A new land registration process in Kenya is underway which means that affected landowners will need to make sure that details captured against their land is correct and that any complaints are lodged by the 1 April 2021 deadline.

Land registration in Kenya has previously been highly complex given that title deeds have been issued under various statues. This has also made the process susceptible to fraud.

In a bid to harmonise the land registration process, as is mandated by the Constitution, on 31 December 2020, a special issue of the Kenya Gazette announced the conversion of land reference numbers to new parcel numbers for certain properties in Nairobi. 

The conversion of land reference numbers will result in all title deeds issued under the repealed laws cancelled and replaced with titles under a new register as prescribed by the Land Registration Act, 2012. 

Ownership, size and any interests registered against respective old titles will not be affected. 

Deed plans capturing data on one specific parcel will be replaced by Registry Index Maps ("RIMs") which display all land parcels within an area. The process of creating the new RIMs does not require any involvement from you save that you may wish to request your surveyor to check that the data has been captured correctly in the new RIMs for the particular plot.

what's required of landowners

The conversion exercise will be carried out in phases. A pilot run of the migration in Nairobi is on course with some 5 493 parcels of land already marked for conversion by the Registrar of Lands.

  1. Check the conversion list

The Lands Registry indicates new and old numbers for parcels of land within a registration unit or registration section/ block and their corresponding acreages.

You are advised to inspect the conversion list prior to 1 April 2020 to ensure that the acreage of your land stated in the conversion list is correct and that it corresponds to the area set out in your current title documents.

  1. Check the cadastral maps

Cadastral maps (maps that shows the boundaries and ownership of land within specified area) are also available for inspection at the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning Ardhi House,1st Ngong Avenue, Nairobi. 

  1. If incorrect, lodge a compliant

If the information contained in the conversion list or cadastral maps is incorrect, you will have until 1 April 2021 to lodge a complaint with the Registrar of Lands or apply to the Registrar of Lands for the registration of a caution on the affected land pending clarification or resolution of any complaint.

The Ministry of Lands has issued a procedural guide on how to lodge complaints. A person who is aggrieved by the information on the conversion list is advised to lodge a complaint with the Registrar helpdesk.

To do so, you will be required to fill in the requisite forms which will be available at the helpdesk or on the Ministry of Lands website: www.lands.go.ke.

You will be required to attach certified copies of the title, identity card and KRA Pin and contact details.

The complaint will then be allocated a complaint number to facilitate further follow up and resolution.

What happens next?

On 1 April 2021 all old registers will be closed and transactions will be carried out in the new register under the Land Registration Act, 2012.  

After the close of the register, if your property is on the conversion list, you will be invited to make an application to replace of your old title and be issued a new title and new title number. The application must be accompanied by the original title and your identification documents.

The inviting landowners to make the applications will be published in at least two nationwide newspapers and announced on nationwide radio stations.

The Land Registrar will retain the old title deed for records and safe custody. Landowners whose titles are held by third parties as securities will be replaced upon application by the proprietor. The exact process of how this is to be done is not yet clear.

This is an ongoing process. There will be further publications in the Kenya Gazette and two daily newspapers of conversion lists covering various parts of the country. Please look out for these notifications and if they include your property. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.