must sign the affidavit.

Sales Agreement Form

Your next step should be to get a sale agreement form, which contains the terms and conditions, the land price, and deposits to be paid, and should be signed in the presence of an advocate.  

Surveyor

Finally, hold a meeting with the land control board with the help of a surveyor. He will give you a consent form to give the green light for the transaction. The concept form will stipulate when you will pay on the agreed balance and other transaction terms and conditions. 

The surveyor will divide the land, and you can stick beacons around your property. 

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