New multipurpose form will ease transactions in Kenya

Cleaning the mess at the Kisii lands registry. The newly-introduced form will come in handy during applications for land rent clearance certificates, consent to transfer/charge/lease and stamp duty valuations. [PHOTO: DENISH OCHIENG/STANDARD]

NAIROBI: The Ministry of Lands has introduced integrated transfer forms which make property transactions faster.

The one-page form will come in handy during applications for land rent clearance certificates, consent to transfer/charge/lease and stamp duty valuations.

Before the introduction of the new forms, service seekers were required to fill in different forms for different transactions.

The new forms are to be filled in quadruplicate by applicants ticking boxes indicating required services.

Property owners and buyers shall fill in details such as full name, Kenya Revenue Authority PIN number, email address, postal and physical address, town and mobile phone number.

The lawyers, who are representing both the buyer and seller, also have slots to indicate their names, contact details, addresses and the official stamp of their firms.

Under property details, the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development requires facts on the registered property number, area, location and terms (if it is property on lease).

Other requirements include whether the property is an interest in passing, freehold, leasehold or fee simple.

The ministry shall also require details on the value of property and the date of transfer and signatures of the property owner, or his or her advocate or agent.

Ministry officials from the consent, rent and stamp duty departments also have slots to fill: The chief valuer also has a slot for his or her comments.

In order to facilitate faster processing of land registration documents, investors are required to provide a duly filled application form in quadruplicate.

Other requirements include the land rent clearance certificate, copy of the title deed, deed plan and evidence of payment of outstanding rent.

The ministry also requires consent to transfer, receipts for consent fees paid, a letter from a lawyer applying for transfer consent and a certified copy of a current official search.

Valuation for stamp duty is also a requirement, complete with a property route sketch map, certified copy of current official search and original transfer form.

Others include duly filled stamp duty, declaration and assessment forms, pay-in slip and complete copy of title.

But what is even more pressing is a move towards seamless transactions. The Lands ministry has for decades made media fodder for all the wrong reasons, including cases of lost files, double allocation of land, alleged fraud and land grabbing

The problem ailing property transactions in land registries countrywide is reliance on manual records since 1903.

There have been efforts to computerise land records to improve service delivery in line with the Land Registration Act.

Embracing technology will guarantee improved access to information and ensure data availability for transactions, valuation, taxing and planning.

Currently, official searches cannot be easily done on some Government Lands Act (GLA) volumes because the files are dilapidated.

According to a paper titled, Automation of Kenya’s Lands Records by Cesare Mbaria, reconstruction of the GLA records is necessary before any automation can be carried out.

Automation of such property records by creating a Document Management System (DMS) for authenticated cadastral survey plans countrywide would ensure efficiency.

According to the paper, a DMS would guarantee easy storage, retrieval, secure storage and back-up. It will also be a one-stop shop for obtaining survey plans.

There will also be no movement or misplacement of survey plans, which can also be used by several officials at the same time for quality control checks.

A file tracking system would reduce time taken to retrieve settlement plot files, ensure timeliness in transactions and reduce cases of missing files.

-The writer is an Advocate of the High Court

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