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Land Act gives new more rights to tenants, spouses

By By MORRIS ARON | Published Fri, July 20th 2012 at 00:00, Updated July 19th 2012 at 19:45 GMT +3


It will now be impossible to sell or get a mortgage loan using property – land or a house acquired during the course of marriage as security without the consent of the husband and the wife(ves).

In addition, if a landlord wishes to sell property, he must inform tenants, if any, and other interested parties in writing three months prior to taking such as decision.

These are some of the new conditions under the new land Law that has seen women tenants and other overriding interested parties gain and property owners and financial institutions lose out on some of the privileges they held under the old land laws.

 “Section 91 of the Land Act prohibits the transfer of land held under joint tenancy by one of the parties,” said June Rienye, legal manager at Housing Finance, a mortgage firm.

“Joint tenancy can only be held on land by spouses. Other joint holdings will be tenancies in common.”

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Under the new laws, banks will also now be required to inform and explain to any borrower who has defaulted for at least two consecutive months in writing that they wish to sue, sell, lease, enter into possession of the property used as security at least forty days after the third month of default.

Such a communication will also have to be done to any interested party in the property at the cost of the financial institution.

The communication must include the nature and the extent of the default, the amount that must be paid to rectify the default, consequences of default if not rectified within notice time and the right of the affected person to seek legal redress.

 The new laws also require that in the event that financial institutions wish to vary interest charged on a mortgage loan, the bank must give a notice in writing at least 30 days, stating the new charges in a manner that can be understood by the affected party.

Borrowers have also gained under the new laws as financial institutions have now been barred from putting additional charges and interests in case an individual wishes to pay in full the amounts due for a mortgage loan to be closed at ago.

In such a situation, the borrower will only be required to give one month’s notice and pay one month’s interest.

Previously, it was up to the legal jargons in the charge agreements.

 “There is need we review the clause requiring that some of the new conditions be applied even for past cases,” said Frank Ireri Housing Finance managing director.