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DIGITIZATION OF LAND REGISTRATION

DIGITIZATION OF LAND REGISTRATION On 31December 2020, the Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney through a publication inthe Kenya Gazette announced a new land registration process; whereby it will issue new titledeeds to replace those issued under repealed laws. These repealed laws include : the IndianTransfer of Property Act, 1882, the Government Lands Act (Cap. 280), the Registration of TitlesAct (Cap. 281), the Land Titles Act (Cap. 282) and the Registered Land Act (Cap. 300)Previously issued under multiple laws, title deeds will be handled under the Land RegistrationAct, 2012.


This change has been fuelled by the perception of lack of public trust in the ministry. Manyworry this presents room for fraudulent activities such as land dispossession. However, CabinetSecretary Farida Karoney assures that ownership, size and any interests registered against oldtitles will not be affected. The old deed plans will be replaced by Registry Index Maps (RIMs)which are generated from survey plans with fixed boundaries which help retain accuracy ofboundaries.


The digitization of land registration through use of RIMs is aimed at :


•Minimizing issues of fraud by providing efficient and transparent transactions.•Improve service delivery.
•Centralize land services hence reducing threats to the right to property.


Another concern was that of the Ministry's capacity to handle such a complex process to whichthe Cabinet Secretary confirmed that the shift would be done in phases starting with Nairobi asit's soon set to be fully digital. "We cannot migrate all those titles at once. We are starting withNairobi and even then we are doing it in batches,” Karoney said.


The Conversion


The ministry of lands will prepare cadastral maps (maps that show the boundaries andownership of land within specified area) , graphical indices of parcels and a conversion listwhich will show the old and new reference numbers. Land owners are advised to inspect theconversation list before 1st April 2021 to ensure correct transfer of information such as landacreage. Upon request, land owners can access both RIMs and survey plans for verification ofboundary details at the Survey of Kenya Headquarters in Ruaraka, Thika road. In case ofinconsistencies, they should file a complaint with the registrar of lands or apply to the registrarfor the registration of a caution on the affected land. To lodge a complaint, you are required tofill the requisite forms available at the help desk or Ministry of Lands website (www.lands.go.ke)After 1 April, all transactions will be handled under the Land Registration Act, 2012. Landowners will then be required to apply for new titles with the Ministry of Lands. They will providethe original title deed and copies of their identification documents (ID and KRA pin)The notice inviting landowners to make the applications will be published in at least twonationwide newspapers and announced on nationwide radio stations.


For those whose titles are held as collateral by third parties, they will have to liaise with thoseinstitutions so they can facilitate their application for the title replacement.Land that is under caveat shall automatically be migrated to the new register.The whole process is free of charge.The Land Registrar will retain the old title deed for records and safe custody.As this is an ongoing process, look out for further publications in the Kenya Gazette and twonational newspapers to check the status of your property.