Land in Kenya


Ownership and / or use of land in Kenya is based on the following principles:

  1. equitable access to land.
  2. security of land rights.
  3. sustainable and productive management of land resources.
  4. transparent and cost effective administration of land.
  5. sound conservation and protection of ecologically sensitive areas.
  6. elimination of gender discrimination in law, customs and practices related to land and property in land.
  7. encouragement of communities to settle land disputes through recognised local community initiatives consistent with the law.

Public land in Kenya

Public land includes:

  1. land not set aside for any purpose.
  2. land set aside for public utility use or land that is occupied by the State organ as lessee.
  3. land transferred to the State by way of sale, reversion or surrender;
  4. land to which no individual or community ownership is traceable
  5. land which no heir can be identified.
  6. all minerals and mineral oils.
  7. government forests, game reserves, water catchment areas, national parks, government animal sanctuaries, and specially protected areas;
  8. all roads and thoroughfares.
  9. all rivers, lakes and other water bodies.
  10. the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone and the sea bed.
  11. the continental shelf.
  12. all land between the high and low water marks.
  13. any other land declared to be public land by an Act of Parliament.

Community land in Kenya

Community land consists of:

  1. land registered in the name of group representatives.
  2. land transferred to a specific community.
  3. any other land declared to be community land by an Act of Parliament, and
  4. land that is:
    1. held, managed or used by specific communities as community forests, grazing areas or shrines;
    2. ancestral lands and lands traditionally occupied by hunter gatherer communities; or
    3. held as trust land by the county governments, but not including

    any public land held in trust by the county government.

Any unregistered community land is to be held in trust by county governments on behalf of the communities for which it is held.

Private land in Kenya

Private land consists of:

  1. registered land held by any person under freehold tenure.
  2. land held by any person under leasehold tenure.
  3. any other land declared private land under an Act of Parliament.

Legislation on land in Kenya

Parliament is mandated to make legislation to:

  1. revise, consolidate and rationalise existing land laws.
  2. revise sectoral land use laws.
  3. enact legislation to:
  1. prescribe minimum and maximum land holding acreages in respect of private land.
  2. regulate the manner in which any land may be converted from one category to another.
  3. regulate the recognition and protection of matrimonial property and in particular the matrimonial home during and on the termination of marriage.
  4. protect, conserve and provide access to all public land.
  5. enable the review of all grants or dispositions of public land.
  6. protect the dependants of deceased persons holding interests in any land, including the interests of spouses in actual occupation of land.

Note:
Landholding by non-citizens is allowed only through lease for a period not exceeding ninety-nine years.


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