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Land Owners to Apply for Fresh Title Deeds

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The government has embarked on the process of transitioning land administration and management from the old and repealed pieces of legislation and regulations into the new ones heralded by the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.

In a Press Release on the Ministry of Lands’ website, dubbed: ‘’Land Title Conversion Under the Land Registration Act, (Registration Units) Order, 2017,’’ Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney observed that the directive is meant to align with the shift in land policy occasioned by the 2010 Constitution.

The CS further noted that although The Land Registration Act was enacted in 2012 in conformity with the 2010 Constitution, the country is yet to shift to into the new land management regime and was still stuck in the old, cumbersome laws namely Indian Transfer of Property Act, 1882, The Government Lands Act (Cap 280), The Registration of Titles Act (Cap 281), The Land Titles Act (Cap. 282) AND The Registered Land Act (Cap. 300).

’The Land Registration Act was enacted in 2012 thereby repealing all other land registration statutes.  This effectively unified the registration regime in Kenya under this statute. The country has however not migrated to the exclusive use of the land Registration Act, 2012 and continues to ride on the saving and transitional clauses in the act and thus operating as though the statutes had not been repealed,’’the CS observed.

This has thus seen the Ministry embark on converting all parcels of land in Kenya into the purview of the Land Registration Act, 2012 from the ambit of the rescinded laws. The new regime will streamline land management, enhance service delivery, decentralise land services, eliminate fraud and threats to the right to property engendered by the old laws.

‘’Each of these pieces of legislation created its own register making land registration complex. The confusion occasioned by the different regimes has become a breeding ground for fraud, delays in service delivery, centralisation of land services and threats to the right to property,’’ the CS went on.

The government shall thus embark on a conversion process that will involve a number of activities and its completion shall see the country migrate into a new land management regime as envisaged by the 2010 Constitution. And elsewhere, the ministry says, ‘’All transactions or dealings relating to parcels within the registration unit shall from April 1, 2021 be carried out in the new register.”

The new development shall by all means rationalize, modernize and reorganize land transactions and ownership in a country that has quite often than not been dogged by a myriad of challenges in managing this key economic resource and the foremost factor of production.

Since the objective of this new development is to bring land registration processes under the purview of the Land Registration Act 2012 as provided for by the 2010 Constitution, the CS explained that the issuance of title deeds will certainly be impacted or affected by the development.

‘’The object of the conversion is to collapse land registration processes in the repealed land registration laws into one. All titles issued under the repealed laws shall be cancelled and replaced with titles under the Land Registration Act, 2012,’’ she further noted.

The CS however noted that the new changes will not affect or alter other characteristics or aspects of land as captured in individual title deeds.

‘’The cancellation and replacement will migrate the parcels to the new regime while retaining the ownership, size and other interests registered against the respective title,” she assured.

In addition, Mrs. Karoney said that the new development will see the change of registration documents in land registries as the country will replace the deed plans with the use of Registry Index Maps which will however leave the boundaries intact. This is due to the fact that these documents are fashioned from survey plans with permanent boundaries.

She further urged land owners to access such documents at the Survey of Kenya Headquarters in Ruaraka in case they may need to verify boundary details.

‘’The conversion will mean full use of Registry Index Maps (RIMs) as registration instruments, replacing the deed plans. Boundaries will thus not be affected since RIMs are generated from survey plans with fixed boundaries. Both the RIMs and the survey plans are accessible to land owners on request for verification of boundary details at the Survey of Kenya Headquarters, Ruaraka.

Again, the Cabinet Secretary observed that the use of Registry Index Maps will also eradicate malpractices or fraud associated with land owing to the larger latitude of data they show as opposed to deed plans whose scope is far much limited.

‘’The use of Registry Index Maps (RIMs) will further minimize land fraud. The RIM displays all land parcels within an area as opposed to a deed plan that captures data on a specific parcel. It is thus easy to note any change or alteration made in a Registry Index Map.

Besides, CS Karoney further explained that the new land management system also means that the title deeds currently being held as collateral or security by institutions like banks, hospitals and courts shall be replaced at the owner’s request to the land registries.

‘’Title documents held by third parties including banks, hospitals and courts etc as security at the time of commencement shall be replaced upon application by the proprietor,” she went on in her press statement.

Finally, the Cabinet Secretary urged the public to pay attention to the new changed land numbers and allay public fears by reassuring that her ministry is doing everything to protect property rights as provided for in the constitution and the land laws in Kenya.

‘’The general public is advised to take note of the converted parcel numbers. I wish to assure land and property owners as well as the general public that the Ministry is taking great care to protect property rights as guaranteed by the constitution of Kenya and the laws that govern land administration and management in Kenya,’’ she lastly observed.

Key Takeaways from the press statement

  • The proclamation of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 brought about a paradigm shift in land policy.
  • The key issue was the provision of Article 68 which required parliament to review, merge and streamline land registration regimes under the abolished Indian Transfer of Property Act, 1882, the Government Lands Act (Cap. 280), the Registration of Titles Act (Cap. 281), the Lands Titles Act Cap. 282) and the Registered Land Act (Cap.300).
  • The Land Registration Act was enacted in 2012 thus revoking all previous land registration laws.
  • The Land Registration Act, 2012 provides for the conversion framework.
  • The conversion comes into effect on April 1, 2012.
  • The object of this shift in land policy is to bring land administration and management under the purview of the new Land Registration Act of 2012 as provided for in the Constitution of Kenya, 2010.
  • While the parcels will be converted into the new land administration and management arrangement, other aspects will remain as captured in the respective title documents.
  • Land owners will have to reapply their title deeds. That is, the title deeds issued under the old closed registers shall be annulled and replaced with new ones under the new registers.
  • The Registry Index Maps (RIMs) will replace deed plans as the new registration documents.
  • Title deeds held by institutions like banks, hospitals, and courts etcetera shall be replaced with new ones upon the owners’ application.
  • The Ministry of Lands assures the public that property rights will be protected under the new management regime as provided for under the Kenyan laws.


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