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Buying and Renting Property in Kenya

Implementing institutions for Registering Property in Kenya have a mandate to enforce and implement various aspects of the land and real property laws. They include;

  •    Ministry of Lands, Responsible for development of national land Policy
  •     Lands Registry, mandated to register property in Kenya
  •     Nairobi City Council, or Local Authority
  •     Land Control Boards

Property can be acquired on freehold or leasehold basis. A freehold title gives the owner absolute proprietorship over the land in perpetuity. While Leasehold property is held on a government lease for a specified period, usually 50 or 99 years. At the end of this period, the landowner applies for an extension of the lease, which is usually granted. The extension process takes approximately 6 months.

Both freehold and leasehold land is subject to local authority rates which is usually a fraction of the unimproved site value. However, leasehold is further subject to Land Rent, based on the size of the land.

For most properties, payment is in form of a 10% deposit and the balance within 60-90 days.  Financing for purchase of a property can be obtained from Banks, Building Societies or Mortgage   Companies in Kenya.

The easiest way to buy property for non-residents is to appoint a lawyer in Kenya who can act on your behalf. The lawyer will arrange to have the sale agreement signed by you and will also undertake to get the title of the property transferred into your name.
Transaction Costs
Transaction                                                     Who Pays?
4% Stamp Duty for Draft Transfer                  Buyer
1.5% Legal Fees                                                      Buyer
Banker’s Check Charge KES 600 (US$8)      Buyer
Registration KES 250 (US$ 3)                          Buyer
1.25% Agent’s Commission     Seller
Cost Paid by Buyer                                           5.51%
Cost Paid By Seller                                            1.25%
Round Trip Transaction Cost                        6.76 %

Restrictions on Access to Property

Non residents can buy ‘commercial class’ land in Kenya. This type of land is for income or revenue-making purposes. Non residents are allowed to acquire this and build on it.

‘Agricultural land’ or farm lands cannot be acquired by non residents. ‘Agricultural land’ is usually owned by indigenous people. If purchase is made through a company – the majority of which must be Kenyan-owned – then it is allowed. The land will be bought under the company’s name.

Rental Property

Sufficient property to let on short to long term basis is available at very competitive rates. This can can be accessed through a number of property management companies.

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