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Land Transfers

Buying land in Kenya can be a challenge if you don't understand how to  navigate the various registry, survey and legal processes. We will give you peace of mind that you have entered into a land sale agreement that will result in the due transfer of a land title to you.

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CHARGES

When taking on a loan from a lender to finance a house, you need a skilled advocate to ensure your interests in the charge instrument are duly provided for; that you clearly understand the remedies you have under law and the scope of exercise of the Lender's rights under the Charge Instrument. After all contracts are not made for the good times but the bad.

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Customized Land law advice

We shall advise you on: commercial leases or residential leases, drafting of leases and other conveyancing instruments; land use rights and foreign ownership of land.

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Top Lawyer Nairobi
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your conveyancing lawyer

Joan Mukoya

Joan Mukoya is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and has extensive experience in non-contentious conveyancing matters (8+ years). 

 

She understands that legal processes around land in Kenya can be stressful and makes her client's understanding and comfort her number one priority. She diligently works for clients and is always promptly responsive while endeavoring to provide up to date, innovative and reliable legal advice of value to local and international clients seeking to buy land, enter leases or charge instruments for the use of land as security.

 

She also has expertise in setting up and operating trusts, corporations and llps for holding land, which expertise was gained while working with high net worth families channelling money into investments in land in Kenya and Mauritius.


Before setting up Koya & Company Advocates, Joan previously worked at two top tier law firms and a leading investment fund manager investing in Sub-saharan Africa and Latin America (AUM exceeding USD 60M).

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

FAQS ON BUYING LAND

What Due Diligence Should I Undertake?

·       It is imperative to conduct a land search at the land’s registry in the location where you want to buy land; the point here is to confirm the ownership of the land you intend to buy.

·       The land registry search is either conducted online via the ecitizen platform or you can lodge the application for search at the Lands office in the locality where you intend to buy the land . This land search will also reveal encumbrances on the land such as charges, mortgages where the land is used as security for a loan or caveats which prohibit anyone from dealing with or otherwise disposing of the land.

·        Further, if you are buying land from a developer company or a company that sells land, your lawyer needs to conduct a company search on the Seller company to see that the company indeed exists and that it is in good legal standing.

·       Also go ahead and instruct a licensed surveyor to survey the land, its boundaries and ensure it aligns with the deed plan/index map at the Ministry of Lands. The surveyor’s fees are assessed based on the acreage of land the client is buying.

 

Purpose of the Agreement for Sale?

·       Thereafter the Seller and his Advocate will draft the Agreement for Sale setting out the terms of the sale and one should play close attention to details such as whether the land is freehold or leasehold; whether it is agricultural land or not; the reversionary interest in the land etc.

 

How Much Money should I Deposit as the Purchase Price?

·       This depends on the Agreement of Sale and ordinarily amounts to 10% of the purchase price.

·       The deposit is paid to the Seller upon signature of the agreement of sale.

 

What Happens on Completion? Handover the Requisite Land Transfer Documents and Payment of Full Purchase Price

·       On Completion, the advocate of the Seller shall deliver to the advocate of the Buyer the original title, transfer document, lands rates clearance certificate, stamp duty valuation form, land rent clearance certificate, consents e.g., spousal consent etc. in order to facilitate registration of the transfer of the land.

·       On the other hand, the Buyer pays the remainder of the Purchase Price.

 

Is Stamp Duty Payable on Land Purchase/Transfer in Kenya?

·       The Buyer then pays stamp duty on the land assessed on the value of municipal land at a rate of 4% and the value of rural land at a rate of 2%.

·       Thereafter the application is lodged at the Lands Registry for registration of the transfer against the title.

·       The transaction is completed and the Buyer receives a certificate of title outlining whether the land is leasehold or freehold.

