Govt Announces Mass Cancellation of Title Deeds

President Uhuru Kenyatta issuing title deeds at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre
Former President Uhuru Kenyatta issuing title deeds at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in 2020.

The government has announced the transition to a new lands registration system which will see a number of titles cancelled and replaced to comply with the new law. 

According to a press release from Lands CS Farida Karoney, the Land Registration Act 2012 would solve the confusion occasioned by the different laws that had become a breeding ground for fraud, delays in service delivery, centralisation of land services and threats to the right to property.

“The ministry has thus embarked on a process of conversion of all parcels from the ambit of the repealed statutes with a view to migrating to the purview of the Land Registration Act  2012,” CS Karoney announced, signalling the replacement of all land titles registered under the previous laws; Indian Transfer of Property Act of 1882, 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).

Lands CS Farida Karoney
Lands CS Farida Karoney

“I wish to assure land and property owners as well as the general public that the ministry is taking great care to protect property rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of Kenya and the laws that govern land administration and management in Kenya,” she vowed.

What happens now?

The object of the conversion is to collapse land registration processes in the repealed land registration laws into one. All titles issued under the repealed laws shall be cancelled and replaced with titles under the Land Registration Act, 2012.

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

The conversion will mean full use of the Registry Index Maps (RIMs) as registration instruments, replacing the deed plans.

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

Both the RIMs and the survey plans are accessible to landowners on request for verification of boundary details at the Survey of Kenya Headquarters in Ruaraka along Thika Superhighway.

The use of Registry Index Maps (RIMs) will further minimise land fraud. The RIM displays 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 made in the RIM.

Title documents held by third parties including banks, hospitals, courts etc, 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.

Karoney's press statement came after Kenyans took to social media to express fears of possible fraud following the gazettement of new land allocation numbers. The process, however, is part of the movement to the new system. 

The Conversion process

The conversion process entails the following:

i. 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.

ii. Regulation 4 (4) of the Land Registration (Registration Units) Order, 2017 requires publication of the cadastral maps together with a conversion list in the Kenya Gazette and two daily newspapers.

The notice shall specify a date to be the date after which the register shall be open to the public for transactions or dealings within the registration unit.

iii. 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.

iv. At the commencement date, all registers shall be closed and all transactions carried out in the new register. 

All the closed registers and supporting documents shall be maintained in the new registration unit.

v. 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 applications 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.

vi. The registrar shall retain the old title documents for record and safe custody.

Ardhi House which is the Ministry of Lands headquarters in Nairobi County.
Ministry of Lands