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Lands Ministry to issue new titles in digital migration

By James Wanzala | January 13th 2021

Lands Cabinet Secretary (CS) Farida Karoney addresses a press conference during the launch of issuance of title deeds in Nairobi, on September 18, 2020. [File]

The Ministry of Lands has started the transition to a new lands registration system which will see title deeds issued before the enactment of the Land Registration Act in 2012 cancelled and new ones issued.

Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney said yesterday that land registration had become a complex process which is prone to abuse due to different pieces of legislation.

She announced that the ministry has started the conversion of land parcels that were registered using now-repealed laws.

The Land Registration Act was enacted in 2012 effectively repealing all other land registration statutes such as the 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).

Ms Karoney said that the object of the conversion is to collapse land registration process in the repealed laws into one.

Centralisation of services

As a result, all titles issued under the repealed laws will be cancelled and replaced with titles under the Land Registration Act, 2012.

“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,” she said.

To harmonise the process, the Lands Ministry will close all land registers and begin issuing new titles based on a new register. Some of the changes anticipated are in the parcel numbers, which Karoney told the public to be on the look out for.

Registered landowners will need to apply for replacement of title documents from the closed registers.

Ardhi House said the applicants will be required to present the original title and the owner’s identification documents.

The old title deeds will be surrendered to the registrar when new ones are issued.

Karoney said the cancellation and replacement of the titles will migrate the parcels to the new regime while retaining the ownership, size and the other interests registered against the respective title.

Titles held by third parties such as those used to secure bank loans or surrendered to hospitals and courts will be replaced upon application by the proprietor.

As the shift commences, the traditional deed plans will no longer be in use, instead, the Ministry will rely on the Registry Index Maps (RIMs) as registration instruments.

Karoney assured that the boundaries will not be affected since RIMs are generated from survey plans with fixed boundaries.

“Both the RIMs and the survey plans will be accessible to landowners on request for verification of boundary details at the Survey of Kenya Headquarters, Ruaraka,” she said.

Minimise land fraud

The Ministry said the use of RIMs will further minimise land fraud by making it easy to detect changes or alterations.

“The RIM displays all land parcels within an area as opposed to a deed plan that captures data on one specific parcel,” she said.

A conveyancing expert, S K Muturi explained that there was no need for landowners to panic explaining that the government was not cancelling titles but changing numbers to make digitisation possible.

“A title deed is prima facia evidence that the land belongs to you, but is a sum total of a lot of history including survey and amalgamation. This history will not change even when the numbers are changed. You will remain the owner of your land,” Mr Muturi explained. 

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