Rogue land deals worry industry
Wednesday, October 14th, 2020
- The government is mooting plans to have apartment owners hold individual title deeds in a radical new plan through the Sectional Properties Bill of 2019.
- The Bill is currently before Parliament and championed by Lands and Physical Planning, and seeks to address the legal loopholes that have exposed flat owners to unscrupulous property developers.
Steve Umidha @SteveUmidha
The government has been urged to reform the country’s Land Act to allow for the purchase of land at existing use value and capture value increase to weed out rogue dealers.
Despite setting up the National Land Commission (NLC) as the lead agency in land matters in collaboration with Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (MLHUD) and county-level institutions, Joseph Njoroge, a director at Eden Park County Gardens said rogue dealers have flooded the market, following a surge in land-related disputes.
Sector players are calling for further reforms and advanced regulations in the real estate sector to cushion the industry.
“The ministry of lands should set up a board in each of the 47 counties across the country so that real estate companies should register with that board in the same way we see with other sectors like LSK, and the medical industry.
We should have a body regulating the sale of lands and properties in this country,” Njoroge said.
Such a body, Njoroge notes, will also discourage land dealers taking part in gazumping, whereby higher offers are accepted after a deal has already been agreed and thus succeed in acquiring the property – which is a common practice in the real estate industry.
Gazumping happens when a seller accepts a verbal offer on a property from one potential buyer, but then accepts a higher offer from someone else.
“If you go to prison today you will find that almost a quarter of people in the prison have been sentenced because of land deals,” said Njoroge.
Moses Nyakiongora, the chairman of National Building Inspectorate acknowledged the challenge in the sector, but said more needs to be done to bring sanity in the sector.
“We are constantly working towards addressing these challenges with relevant agencies available, but we understand the magnitude of the problem at hand,” said Nyakiongora in a telephone interview.