Property dealers protest at delays in land registries

Lands PS Nixon Korir inside the Kwale Lands Registry with Acting Chief Lands Registrar David Nyandoro. [Standard]

Real Estate firms across the country are reeling from a myriad of challenges in the sector including fraud, high cost of living, and delays in the processing of title deeds.

There has been an unexplained delay in the processing of the title deeds in the land registries with some taking more than six months to complete the process.

Experts in the sector, Hezekiah Kariuki, the chief executive of Comfort Homes, and Bernard Karanja from Golden Green Properties Limited admitted that the sector is faced with challenges occasioned by the delayed processes.

Speaking separately, Kariuki and Karanja say there is a need to formulate ways to deal with fraudsters in the sector, and also the companies that have failed to deliver to their members as expected.

Karanja admitted that the bottleneck affecting the sector is a delay in the processing of title deeds from the land registries, leading to unnecessary quarrels with clients, thus the need for a policy guideline.

The real estate players, regret that transferring the titles of leasehold to freehold takes more than six months, a move that has remained unexplained after the applicants have met all the procedures demanded.

"There are a lot of hitches that should be addressed as it hikes the cost of doing business that leads to massive borrowing of resources. The costs make it difficult to make sub-divisions," said Kariuki.

Karanja says cost and delay in title processing is a major concern that requires to be addressed by the relevant authorities.

The Golden Green Properties official says the issues facing bogus firms in real estate have failed to deliver.

"Some of the companies have failed to deliver to the customers which has caused fear and panic to would-be buyers," said Karanja.

Kariuki said some realtors experience blackmail and high expenditure in their operations and while the business may look lucrative to outsiders which may be due to the dealers' posh lifestyles, it is a mirage used to attract clients.

"The sector is compounded by many threats but the dealers use high-end vehicles, and live in palatial houses. There are myriad challenges that could bring down the sector if the situation is not checked and corrected at the early stage," he said.

Kariuki said the firms have invested in advertisements and social media influencers to attract more customers but in the end, make losses owing to the high expenditures.

He observes that high expenditures eat on the capital investment in many of the companies.

"A parcel of land in Kitengela sells at appropriately Sh700,000, with advertising cost estimated at 20 per cent of the sale amount," Kariuki said.

Real estate firms also have to deal with the sales influencers-cum-celebrities, who are sometimes unreliable and inconsistent in their contracts.

"The celebrities are handsomely paid for advertising and the land companies end up diverting resources remitted from overseas clients to cover these costs," said Kariuki.

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