WRONG LAW

Why your developer can't sell your apartment

New law provides for developers to own only common areas such as parking lots and staircases

In Summary

• Developers must now issue title deeds for each house.

• CS Karoney says those properties will all be registered in the new Ardhisasa system.

Property developers will no longer be able to sell or mortgage your apartment. https://bit.ly/2Sq9glQ

Property developers will no longer be able to sell or mortgage your apartment. 

The new land reforms being implemented make it mandatory for those developing and selling houses or apartments to issue titles to the buyers.

The Sectional Properties Act also denies property developers leeway to use title deeds for land where apartments stand as security for loans and other financing facilities.

Before the law was put in place, a developer would have the mother title and give a long-term lease to occupants.

They could go to the bank and take a loan at the expense of the dwellers, some of whom have suffered the consequences of developers defaulting on repayments. Then the bank auctions the property.

Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney said that would now be a thing of the past since the new law only provides for the developers to proportionately own common places like parking lots and staircases.

Karoney said the sectional properties will not immediately be on the new Ardhisasa platform because they were registered using the wrong law.

She said the government was creating data on sectional properties at its own cost, having admitted that it erred in using the wrong law.

The properties were registered under the Land Registration Documents Act but are now catered for under the Sectional Properties Act.

Karoney said the government will help landowners survey the properties when they need use to land since the Registration Documents Act does not provide for geospatial data.

“If you have a transaction or when in need of using the land, we will give you a surveyor, create the geospatial data and then you can proceed with your transaction,” she told the Star in an interview.

The CS said it will take time for the properties to be on the platform and urged developers to be patient as the government will support them.

This follows the provision of the law that the mother title is closed once a block is registered as a sectional property, which is among efforts by President Uhuru Kenyatta to encourage Kenyans to own homes.

Before 2012, there were five laws governing the sector but the same were consolidated into the Land Registration Act – the only legal framework presently in use.

The Land Registration Act provided for a five year’s transition to publish a conversion list and provide a cadastral map [detailed survey map with precise boundaries] for all parcels of land in the country.

Nairobi was the first to be created and now comprises 242 blocks in which the various parcels have been assigned unique numbers.

Every parcel will be referred to as a block and parcel number which is fed into the digitised platform.

Digitisation, the CS said, is the government’s strategy to build a foundation for solving the problems bedevilling the lands sector.

(Edited by V. Graham)