The Ministry of Lands will start issuing title deeds for individual units in buildings with two or more units, Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri said on Friday.
Until now, the law did not provide for issuing title deeds to property that do not sit on the ground. The Sectional Properties Act, 2020, which has come into force, allows the division of buildings into individually owned units.
“This is good news for all who own apartments, flats, maisonettes, town houses, villas, go-downs or offices” above the ground, Dr Muraguri said.
To facilitate the shift, the ministry on May 10 stopped registering long-term leases supported by architectural drawings and removed the visibility of sectional properties from its online database.
“Instead, we are now compiling a new list of the sectional properties where we are factoring geospatial data. This will help us regularise those units owned but developed in space…These are the apartments that sit on geospatial units,” he said.
“We do not have a mechanism to title a property that is not sitting on the ground. This is the data we are now compiling under the act that will recognise those apartments as befit for titling.”
This change will further liberalise the property market. A landlord who owns a storied building can sell individual units and the buyers can get titles for them.
By December 2022, Dr Muraguri said, the ministry will have processed title deeds upon request for all the current properties that fall under this category.
Applications for title deeds for such properties will be based on a sectional plan prepared by a competent and recognised surveyor, he said.
In the meantime, all long-term sub-leases intended to confer ownership of apartments will be converted to conform to the Land Registration Act of 2012 and hence get reconciled to enter the legal bracket of titling.
“The reconciliation means that the properties in space will be geo-referenced, will have a parcel number, unit number and indicate the approximate floor area of each unit,” Dr Muraguri said.
The applications will have to be signed by the proprietor and the director of surveys, who will seal them and in so doing clearly indicate the user of the unit.
The Lands ministry, CS Farida Karoney said last week, has embarked on converting long-term leases registered on the basis of architectural drawings to conform to the Sectional Properties Act, 2020 and the Land Registration Act, 2012.
The process requires the submission of a sectional plan, original title, long-term lease previously registered and the rent apportionment for the unit where applicable.
“Once the sectional plan is registered, the original registers shall be collapsed and the new registers opened with respect to each of the units described in the plan,” she said.
This development, said James Mwangi of Generational Properties Company in Murang’a, is a major boost for the sector.
He said the old system could give rise to awkward situations where the owner of the land has the title deed and has built apartments and sold them.
“You can imagine what happens when the holder of the title deed secures a loan and defaults…those to be enjoined by the strength of the ground property title deed are those with the apartments in space but with no title deeds…this has now been healed by this new law,” he said.
This will revolutionise the property market, he said, because developers with limited space can now start thinking of building more units in space and sell them.