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This is the basic process of acquiring land via the legal process in Kenya:

1. Identify the piece of land that you wish to purchase. Ensure that the beacons of the land are
cleared marked. (in many places there are no beacons, especially ancestral land).

2. Perform an official search of the piece of land at the District Lands Office or the Ministry of
Lands (Ardhi House) depending on whether the Title Deed of the subject land is registered under
the Land Registration Act (LRA) or Registration of Titles Act (RTA) respectively. If the LRA,
the search can be only be done at the District Office and if its RTA, it can be done at the District
Office or at Ardhi House.
To Perform the Official Search, you will need a copy of the title deed of the land and you must
fill the search application form and attaché the title.
In most District Land Offices, copies of your ID and Pin Certificate are required. You shall
be required to pay Kshs 100 fee for the process. A search should ideally confirm that:
a. The person selling the land to you is the legal owner.
b. The land has no encumbrances that may include a charge by the bank, a caveat restricting sale
of the land amongst other issues.
If all the above is positive, then proceed to the next stage.
3. In cases where the land is registered under Registration of Titles Act (RTA), Obtain Rates
Clearance Certificate from the Local Municipal Council and Land Rent Clearance Certificate
from the Commissioner of Lands. Seller’s lawyer ordinarily obtain the Rates Clearance
Certificate from the Local Municipal Council and costs KES 2500.
4. Your Lawyer can proceed and prepare a sales agreement with the seller’s lawyer. The
deposit can then be paid to the Vendor.
5. Next the vendor must prepare all the completion documents to ensure a proper transfer. The
Completion documents will include:
a. Original Title in the name of the Vendor
b. Duly executed transfer forms in triplicate (must be sealed if a company is selling)
c. 3 Passport Photos of the Vendor if it’s an individual and if a company, then 3 photos each of 2
directors of the company
d. Copy of Pin Number of the Vendor
e. Copy of National ID of the Vendor and if a company copies of National IDs for 2 directors
who’ll sign the transfer forms.
f. Copy of the registration Certificate if it’s a company.
g. PIN Certificate of Company
h. Rates Clearance Certificate (In Case the tenancy of the land is leasehold)
i. Rent Clearance Certificate (In Case the tenancy of the land is leasehold)
6. The remaining balance is paid only at the exchange of the Completion documents. Your
lawyer should confirm that the documents are authentic and must certify the documents before
presentation to the relevant Lands Registration Office

7. File the draft transfer document(s) (i.e. completion documents) at the Lands Office for
assessment of stamp duty payable on the transfer. Other than the aforementioned documents,
the buyer must attach his copy of ID, passport photos and copy of PIN. If the buyer is a
registered company, then the copies of IDs, passport photos and personal PIN of 2 directors must
be attached. In addition the PIN Certificate of the Company.
8. Now that the draft transfer form 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. There are no prior
appointments made and the actual inspection may happen within one day or, in the worst case,
one month. However, note that this time is not limited and in some cases entrepreneurs may wait
months for a valuation.
9. Next is the payment of the Stamp Duty tax. The fees are 2% or 4% of the Value of the land
depending on whether the land is within or outside the Local Municipality. The Value of the land
used to calculate the stamp duty is given by the government valuer which may not necessarily be
the same as the purchase value. Stamp duty is paid by depositing the amount in an account
provided by the Land’s registry office. It is mandatory to pay the stamp duty using the above
10. The registration is done with issuance of a new Title deed (for freehold tenancy) or
Certificate of Lease (Leasehold tenancy). The buyer’s lawyer or the buyer then collects the Title
Deed at the Lands Office.

How to buy land in Kenya
Posted on January 11, 2013 Written by buyland 5 Comments
These are basic steps that you should follow in buying land in Kenya. Hiring a lawyer is
important, but there are things you need to do by yourself first. This will reduce your legal fees
greatly, and make your transaction time less.
The procedure of buying land is as follows:
1. Identification: There are various ways to identify land for purchase, ranging from the
most primitive to engaging a real estate agent to carry out the land search for you. The
most important thing is to be clear on what you want, before starting the search for land.
There are different kinds of properties; residential, controlled development, commercial
etc. The land you buy should be aligned to your other investment objectives. It’s also
important to do some basic due diligence about the property, for example by consulting
the neighbors e.g to find out if the area floods during the rainy season. Please note that
experts advise that the rainy season is the best time to identify land.
2. Conducting a search: Once you have identified your target property, ask the seller for a
copy of the title deed, which will help you conduct a search on the property. This will
help you be required to file a search application form, attached to a copy of the title deed,
and pay a fee at the Land Registry which is at (Ardhi House) Nairobi. This process takes
2-3 days, after which you should be able to get the following information about the land:
o the registered owner of the property
o it’s size
o any encumbrances against the land such as court orders, loans taken against it etc.
3. Sale Agreement: This is the point which you appoint a lawyer, to help draft a sale
agreement. Lawyers often have standard sale agreements, but it’s important to make sure
it’s suited to the circumstances of the transaction before signing. The standard
agreements stipulate a 90 day completion period for the transaction. The sale agreement
should be stamped and stamp duty paid to be be admissible in court, ensure that your
lawyer gets it stamped in case of any dispute arises in future.
4. Land Transfer: Once the transaction has been finalized, the buyer’s advocate prepares a
transfer, which is signed by the seller and his advocate. Both parties have to provide
documentation such as ID, PIN certificate, the original title deed, land rent/rates
clearance certificate, the land valuation and passport sized photographs.
5. Stamping and registration formalities: Once the transfer has taken place the purchaser
will be required to conduct a valuation of the property, register it and pay rates and rent
on it.