•The second Estate Agents Conference was held in Nairobi on Friday, bringing together more than 400 agents to deliberate on challenges and opportunities in the sector.
•Under the theme “Re-engineering real estate for emerging realities,”, players focused on strategies to adapt to evolving trends, including technology.
Land buyers and property developers have been urged to conduct proper searches and investigations before making any purchases to avert losses.
This, as rogue individuals and companies continue to remain a risk in Kenya’s real estate sector, where individuals have lost hundreds of millions.
According to the Estate Agents Registration Board (EARB) Eunice Macharia, cases of irregular government land allocation, grabbing, and “ cartels” remain a reality in the real estate sector, exposing developers and individuals to losses.
This comes even as the government works on digitising land registries and putting in place measures to deal with “cartels”.
“It is sad that the sanctity of the title has been questioned in many instances even in our courts. We are asking the investors to be cautious. Besides doing the normal search at the registry, there are other steps that you can take to make sure that the property you are buying is genuine,” Macharia said.
She said the government should also be able to guarantee genuine and reliable title deeds to save investors from losing out.
She spoke on Friday during the second Estate Agents Conference, in Nairobi, which brought together more than 400 real estate agents to deliberate on challenges and opportunities in the sector.
Under the theme “Re-engineering real estate for emerging realities,”, players focused on strategies to adapt to evolving trends, including technology.
Justice Lucy Mbugua- Head Of Land Division, Milimani Court said cases of land repossession mainly in cases of riparian zones, public land and other disputes continue to remain active.
“You must inspect and interrogate the property you are buying. The issue of due diligence is paramount,” she said.
During the forum, Housing Secretary, Ministry of Lands, Public Works, Housing and Urban Development, Said Athman, called on the real estate sector players to support the government’s affordable housing programme.
According to Athman, the government is keen on public-private-partnership where developers would design, finance, build, and sale as part of the drive to meet the government’s target of developing at least 200,000 houses per year.
Meanwhile, EARB has maintained its stand on the proposed Estate Agents Regulation Bill 2023 which it has opposed.
The Bill by Trans Nzoia Senator Allan Chesang seeks to regulate real estate agents, developers of properties for sales purposes, and land trading companies that subdivide land for sale, popularly known as land buying companies.
Macharia said while there is a need to tame the operations of land-buying companies and property developers, practitioners and developers must be regulated separately.
The Board has strongly recommended that the proposed bill be redrafted to concentrate on regulating property developers and land-buying companies and leave the regulation of the professional real estate agents as currently contained in the Estate Agents Act, Cap 533.
“When it comes to real estate agents, there is no vacuum,” she said.