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How to avoid being conned when buying land

By David Mwitari | Published Thu, April 20th 2017 at 09:44, Updated April 20th 2017 at 09:48 GMT +3

How can one avoid being conned when buying land? Here are a few tips by Murithi Mutuerandu, a lawyer with Mutuerandu Kaimenyi and Company Advocates:

Ask for the title deed: You need the title deed to do a search at the Ministry of Lands to confirm the real owner or if the title has any caveat on it.

Ensure there are no unpaid rates: It is important for a land buyer to confirm with the county governments whether there are any unpaid land rates on the land. If there are any, you should agree with the seller on who will settle the debt.

Buy two land maps from the Lands ministry: One of the maps will help you get the right scale of your land while the other has all the details of the land that borders yours.

Visit the property: This is commonly known as ground verification. Check out all the beacons as indicated to avoid getting into land disputes in future.

Sale agreement: Let a lawyer help draft a agreement. According to the Law Society of Kenya, if the value of the land is below Sh1 million, you pay the lawyer Sh3,000 fee and if the value exceeds Sh1 million, you will be required to pay Sh8,000 for the agreement.

Talk to the lands control board: Lands control boards meet once a month. Booking a meeting with the members costs Sh1,000. However, if in a hurry, there can be a special meeting which will cost you Sh5,000 to book. These boards give consent for the land to be sold.

Secure transfer documents: This comes after the seller signs the land transfer forms after the buyer pays the agreed amount. The buyer should then go to the Lands ministry armed with the consent from the land control board, land search, rates clearance certificate, three passport-size photos, KRA PIN certificate, sale agreement and the old title deed so that the land ownership can be changed. Processing the new title deed takes two weeks.

Stamp duty: Make an application for the valuation of the piece of land. This is done by the government valuer using the form that has been filled by the seller. The filled documents are used to compute the stamp duty payable. The stamp duty is four per cent of the land value for urban areas and two per cent for rural areas.