Bill seeks to regulate Sh100b real estate market, foster efficiency

A section of Green Park Estate in Athi River, Machakos. The bill aims to establish mechanisms to regulate real estate agents and projects. [David Njaaga, Standard]

A bill that aims to establish mechanisms for regulating real estate agents and projects has been introduced in the Senate.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Allan Chesang of Trans Nzoia, proposes the creation of a Real Estate Board, which would oversee the regulation and registration of real estate agents and projects, among other responsibilities. This proposed law includes provisions for the annual licensing of real estate agents, specific timelines for registration, and sanctions for failure to register.

Chesang said the Kenyan economy is the largest in East Africa, with an annual turnover in the real estate market exceeding Sh100 billion.

The senator said the real estate sector, which has witnessed a surge in fraud cases in the recent past, requires a more effective regulatory framework than the current one.

Rules and obligations

The bill outlines various provisions, including the functions and responsibilities of developers, the obligations they must fulfill regarding the accuracy of advertisements or prospectuses, the process of entering into sale agreements, and the requirement to adhere to approved plans and project specifications.

Chesang also highlights the obligations of developers in the event of transferring a real estate project to third parties, the necessity of insuring real estate projects, the procedures for transferring titles, and the process for compensating purchasers for any losses.

The bill also addresses the rights and responsibilities of purchasers, ensuring their entitlement to access information pertaining to approved plans, layout plans, specifications approved by the competent authority, and the project’s completion timeline.

“If the bill is passed, it will cater to the requirements of purchasers, encompassing provisions for water, sanitation, electricity, and other agreed-upon amenities and services between the developer and the purchaser, in accordance with the terms and conditions outlined in the sale agreement,” he said.

The bill aims to grant authority to the Public Works CS to enact provisions within the proposed law, thereby delegating limited and conditional legislative powers.

Advisory body

The proposed law stipulates that the Real Estate Board will serve as an advisory body to both national and county governments concerning the regulation and development of the real estate sector. It will also oversee the regulation and registration of real estate agents and projects.

 

The Bill seeks to have the formation of a Real Estate Board to advise the National and county governments on the regulation and development of the real estate sector. [iStockphoto]

Chesang explained, “The Real Estate Board will assume responsibility for licensing real estate agents and maintaining a public database containing information about registered real estate agents and real estate projects as required by this Act, including any prescribed details.”

Additionally, the board will be responsible for maintaining a public database of real estate agents and projects whose registration has been denied or revoked. It will also establish standard fees and charges to be imposed by real estate agents and developers.

The Real Estate Board will ensure developers, real estate agents, and purchasers adhere to the proposed law and undertake any other necessary functions.

Efficient real estate sector

In order to foster the growth and promotion of an efficient and competitive real estate sector, the Real Estate Board will also provide recommendations to the relevant government agency regarding the protection of the interests of purchasers, real estate agents, and developers.

Chesang went on: “The Real Estate Board will offer advice on the establishment of a single-window system for expeditious project approvals and clearances to ensure timely project completion.

“It will also advocate for the creation of a transparent and robust grievance resolution mechanism to address any acts of omission or commission by competent authorities.”

The senator said the board will devise measures to promote investment in the real estate sector and encourage the construction of environmentally sustainable and affordable buildings.

Resolution of disputes

 Martin Njoroge, the Chief Executive Officer Milikispace Properties ltd and the individual responsible for drafting the bill, said it will establish mechanisms to facilitate the amicable resolution of disputes between developers and purchasers through dispute settlement forums established by purchasers, real estate agents, or developer associations.

Njoroge further said: “The bill specifies that an individual desiring to register as a real estate agent under the Act must submit an application to the board in the prescribed form and pay the designated fee.”

The bill says an individual is eligible for registration as a real estate agent if they are a Kenyan citizen and hold a degree in real estate or its equivalent from a recognised university.

According to the bill, a real estate agent registered under this Act must maintain and preserve their books of account, records, and documents in the prescribed manner. They are also prohibited from facilitating the sale or rent of any parcel of land, apartment, or building in a real estate project that is not registered in compliance with this Act.

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