FAQS ON BUYING AN APARTMENT

Real estate in the form of houses and apartments is considered a favourable asset  for investment in Kenya especially in the main cities of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and in tourist areas like Malindi, Lamu, Nanyuki, Naivasha and Diani. Below, I outline the frequently asked questions I receive at Koya and Company Advocates, when I am taking my clients through the process of buying a house or apartment in Kenya.

 

What Due Diligence Should I Undertake?

·       It is imperative to conduct a land search at the land’s registry in the location where you want to buy land; the point here is to confirm the ownership of the land you intend to buy.

·       The land registry search is either conducted online via the ecitizen platform or you can lodge the application for search at the Lands office in the locality where you intend to buy the land . This land search will also reveal encumbrances on the land such as charges, mortgages where the land is used as security for a loan or caveats which prohibit anyone from dealing with or otherwise disposing of the land.

·       Further if you are buying land from a developer company or a company that sells land, your lawyer needs to conduct a company’s search on the Seller company to see that the company indeed exists and that it is in good legal standing and that the land it intends to sell to you is not encumbered or otherwise disputed

 

Purpose of the Agreement for Sale

·       Thereafter the Seller and his Advocate will draft the Agreement for Sale setting out the terms of the sale and one should play close attention to details such as whether the land is freehold or leasehold; whether it is agricultural land or not; the reversionary interest in the land etc.

·       Pay particular attention to your duties as a shareholder of the management company that will be taking care of the entire housing development or estate. Pay close attention to the duration remaining on the leasehold (most land in the cities is held on a long-term leasehold basis  as opposed to freehold).

 

How Much to Deposit as Purchase Price?

·       This depends on the Agreement of Sale and ordinarily amounts to 10% of the purchase price.

 

What Happens on Completion: Handover the Requisite Land Transfer Documents and Payment of Full Purchase Price?

·       On Completion, the Completion documents consisting of the original title, transfer document, Land rates clearance certificate, stamp duty valuation form, land rent clearance certificate, consents e.g., spousal consent are handed over in order to facilitate registration of the transfer of the apartment/house.

·       On the other hand, the Buyer pays the remainder of the Purchase Price.

 

Is Stamp Duty Payable on Land Purchase/Transfer in Kenya?

·       The Buyer then pays stamp duty on the land assessed on the value of municipal land at a rate of 4% and the value of rural land at a rate of 2%.

·       Thereafter the application is lodged at the Lands Registry for registration of the transfer against the title.

·       The transaction is completed and the Buyer receives a certificate of leasehold (rarely a certificate of freehold if buying in the city).

   

FAQS ON FOREIGN OWNERSHIP OF LAND IN KENYA

Can Foreigners own land in Kenya?

Foreigners are allowed to own property in Kenya subject to certain legal constraints; additionally, foreign direct investment into Kenya is encouraged so that foreigners can take advantage of the business opportunities in Kenya - an emerging economy. Article 40 of the Constitution of Kenya (2010) enshrines the protection of every person’s right to own and hold property in Kenya irrespective of citizenship but subject to constitutional constraints on foreigners owning freehold land and any other statutory enactments made in the spirit of the Constitution.

 

What Laws govern the foreign ownership of land in Kenya?

Individuals can own land in Kenya and there are two types of land ownership tenures in Kenya – namely: leasehold and freehold. Article 65 of the Constitution of Kenya provides that non-citizens can own leasehold land in Kenya for a lease period not exceeding 99 years but they cannot own freehold land (land in which one has absolute title for all time). On the passing of the Constitution in 2010, any foreigner holding freehold land in Kenya had their title automatically converted to a leasehold title with a remainder interest deemed to expire after a maximum of 99 years and thereafter revert to the Government of Kenya which holds the reversionary interest.

 

Additionally, under the Land Control Act (CAP 302), foreigners are not permitted to own agricultural land unless a special dispensation has been obtained from the President; however, in reality, foreigners use a loophole under the law to own agricultural land in the name of a company instead of their own name so as to bypass these restrictions.

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