State plans to issue title deeds in 16 days

The government plans to introduce reforms to speed up real estate transactions and boost confidence in sector.

Key in the reforms is the reduction of time it takes to conclude property acquisition from the current average of 73 days to an average of 16 days.

Lands Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri told Home & Away that the government’s aim is to be issuing title deeds by the close of the 16th day.

So far, Dr Muraguri said, the ministry has issued 3.2 million documents countrywide against a target of 4.5 million title deeds by 2022.

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“This will induce transaction security hence giving private developers and investors a precise roadmap towards owning what they seek to acquire in the property market. Of course this will call for strict vigilance on property brokerage firms, land buying and selling companies as well as individual transactions,” said the PS.

He said the procedure of authenticating property deals, registering them and securing them through issuance of title deeds has to be speeded up so that it becomes cost effective.

“We have adopted an online assessment payment of stamp duty, land rent and online title search for all property deals. This has reduced the time it took property dealers shuffling papers from one office to the other, on the way encountering artificially erected barriers by corruption and fraud cartels,” he stated.

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Tainted image

He said these cartels are the ones that have tainted the image of the property market and contributed to the ministry’s poor performance in corruption index by various pollsters.

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This integrity challenge in the local property sector is also blamed for the country’s poor ranking where out of 190 global countries that are members to Property Ranking Database, Kenya is currently ranked at position 125.

The PS said property deals take long as the owner first goes shopping for a title deed from government offices.

And the government, as a measure of boosting confidence, will commit itself to compensate all losses for transactions performed in good faith but based on erroneous information provided by the government.

Muraguri said the broader aspect of this new move includes public awareness on the migration from manual property transactions to digital platform. “On our part, we have made sure that our records that will be up for search by investors are updated and easy to access,” he said.

He said that information has been clustered in land use categories where one can ascertain the status of the property, moving away from the cruelty of the government okaying acquiring of a property today, then tomorrow the same government condemns the property on grounds of being illegally acquired or established.

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“The information on land is complete with survey records, transfers so far initiated, whether the property has an existing trade restriction and its exact measure and location,” he said.

He added that all information on houses captures information about legality, its current rating on architectural standards if a building, estimated value and profiled projection of appreciation or depreciation.

To rid property deals of costly and time wasting litigations, he said, the ministry is also putting up a dispute resolution mechanism.

The dispute resolution tribunal will have representation of all the relevant departments in land administration and it will be presided over by a judicial officer in the rank of a judge.

“You will only be going to court to make an appeal if not satisfied with the tribunal’s judgement,” said Muraguri.

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At the same time, the ministry will publish all transactions that have gone through or are pending every six months.  

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Real EstateHousingTitle DeedsMortgageLand