THE LAND TITLE CONVERSION PROCESS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
On 31st December 2020, the Cabinet Secretary for Lands & Physical Planning published in the Kenya Gazette (Special Issue
Vol.CXX11-No.242), a list of parcels of land in Nairobi County, which are meant to be allocated new parcel numbers and as a
result – new title documents. On 12th January 2021, the Lands Registrar issued a public notice announcing the commencement
of the conversion process and inviting land owners of parcels that had been listed to apply for the said conversion. This brief
serves to offer some guidance to many who have been surprised by this development and are unsure of how to proceed.
The Conversion Process
1. Why is it being done?
This process begun back in November 2017, when the Cabinet Secretary for Lands & Physical Planning issued the Land Registration (Registration Units) Order, 2017 (the “Regulations”) through Legal Notice No. 277 published in the Kenya Gazette Supplement Notice 22/11/2017.
Kenya’s land law regime comprises two main laws – the Land Act, No. 6 of 2012 and the Land Registration Act, No. 3 of 2012. The Land Act is the substantive law on land generally, while the Land Registration Act governs all processes involving registration of land. When these two laws came into effect in 2012, they replaced the then land law regime which comprised the Registration of Titles Act, the Land Titles Act and Registered Land Act among other laws. The transition to a new regime resulted in a binary registration system of pre-2012 (old) titles and post-2012 (new) titles.
This state of affairs is what led to the creation of the Regulations and subsequently the Conversion Process. The Regulations provide the avenue through which all existing land registration processes shall be consolidated, standardized and streamlined.
2. How is it being done?
The process requires the Ministry of Lands & Physical Planning to do the following:
- Prepare cadastral maps in place of deed plans for the old titles;
- Prepare a conversion list indicating new and old numbers for parcels of land within a registration unit or registration
section/block and their corresponding acreages;
- Publish the conversion list in the Kenya Gazette (This shall be done in phases. So far, the process has begun in Nairobi
County; other counties will soon follow);
- Issue a Notice to the Public to apply for new titles in at least 2 newspapers and radio stations of nationwide circulation;
- Receive applications from the public for replacement of old titles; and
- Replace old titles and issue new title documents. Thereafter all old registers shall be closed. The process in Nairobi is
expected to be completed by December 2021 and that for other counties by December 2022.
3. What does this mean for you?
- If you are a land owner and are unsure whether your title needs replacing:
- You need to find out whether your parcel is among those listed for conversion.
- In the event that the land is listed, you need to apply for conversion within the time frame prescribed.
- You shall be required to attach the original title document and certified copies of your national ID card.
- Companies will need to attach copies of certificate of registration and ID cards/passports of the directors.
- You shall not lose any of your land in the process. The size and all interests therein shall remain the same.
- However in the event there are inconsistencies in acreage or interest cited in the Conversion List, you may lodge a
complaint with the Lands Registrar, who is expected to resolve the same within 90 days. If the Lands Registrar’s decision
is unsatisfactory, you may appeal to the High Court within 30 days of such decision.
- If your title is being held by a third party e.g. a bank, you will need to enter into an arrangement e.g. by giving a
professional undertaking from your Advocate, which will cause them to release the title to you for replacement.
- If your title is lost/misplaced, you need to first apply for a provisional certificate of title before embarking on the process.
- This process is mandatory for all land owners who possesses old title documents. After the process is concluded and old
registers are closed, old titles will cease to be recognised and any transactions involving such lands will be legally void.
Several land owners in Kenya will be required to apply for new titles. At Muma & Kanjama Advocates, we are committed to serve and deliver excellence in all we do. We have a robust Real Estate Department with experts who are ready to advise, guide and assist you in this process as well as any other land matter you may have. Talk to us. We shall be happy to hear from you.