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Why all land owners will have to apply for new title deeds

Land owners in the country will soon be required to apply for new title deeds to replace the old titles issued under the old laws.

This is after the Ministry of Lands embarked on a process of converting all parcels of land under the repealed statues with a view to migrating to the newly enacted Land Registration Act, 2012.

Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney said the object of the conversion is to collapse land registration processes in the repealed land registration laws into one with all titles issued under the repealed laws cancelled and replaced with titles under the Land Registration Act, 2012.

She explained that the cancellation and replacement will migrate the parcels to the new regime while retaining the ownership, size and the other interests registered against the respective title.

This will mean the full use of Registry Index Maps (RIMs) as registration instruments, replacing the deed plans further minimising land fraud.

Boundaries, as well, will not be affected since RIMs are generated from survey plans with fixed boundaries.

Both the RIMs and the survey plans are accessible to land owners on request for verification of boundary details at the Survey of Kenya Headquarters, Ruaraka.

“The RIMs display all land parcels within an area as opposed to a deed plan that captures data on one specific parcel. It is thus easy to note any change or alteration,” said Ms Karoney.

The migration is necessitated by the need to have a centralised land registration process eliminating fraud, delays in service delivery and threats to the right to property in the process.

“Title documents held by third parties including banks, hospitals, and courts as security at the time of commencement shall be replaced upon application by the proprietor. The general public is advised to take note of the converted parcel numbers,” she said.

The Lands CS decried that even though the Land Registration Act was enacted in 2012 thereby repealing all other land registration statutes in the country by unifying the registration regime in Kenya under the statute, the country had however not migrated to the exclusive use of the new Act continuing to ride on the saving and transitional clauses in the Act and thus operating as though the statutes had not been repealed.

Some of the repealed legislations included the Government Lands Act (Cap. 280), the Registration of Titles Act (Cap. 281), the Land Titles Act (Cap. 282) and the Registered Land Act (Cap. 300).

“Each of these pieces of legislation created its own register making land registration complex. The confusion occasioned by the different regimes has become a breeding ground for fraud, delays in service delivery, centralisation of land services and threats to the right to property,” she decried.

The conversion process will entail preparation of cadastral maps together with a conversion list indicating new and old numbers for parcels of land within a registration unit or registration section/ block and their corresponding acreages.

Under regulation 4(4) of the Land Registration (Registration Units) Order, 2017, the cadastral maps together with a conversion list will be published in the Kenya Gazette and two daily newspapers with the notice specifying a date to be the date after which the register shall be open to the public for transactions or dealings within the registration unit.

Thereafter, any person with an interest in land in the registration unit shall lodge a complaint to the registrar who shall resolve the same within 90 days of receipt.

At the commencement date, all registers shall be closed and all transactions carried out in the new register. However, all the closed registers and supporting documents shall be maintained in the new registration unit.

A notice will be published in at least two newspapers of nationwide circulation and announced in radio stations of nationwide coverage inviting registered owners to make application for replacement of title documents from the closed registers.

The application shall be accompanied by the original title and the owner’s identification documents. The registrar will replace title deeds with new ones but retain the old title documents for record and safe custody.